Against all odds, Zenith might just be a VR MMO that delivers. Read on for our Zenith review, which is currently in progress.

Note: We’ve had access to Zenith for the past few days, but feel the game couldn’t be properly judged until it launches in full. We’ll update this review in the coming days with final impressions, but the thoughts below are based on the first few hours of gameplay.

We have seen all of this promised before. A massively multiplayer online (MMO) game for VR that offers hours and hours of questing with friends, exploring awe-inspiring landscapes, and battling the forces of evil. The ambition is great and the reality has in the past left much to be desired. When Zenith was first announced in 2019, I had little reason to believe this story would be any different.

But Ramen VR has unexpectedly bucked this trend. Zenith isn’t a half-hearted cash grab or helpless buggy company – it’s a really decent shot at bringing the MMO to VR in a meaningful way, and it’s a refreshingly fearless game too.

Above all, Zenith is not it aim to revolutionize the way we play MMOs. It’s very much like a traditional take on the genre, and most of its main tenants are here: you choose between six classes (two main types with three roles each) and largely complete simple quests like finding items, killing a certain number of enemies or explore new areas. All the while, you earn XP which will increase your base stats and grant you new abilities known as Godstones, as well as finding better armor for improved defenses, which will slowly allow you to level up. to more difficult areas to face new enemies. Numbers fly off enemies as you land hits, and a quest tracker keeps a count of your objective progress to the left of your vision.

So what it’s not is radicalization that tears up the rulebook and, if you’re not a fan of the basic structure of the MMO genre, Zenith isn’t really making headway to speak to you. It will be very familiar to almost anyone who has spent even a few hours getting into an MMO, whether World of Warcfat veterans, current Final Fantasy 14 players, or anyone who remembers. simply for having killed time in Runescape at the time.

Zenith Review Facts

What is that?: A VR MMO where players hop online, meet friends, and go on quests to level up their characters.
Platforms: Quest 2, PSVR, PC VR
Release date: January 27
Price: $29.99/£24.99

That’s not to say the game doesn’t have its own ideas. Combat in Zenith plays around with VR’s motion controls in a clever way that, while not as cinematic or immersive as some single-player efforts, ensures you’re not just wiggling your wrists with your eyes glazed over. Swordmasters wield two katanas, but there’s a small cooldown each time you land a swipe, meaning you’ll do minimal damage if you swipe back and forth furiously. Mages, on the other hand, have two wrist-mounted gauntlets that fire projectiles, but their primary use really stems from gesture-based godstone abilities, which can introduce area-of-effect attacks or buffs. Even swinging swords in certain directions evokes different types of attacks.

Zenith therefore strikes a curious balance between the physical and the calculated. It has the proven satisfaction of seeing your character improve on a static level mixed with some rhythm combat that you can only really do in VR. If you’re just looking for the most physical and immersive action systems, you won’t find it here, but the combat does just enough to help set the game apart from its flatscreen counterparts.

Hopefully, though, we’ll see more features that really capitalize on that physics as we progress through the game’s progression and roadmap. Hopefully, new powers will lead to more complex and involved actions, but all that remains to have.

There’s also the kitchen which is a surprisingly sturdy affair. At almost any time, you can summon a kitchen to begin preparing food, which provides health and stat benefits. It’s not a set of passive menu clicks but rather a really lovely little mini-game in itself where you flip the dough to prevent it from burning and heat the milk while being careful not to overdo it.

Finally, there’s the slide, which draws inspiration from Population: One but ends up delivering that uplifting grace everyone recently stole from Breath of the Wild. Combined with VR 101 climbing, which lets you climb just about anything you can grab, Zenith is a fast-paced MMO that lets you move around with welcome versatility.

This is all in addition to the elements that are fundamentally changed by bringing an MMO to VR. Social is, obviously, an important part of Zenith and Ramen VR has clearly put a lot of effort into making sure it works well from day one. Once you are matched on the servers, you will be able to find and make friends simply by approaching them, activating a menu and sending an invite. From here you can party and join guilds and enable different voice chat options so you can mute everyone or talk to specific people.

For better or for worse, it’s really different when you join a flatscreen MMO and see people running around. In VR, these are imposing characters that we often really feel like we are there. This unlocks some magic when it comes to meeting random friends and then deciding to storm a cave full of monsters together, but you’ll have to be prepared for lots of people to enter your space without you. you wanted it. A few clicks of a button and them gone, but it would be nice to have personal privacy options like proximity bubbles to keep unwanted people from getting too close.

Zenith review – Comfort

Zenith supports both smooth locomotion and teleportation options, with a number of different settings to tweak to get the experience that’s right for you. It’s not exactly a fast-paced game and you can pretty much get used to it as you go, although features such as gliding might cause a bit of a jitter for those more VR-savvy. .

Overall, however, Zenith’s social infrastructure is remarkably instantaneous in an age where just playing many VR games together takes you through several hurdles and supports cross-play between Quest, PC, and PSVR ( as well as cross-progression with you own multiple copies) really takes the hassle out of playing with friends. This is perhaps the highest praise I could give Zenith on day one – pending any probable server issues – the fundamentals that should work… work.

Everything else? Well, it’s the beginning but it looks good. Although you only have two main attack types, the role system provides much-needed variety in how you play the game. On the surface, there are stat differences depending on whether you choose Tank, Damage-Per- Second and Support, as these names suggest. But you’ll also get different Godstone abilities as you level up, and in the case of the mage, even the basic attacks are different right off the bat. A tank fires a continuous beam, for example, while support and DPS fire different colored orbs. A few hours later as a support and I have a few different healing abilities, while my DPS build has a completely different power set more concerned with maximizing attack power.

Zenith Review – Current Thoughts

So I was really encouraged by my opening hours with Zenith. If you don’t like MMOs, the familiar structure and stat-driven focus probably won’t speak to you, but the game experiments with the VR format to provide exciting interactivity and many of the key features you’ve come to expect from the greatest MMOs. are ready and waiting for the first day. Simply put, Ramen VR is in a pretty good position on launch day (which, again, could be hampered by server launch issues).

What I’m going to look to see now is how those foundations morph into something more compelling and rewarding through the dozens of hours of content included in the game right now, because that’s where Zenith will live. or really die. Check back in the days to come for more in-depth thoughts as I progress through the game.

To learn more about how we arrived at this score, read our review guidelines. What did you think of our Zenith review? Let us know in the comments below!