Virtual Reality plus Spider-Man: a spectacular time or a motion sickness nightmare? Weirdly enough, Spider-Man: Far From Home VR is neither. Not only does this free PSVR/Steam VR experience fail to churn my guys in the way only web-slinging through the streets of New York could do, but it also fails to be engaging outside of its opening minutes.
Taking place between Homecoming and Far From Home, Tom Hollands’s incarnation of the beloved comic book hero has returned in both looks and voice. The game opens within protagonist Peter Parker’s bedroom: a C64 keyboard decorates his desk and a chunky CRT rests in the left-hand corner. While it doesn’t appear to be a correct recreation of Parker’s previous MCU bedroom, it shows character that the last VR Spidey title—the shockingly short Homecoming demo—was severely lacking.
Also unlike Homecoming, Far From Home VR does include some actual gameplay. For many Spidey fans, the rooftop training façade of Homecoming VR caused a serious case of superhero blue balls. There was an inkling of a game there, but it was over way too short and left many wondering what the point of it all was. This time around, there are things to do, despite their simplicity.
There’s a bizarrely brief story mode that’s present here. Starting on top of the miniscule map’s tallest building, you’ll start your adventure by jumping off and getting right into web-swinging through the barren streets of New York. Just like the fantastic Enter the Spider-Verse taught us, Spidey aims with his wrists—a tap of the trigger will fire a web and pull you in the direction of your target.
Skill isn’t needed here: even with all of the assists turned off, swinging off buildings doesn’t require any finesse because you’re not really swinging. It’s a simple case of point and shoot with your webs acting more like a grappling hook than the loose slingshots Spidey’s webs should act like. Once you learn how to web-swing properly you can ramp up speed and perform last-minute corrections, but it never feels as fluid or natural as it should.
Far From Home VR does include more than just its simple 15-minute story mode, but that is most certainly the game’s focus. Unfortunately, as its focus, there still isn’t much enjoyment to be had here. After swinging around for a few minutes, a gigantic robotic foe appears, trailed by a few drones.
In order to take down the colossal foe, you’ll have to point your web shooters at huge plates of rubble protecting the robot’s body. You’re never explicitly told how to fight the enemy—the only combat mechanic you’re taught is a method of trapping your opponents—but it’s a hilariously easy fight. All you do is aim your web shooters and fire rapidly—that’s it.
Upon completing the main campaign, you can swing around town in the new Spider-Man suit from the upcoming movie in free roam mode. While free roam does offer a couple of challenges—time trials and combat challenges—it’s still incredibly basic.
There’s no hiding the fact that Spider-Man: Far From Home VR is an advertisement. It feels cheap and bare—a budget version of what a Spider-Man game could be. Just like with Homecoming VR, you can see more potential here than what developer CreateVR is letting on: you’re given the prospect of actually being Spider-Man but it’s only just a tease. Then again, it’s free, so go wild.