Nintendo just added free updates for Nintendo Switch blockbusters Super Mario Odyssey and Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild which introduce virtual realistic modes for both games, but you'll be perfectly fine if you skip them.
Mario OdysseyThe new VR mode consists of a trio of small custom levels that allow you to use Mario to quickly collect musical instruments for characters that eventually gather to perform a special VR concert on the main theme of the game.
The Breath of the WildVR mode allows you to play the entire game in a basic 3D view that will bring you a little further into your world.
Neither is much of the announcement of games of virtual reality in general and can serve as an indictment of the boundaries of VR on the relatively low-power switch. To play or play in VR, users need to slide the system into cardboard and plastic glasses that are packed with the new Nintendo Labo VR Kit. The glasses are mostly fine, but the switch does not seem powerful enough to generate a strong VR experience for any game.
VR games require hardware to send split images, one on the left eye and one on the right. That's why all the screenshots in this post, recorded while playing the games in VR, show an overview of the left eye and a right eye view. This splits taxes even more powerful hardware and leaves the switch only capable of displaying games in grainy resolution. Screenshots in this post look better, though polished, than what I saw in VR. The version of the VR switcher also does not monitor where the player is in the space, so it can only create a sense of seeing the virtual world from a fixed location, versus a more advanced VR technology that allows you to move, at least in the virtual space while you move head or body.
On Mario Odyssey VR mode is separated from the main game. It spreads through three levels of performance and a bonus interactive concert. The levels are set in the Kingdom of Hat, the Kingdom of the Kingdom and the United Kingdom. Each is the very own version of the Kingdom that is set to feel like small virtual spaces surrounded by the player. To experience this, the user puts the switch in VR glasses, sitting or standing while holding the glasses on their face, and then entering Britain.
If you turn your head, you will discover that the kingdoms of Mario seem to have been pronounced around you. Your perspective is fixed at the center of them, as if you are a surveillance camera in this special Mario world. All VR games inherently represent game worlds in 3D, which adds depth to what can be seen. That said, they are fixed in one location, while you have to run Mario around the camera, often prone far away from it, does not seem to be good and not fun.
The kingdoms are sprinkled with several simple challenges in which Mario collects musical notes, causes the emergence of musical instruments, and then delivers those instruments to the respective musicians.
It takes only minutes to reunite musicians in each kingdom with their instruments. The award is a concert of New Donc City, in which Pauline appears Mario OdysseyWhile players can make Mario Hop through the crowd or jump on the stage with the singer and her band.
VR can at least convey the magical feeling that we are actually in this virtual place. That feeling is not very strong Mario OdysseyVR modes, simply because there is not much spectacle around the player. Graphics are grainy. Mario is intermittently too close and difficult to control either too far and too small to enjoy watching. The degree of levels stands out only in the coastline of the Kingdom, where the perspective of the camera is low, and the height of beekeeping that grows and the challenge of jumping with smoke give a certain amount of scope.
The Breath of the WildVR is also deflated. In theory, you can play through this whole great game of all time in the new VR mode. It's a passage from the main menu of the game. But in order to do so, it seems to be crazy. The VR mode for this game does not mean that you are getting into it. In the default VR setting, there's no turning over your head to look into the virtual world around you. Instead of, The Breath of the WildThe standard VR offer offers to present the game – through glasses – with a stereoscopic 3D depth in a perspective that remains fixed in front of you. You will feel like you're a little closer to the Link World, but Switch does not make the world seem to surround you. Instead, it's more like deciding to buy more expensive 3D movie experiences, but you're still sitting on the theater seat with the graphics locked in front of you.
If you turn on the "Direction Control" option, then you can change the camera view by turning your head. This is better, but it's not great. Ideally, this would mean that you can look at Link looking at you, then turn your head around to see what you could see behind you. In this mode, however, turning your head, instead, maps the game into the orbit around Link. By turning your head 180 degrees, you basically simply move the camera, so it's now on the other side of it. It's always in the frame. If you look up, do not leave it behind and see the sky above. Instead, you will move the camera to his feet and see the upper part of the sky above the sky, replacing what will happen with moving the camera in the game in a non-VR move. Watching down does not display the camera underneath. Instead, it moves the camera over the head of Link to look it down. This all feels more like a traditional orbital motion of a 3D video game camera and works very much like the way the non-VR camera is controlled by an analog stick. This alternative VR mode least emphasizes the sensation that you are looking closer in the virtual world than you could without VR, but failed to create a greater illusion that the 3D world of the game exists all around you. If you try The Breath of the Wild VR, try this setting. It's a better option, even if it's not great.
Correction – 01:20: I originally said that the camera in breathing the wild VR is fixed. It's just in the default mode. I've added a description of a better, but still limited, variant that allows you to orbit around the camera by turning your head.
Like it Odyssey, The Breath of the Wild is very stocked in VR. It also has a slippery interface that hides the mini-card of the game and makes it difficult to read health, as its turn of hearts flips from the peripheral vision of the user.
Combining the constraints I have listed is the fact that VR for Nintendo Switch is a significant training in hands. Labo guards for VR have no headphones. To use them, you must hold the glasses, which, I remember, are cardboard, but contain Nintendo Switch, to your face.
No wonder it is Mario OdysseyThe VR mode continuously encourages the user to rest. It's probably about the health of your hands, but it's tiring to keep the supposed light. Switch to five, 10, 15 minutes while you are running around in a Mario world. How will anyone play the whole? Zelda play this way? So, The Breath of the WildThe standard fixed angle of the camera – the fact that turning your head does not change the angle in which you see the game in the world – means that you can at least lie down on your back and play while holding your face glasses. If you decide to set "control of the goal with movement" then you really need to play the game upright, holding the system to your face all the time. Keep in mind that due to the lack of eyeglasses goggles, Switch controllers must be installed on the system by playing while holding the controllers near the cheeks. It's strange, and it's not a good way to play the Switch. You can separate the controllers, but then you need to place a strap to hold the face glasses.
VR game design is still a young format. The best developers are struggling to provide gamers with excellent experiences in this seemingly magical technology that allows us to enter a virtual world. It was exciting that Nintendo would try, first with its own Labo VR games, but then with VR for its two leading franchises. Unfortunately, even the brilliant minds of Nintendo were not able to deal with excellent or even good VRs on their Mario and Zelda games.
Watching these world-class VR games that Switch can do is just not exciting. Nintendo must have heard this before, but given VR's unclear results on these Nintendo titles, can I humbly suggest that they try something else? Perhaps, VR Pokemon Snap?