For anyone who’s played Moss, the opening moments of Ghost Giant will seem rather familiar. You, a ghostly presence, awaken in a quiet woodland area above a small body of water. In front of you is the game’s tiny protagonist who, after a few moments of initial shock, soon comes to regard you as a friend and ally in their journey.
Ghost Giant also shares Moss’s incredible production values, bringing you ultra detailed dioramas that are a joy to inhabit and tinker around in. Sadly, as you’ll see near the end of this week’s episode of Ian’s VR Corner, Ghost Giant’s reliance on motion controls takes some of the sheen off of this wonderfully presented game – or at least it does for me thanks to the relatively small area in which I’m able to play VR.
Ghost Giant may be reminiscent of Moss in its opening moments but it soon becomes clear that its gameplay is radically different. While you’re in full control of Quill throughout her adventures, Louis, the boy-hero of Ghost Giant, makes his own way around his world and you, the titular Ghost Giant, can only go along for the ride.
Occasionally you’ll get to reach in and use your ghostly powers to help Louis manoeuvre around an obstacle or solve a puzzle, but your time in Ghost Giant is way more more narrative focussed than it is in Moss. In the early chapters at least, extended periods of story play out in front of you and you can do little more than lean down into these scenes and watch them as they unfold.
Rather than feeling bored and fidgety like I normally do in stationary VR sections like this, in Ghost Giant I was enthralled by the life and personality of not only the characters and animation, but the locations too. The level of detail is incredible, the model villages that make up the levels of Ghost Giant are stunning in VR. No matter where you look, there’s always something cool to find.
But herein lies my big problem with the game – and it’s a problem that may very well be specific to me, so do bare that in mind – but I found the motion controls (there’s no DualShock support) to be really fiddly and at times, utterly frustrating. As the Ghost Giant, you sit centre stage and must reach into the world to interact with tiny objects. Grabbing small objects in VR, especially with Move controllers, can be a bit awkward at the best of times but in Ghost Giant there’s so many tiny things to interact with, catching hold of them was often a case of trial and error. They’d regularly pop out of my grasp or vibrate wildly as the game tried to decide if I was actually gripping them or not and that kind of thing is not conducive to an immersive experience.
The worst problem for me though was that there were multiple times when I needed to reach really far into the game world to interact with objects. These objects were often so far away that my camera wasn’t able to track my motion controllers, leaving my VR ghost-hands vibrating wildly in front of items that were just out of my reach. This was finally remedied by positioning my camera high above me on top of my television, but I can’t help think that the simple addition of telekinesis powers would have redeemed Ghost Giant in my eyes. Red Matter and I Expect You To Die are great examples of games that allow you to grab and move distant objects without having to physically move very far and I found myself longing for a control method similar to that.
Hopefully, people with bigger, more spacious setups won’t have these problems because Ghost Giant seems like the type of game that’s easy to fall in love with. My control issues have stopped me from pushing much further into the game than where I left off in the VR Corner episode above, but I dearly want to try again soon because every other facet of the game is so utterly enchanting.
You’ll be able to try Ghost Giant for yourself when it releases digitally this Tuesday but if you’re the kind of person who loves a good physical release, you’ll find it on the shop shelves in Europe on Friday.
If you enjoyed this episode of Ian’s VR Corner, you can catch up with my previous adventures over on YouTube in our VR playlist.