I’ve spent a lot of my free time enjoying different VR experiences. I’ve guided planes onto the runway in Final Approach, I’ve murdered wave after wave of zombies in the Brookhaven Experiment, and I’ve explored dark and mysterious dungeons, while fighting off wizards, swordsmen, and archers in the Vanishing Realms. I’ve also tried out a ton of other virtual reality experiences, but throughout it all something’s been missing. A spark, so to speak. Raw Data is that spark.
Developed from the ground up for virtual reality, Raw Data is a cooperative wave shooter that does more than simply throw you in a room and expect you to stand in one place, murdering whatever comes your way. Instead, Survios, the developers of Raw Data, have worked hard to give players an adrenaline-laced sense of freedom that other wave shooters seem to be missing out on. Players aren’t locked into one position, destined to simply stay in the middle of the arena fighting off each subsequent wave.
Raw Data’s real strength is hidden behind the foundation of code that Survios laid when it began development. Being built from the ground up for virtual reality has allowed them to test, and perfect the openness that room-scale gaming brings to the table. The science fiction setting also feels like a very integral part of the experience, and as you make your way through the opening lobby of Eden Corporation, it’s hard not to be in awe of the scope of this dark and mysterious virtual world. The three missions included in the game’s current version also help to shed light on the underlying storyline, with your off-screen companion, who is voiced magnificently well, giving pointers and warnings as you try to survive the plague of robots headed your way.
Raw Data shines brightest with its hectic gameplay. The enemies feel real, as they lumber at you, and much like the zombies of AMC's The Walking Dead, they may not seem like much when you're only faced with one or two, but if you allow them to gang up on you, the tide of battle quickly turns, sending you into a frantic dance of survival that no other VR game has matched to date.
During one of the missions I was forced to fight half-broken robots, who rushed across the floor, pulling themselves along with their arms. If they got too close to me, they would climb onto my legs, chomping away at my life with their metallic fingers. Even though I knew they weren’t real, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of fear as I looked down, the lifeless eyes of a half-dead robot staring up at me. At this point I'd often lose control and panic, fighting to simply destroy them in any way possible. This sense of frantic, and adrenaline-fueled pacing is something that a lot of virtual reality experiences are missing, with many instead taking more of a slower paced direction, so as not to overwhelm the user with too much at one time.
Raw Data ignores these concerns, instead coming at them headfirst, and thrusting the user into an overwhelming and adrenaline-fueled ride that just fits together nicely with what room-scale VR has to offer. It's a unique twist on the wave-based survival games that have become so popular with VR, and Survios has proven they have what it takes to break the mold and create something that, while not yet fully featured, feels far more complete and polished than most games in this early of a stage.
Raw Data is currently in Early Access, and is therefore not a final product. Things may change along the way. A game code was provided by the developer. This article is not a review.