Viveport Review: The Gallery Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone
Some frustrating puzzles do not derail this captivating follow-up to the first episode, Call of the Starseed.
By Joshua Hawkins, Greenlit Content
The first episode of The Gallery is exceptional and really sets the stage for Cloudhead Games to tell a wonderful story. With that in mind, they took things to the next level with the second episode of the series, which evolves and builds off of the foundation the developers set in Episode 1: Call of the Starseed. Like its predecessor, Heart of the Emberstone is an adventure game at its core. Top this off with the feeling of presence, and the fact that the developers have done such a great job pulling off the feeling of realism, and it’s difficult to not be in awe of this game as a whole.
The end of the first episode left Alex, the protagonist, in a bit of a pickle. Having entered the beacon that Elsie and the professor found, Alex now finds himself transported to an alien planet, with new abilities at his disposal.
The episode follows Alex as he continues to hunt for his sister, all while exploring a new alien planet and learning more about the mysterious man that the player meets at the end of Call of the Starseed. The experience in the second episode is much more fantastical than the first, which had a lot more fantasy undertones. This leads to a much more engrossing set of environments that you’ll want to re-experience as much as possible.
Exploring the sewers Call of the Starseed was exceptional, beyond anything that I’d seen in virtual reality up to that point. The second episode builds upon this even more, and as you explore the world in Heart of the Emberstone, it really feels like you’re on an alien planet.
The biggest issue I ran into with the second episode, though, was a couple of really frustrating puzzles that forced me to spend far too much time on one thing, unable to figure it out for a bit. It’s a small issue that not everyone will encounter, but it definitely brought my awe and wonder to a grinding halt for a while as I struggled to sort through the puzzle and come up with a solution.
Overall, though, The Gallery Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone is a fantastic follow up to one of my all-time favorite virtual reality experiences. With this installment, Cloudhead Games proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have what it takes to create engrossing and authentic feeling virtual reality experience with the highest degree of presence.
While it builds off of the foundation of the first episode, some frustrating puzzles may leave some players stumped for long periods of time. If you can overlook this, however, The Gallery Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone is a fantastic virtual reality experience with a superb plot.
The Gallery - Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone is available on Viveport.