Gaming Reviews

Published on November 28th, 2017 | by Michael Newman

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Sparc

When I was ten years old my parents took me to see the Disney movie Tron.  The movie, for those who haven’t seen it, revolves around a video game developer named Flynn (played by the very talented actor Jeff Bridges).  Flynn is zapped into a digital world where “programs” are forced to compete in video games on the grid.  When you load up Sparc on your PS4 (or Oculus Rift or HTC Vive) and don your VR headset it feels as though you are literally being transported to the gaming grid, just like Flynn, to compete against other players in a VR arena.

Sparc is a VR based eSport, where the players are transported to a virtual court to compete one-on-one with other players around the world.  The gameplay is straightforward, and the goal is to use your ball to hit the other player.  You have the option to dodge the ball or deflect it back to your opponent using a shield attached to your virtual arm.  The shield is only available while you are holding your own ball in your hand, so once you have thrown your ball you are left with only your ability to dodge your opponent’s incoming ball. If you successfully dodge your opponent’s ball, it grows larger thus making it harder to dodge as the round continues.  The gameplay concludes when either you or your opponent scores three hits.

Gameplay is fast and furious and requires quite a large amount of space to move your body and your arms.  You want to ensure that you have enough space to play, so you are not punching your TV or tripping over cats or small children while you are playing.  Using the PS Move controllers is a requirement as they control the actions of throwing and deflecting the ball.  You will definitely get quite the workout in while ducking and side-stepping balls as they come your way.  It’s like a mix of air hockey, dodgeball and racquetball all rolled into one sport.

The biggest drawback to the game is its extremely limited solo play.  Solo play mainly consists of training and practice challenges, which prepare you for your online play experience but severely limits your ability to enjoy the game alone.  It would have been nice if there were bot matches to play against, so you wouldn’t always be reliant on someone being online to play with.  That being said, I never waited more then 15-20 seconds for a match to be found, and the players I played against were very courteous which made my time online playing with complete strangers enjoyable.  However, as with all online games your experience may differ depending on who you go up against.

Another interesting component to the game is that it has a very unique spectator view that allows you to watch other live matches going on.  It is cool to be able to watch other players compete in this virtual world.

Sparc is a game I thoroughly enjoyed however, it’s lack of single player, limited game modes, and online only competition does hurt it a little.  Even with those minor faults, being able to launch into a virtual world and compete against other players, much like in Tron, is a fantastic experience and one that truly shows the capabilities and future for VR.  It’s definitely a show piece for people looking for a fun VR experience and a game that is quick and easy to pick up and play.

What I liked: Gameplay is fast and fun and getting the opportunity to experience a Tron-like world

What I liked less: Limited single player options and lack of diverse game modes

4 out of 5 Stars

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