VR brings with it some fantastic opportunities for players to experience a game in a whole new light. It creates a stronger connection with the game thanks to its virtual worlds and if anything, makes the most basic gameplay mechanics feel like something you have never experienced before. With that being said, Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR puts you in the shoes of an assassin for the first time (almost literally) and throws you into the world of the stealth and parkour systems you have come to love from the series.
If there was one VR experience I wanted, it was the ability to sneak around, climb up and down buildings and stab bad guys in the neck. Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR does all of that. Some of it is a bit better than other parts but for the most part, this game feels like a complete adventure best taken on in small bite-sized bits.
A big aspect of the Assassin’s Creed series is its focus on the Animus. So what better way to bring the VR game to life than to explore various memories of three iconic assassins through interconnected DNA memory thingimabobs? That is where Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR kicks off. You’re a hacker who gets hired by a rogue Abstergo agent and tasked to enter a series of set memories in order to help assemble a device with tremendous power and potential.
Being an undercover hacker, instead of helping this Abstergo agent, you end up venturing through these memories placing down digital bombs which will in turn, destroy the memories forever wiping away all traces of this powerful device so Abstergo can’t get their hands on it. The story is pretty straightforward from the get-go. However, where things get interesting is in the game’s expanded narrative across the three assassins who we all know and love already. If anything, it is nice to see them in the flesh again and explore some story arcs we didn’t get around to during their original debuts.
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR spans 16 missions and each assassin is playable a few times during the game. There’s Ezio Auditore in Renaissance Italy, Kassandra in Ancient Greece and Connor Kenway in Colonial America. There’s no Altair. Even though he helped skyrocket the video game series to the success it is today, Ubisoft abandoned the character way back in the day after one, simpler game.
For the most part, Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR feels like a return to form just as much as Mirage. The game’s mechanics are simple and include basic parkour, pickpocketing, stealth and even some social stealth opportunities. The combat is also just as basic – you can stealth kill your enemies in many ways like leaping from above, a backstab or even kicking enemies off high buildings. Sword fights revolve around blocking attacks and hitting enemies when they are open for a slice and dice.
Much of this is easy to master and streamlined for VR too. Parkour manually takes place by sprinting along objects and running to the edge to leap off or towards another point. There’s also a climbing system similar to Horizon Call of The Mountain where I could shimmy across walls and climb up to ledges.
With that being said, many of the VR systems do feel a bit too basic at times. For example, there’s an auto-aim system for shooting crossbows and throwing knives. The parkour also felt a bit handheld and didn’t really give me the freedom I expected from it. However, it all works and somehow, makes for a fun time.
Where Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR shines is in its world design. Each mission in the game has been designed in a specific open hub with a decent amount of space to explore and take on challenges. It didn’t feel like it was drowning in activities either. Some parkour races saw me sprint along the rooftops and climb up windows in order to run through gates within a certain amount of time. There were also a handful of things to find.
The scouting system is especially cool. When I was on a vantage point, the camera moved to the sky where I could walk around the map and peek down into it in order to see the finer details. It all looks impressive too with high-quality textures and high-poly models scattered across the map. I made an effort to observe every map in as much detail as possible.
But even the general world around me looked great too. I remember walking past an NPC and I was surprised by the incredible detail on her face. It was like she was there with me walking the streets of Italy. Sure, facial animations leave a lot to be desired but the visual quality is impressive. This is a true visual achievement given the entire game runs off of the Meta Quest 3’s internal chip and doesn’t rely on a PC at all.
These visuals help enhance everything in Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR. Be it creeping around in the shadows, tossing glass bottles to create a distraction so you can stealth kill an enemy or just cleaning up the map with side objectives. It is also fun. Well, most of it anyway. While sneaking around is cool, especially when you realise you can literally lie down on the floor to avoid the sight of guards, it kind of gets bogged down by the hand-holding combat.
The series’ controversial bad enemy AI is in Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR too. This means guards are dumb when searching for noises, stealth isn’t as intricate as I hoped and melee combat becomes boring very fast. Enemies just stand there and repeat the same swipe attacks over and over. So it relies on blocking an attack and hitting an enemy afterwards. It grows tiresome fast.
From a technical level, Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR managed to keep my food down. I was surprised to see this. Given I ran around and jumped across rooftops and often into hay barrels, I expected this game to be the most uncomfortable VR experience to date. That wasn’t the case.
I think the strongest aspect of Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR is that the game isn’t a tech demo. Instead, this is a fully realised game which brings to life the series’ best mechanics in new refreshing ways. Some don’t hit as well as others but it is forgivable. If you’re looking for a game to test drive your fancy new Meta Quest 3 on, this is no doubt the best around for now.
This Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR review is based on a Meta Quest 3 code provided to us by Ubisoft. The game is available now exclusively on the system for $39,99.
Assassin's Creed Nexus VR Review
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR might struggle to make its combat exciting but this Meta Quest 3 game goes beyond being a tech demo to deliver a fully-fledged assassin VR simulator that we have been dying to play for years.