[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Vanishing Realms: The Sundered Rift is a full-length expansion to the original game that adds a meaty third chapter. Read our full review here to see what we thought!
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Vanishing Realms is officially out of Early Access and with that update also comes the release of a big paid expansion that’s even larger than the original game in the form of The Sundered Rift. Indimo Labs has been hard at work on this new DLC and it shows.
In order to approach The Sundered Rift with the right frame of mind, I actually started the whole game from scratch. I dove in fresh from the very beginning and replayed the first two chapters of the original Vanishing Realms. I think that really improves the experience to play it straight through as one 6+ hour journey — the original is about 2-3 hours and The Sundered Rift can easily take upwards of 4 hours with its six different zones and multitude of new content.
To be clear though: this is not a sequel. Even though you have to pay for it separately you still need the base game to play it and it still functions off of the same core mechanics. Luckily, Vanishing Realms still feels innovative in a VR market overrun with non-VR game ports and half-baked experiences that often barely limp across the finish line of development. By comparison,. despite being over three-years old, Vanishing Realms is a competent, capable, and complete game.
Inventory management is a breeze with sockets at your waist that represent bags for things like consumable healing items, swords, bows, shields, and more. Switching things out is relegated to looking down and grabbing what you want rather than navigating a floating 2D menu. Combat is tiring and intense, especially once you’re deep into the game, requiring quick parries, adept blocking, and quickly swapping to the right tool for the job. Any melee combat you’ve seen in VR owes Vanishing Realms for laying the foundation and it still feels good even now.
The original Vanishing Realms is a bit more restricted in its scope. Many of the areas are indoors and it generally lacks a lot of breadth as you progress. The Sundered Rift on the other hand, as you can tell even just from the screenshots on the Steam page, has a lot of variety with several “open world-esque” levels that really evoke a sense of existing in a larger, more robust world.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=””]Comfort
Vanishing Realms was originally designed exclusively for the HTC Vive when it was the only headset on the market that had tracked motion controllers and allowed for full roomscale movement. As a result, it leans heavily on teleportation movement although you can enable smooth movement but you’ll probably still need to teleport sometimes. You can also use snap or smooth turning.[/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Another thing about Vanishing Realms that is retained here are the various clever puzzles, traps, and riddles sprinkled throughout. The developers at Indimo Labs write some great rhymes that would make any Dungeons & Dragons DM smile with pride. In fact, I would love to see the teams from Indimo Labs and the folks at inXile that worked on The Mage’s Tale team up in some way. By and large they’re very similar games.
Vanishing Realms: The Sundered Rift Review: Final Verdict
Fans of VR RPGs need not look further: Vanishing Realms and its new accompanying expansion are fantastic. The Sundered Rift content is a pleasant surprise as not only does it continue on from the base game’s first two chapters, but it delivers an experience that’s longer, larger, and more ambitious. Zones feel more open and varied, there are close to a dozen new enemies, and tons of new weapons and challenges. Even though it does little to actually innovate by way of still using the exact same underlying mechanics and bone structure of the more than three-year old core RPG that came before it, it’s an epic conclusion for Indimo Labs that successfully manages to expand on what made the original so great.
Vanishing Realms: The Sundered Rift is now available on Steam with support for Rift, Vive, and Index at the price of $14.99. To play Sundered Rift you must first own and complete the first two chapters from the base game, Vanishing Realms, which is $19.99 on Steam and last about 2-3 hours.
This review was conducted using an Oculus Rift S with the Steam version of the game. For more on how we arrived at this score, read our review guidelines.