4. Catching Virtual Bullets
The Oculus Rift has been in the public's eye for years now - I remember trying out the tech at E3 2012 in a demo of the mech-game Hawken - but I've seldom seen examples of VR experiences that actually take advantage of the technology to introduce fun gameplay mechanics that you couldn't get with traditional games. Epic's Bullet Train demo at CES, powered by an NVIDIA gaming rig, had me grinning from ear to ear by introducing something I'd never experienced before in an FPS game: slowing down time to catch bullets and hurl them back at opponents.
This was accomplished using the Oculus Touch handheld input devices - two mini controllers that you hold in order for the engine to process the position of your hands in space. This not only allowed for a simulation of the experience of reaching out to pluck a bullet out of the air, which is just oodles of fun, but also for the realistic miming of reloading a pump-action shotgun. (Though I must admit that last one was getting tiring on the arms after a while).
There are limitations to the technology, however. To move around, for instance, you can't actually walk. Instead, you have to teleport from one location to another, which is at once an engaging mechanic and an immersion-breaking reminder that you are not, in fact, Neo from The Matrix. The teleport worked best when it wasn't used to simply move fifteen feet further into an area, but rather when I'd use it to teleport up to a second level, or away from enemies and behind cover, or even to leapfrog around to confuse and distracted enemies, drawing fire to one direction before teleporting to another and taking aim.
Still, the demo ended with a boss fight against a giant flying robot in which I got to slow down time, pluck inbound missiles out of the air, and hurl them back at the oversized combat drone like the world's deadliest quarterback. Fun!