2017s Lone Echo was a good video game. In fact, it was an excellent video game because it came at a time when virtual reality (VR) needed great, impressive experiences that really showed the potential of this technology. 2021 is a completely different era. Titles like Half-Life: Alyx, Song in the Smoke, Stormland, and more give players epic adventures with exciting stories and inventive gameplay. After several delays to secure Lone Echo II can be as good as it can, has Ready At Dawn achieved the sequel fans have been hoping for? Let’s just say it’s nice to be back Jack.
Usually when it comes to a sequel, if you have not played the previous title in the series, then it is not something that is a practical catch up in the beginning and you are gone. It’s the same here Lone Echo IIs loading sequence that provides excerpts from the original to complete these topics. But on this occasion, it is advisable not to do so, purely because of the narrative here. The story continues directly again, and due to the interplay between the two main characters and the grandiose surroundings, it is worth experiencing the saga in its entirety.
By waking up as Jack, the android tasked with protecting Captain Olivia “Liv” Rhodes, you once again ensure that she survives the dangers of deep space and a deadly organism known simply as “Bio Mass” . The whole adventure takes place (mostly) on a deserted space station made up of different asteroids connected together. This entire installation revolves around Saturn, providing a particularly impressive backdrop when you get outside. Lone Echo was known for his beautiful visuals with Lone Echo II somehow manages to outdo his sibling. Whether you are flying randomly through the void or on an urgent mission, there are visually striking moments everywhere, so try not to let all that eye candy distract you too much.
So Lone Echo II still looks beautiful, but how is it handled? In fact, not much has changed here. The whole experience is still in zero-g-no artificial gravity in this sci-fi universe-so getting started is a mix of grabbing the environment or using small wrist-mounted jets to propel yourself. Although there is a major boost to navigating some of the larger expanses, you will mostly use a mix of the first two. In the context of the story, this tends to make Lone Echo II a slow and methodical type of video game. Certain sequences add a sprinkling of action, but for the most part, Lone Echo II is not about rushing, a general replay should last about ten hours without doing all the extra side missions.
Without changes in the core movement options, fans will instantly be at home here and throw themselves from pillar to pole in no time. If you jump right in, it’s worth noting that zero gravity can be a bit much for some, even with available options available. A good mechanic Lone Echo II does is keep you on the same visual level. You can e.g. Do not suddenly turn yourself upside down – one of the best ways to induce nausea. The only braking of this rule comes with a small device called “Extreme Drifter”. Find it and you will explode across the space station. A word of warning that you can twist, and if you do not let go, it is the only way to reorient yourself.
So you may now be wondering what is brand new. Most of this involves dealing with the Bio Mass threat and its various developments like the really annoying, power-hungry ticks that will lock on to any kind of power source — not great when you’re an Android. Lone Echo IIs Puzzles begin with trying to avoid or maneuver these creatures, with lots of physical interaction, cutting access panels, pulling handles and more, nothing too taxing. As you get deeper, you unlock offensive options (not just tools) that offer light combat segments.
All of these are located on Jack’s wrist, activated with a blue button. You get a total of five gadgets, some that get far more use than others. Unlike actual shooting games, where weapons or tools are usually readily available, this is not really the case here. You need to grab a blue ball representing each tool, not the biggest mechanic if you get attacked. This in turn highlights the composite approach you need to follow Lone Echo II, Carefully plan how to handle any hazard. Death is no concern for an android as you will be rebuilt in the nearest Fabricator, but that does not mean you have to trust it. Some are not always nearby.
Lone Echo IIs gameplay may be fine-tuned, but it would not be anything without the relationship it creates between Jack and Liv. The epic story is breathtaking – as good as any binged TV show – nevertheless, the bond you build with Liv is what gives both Jack and Lone Echo II their humanity. Dialog options allow you to play a more logical Android character or add a little bit of jokey teasing to the mix and elicit different responses from Liv. Without ruining too much, there is a certain scene where you have to hold her hand, it is a very touching moment between two friends.
Ready At Dawn originally planned to release Lone Echo II in 2020, before you had to push it back several times, and that’s completely understandable considering the quality of video games produced. There is a lot to love and be engrossed in as it is so immersive that the real criticism comes from Lone Echo II plays a little too safely. The experience does not break any new ground and it really could have done with some major challenges thrown in. On the other hand, it was captivating to the last, easily the prominent AAA VR experience of 2021.