Doctor Who is a series that has practically transcended time itself, lasting almost six decades now. With such an iconic series, of course it would dip into other mediums. Doctor Who: The Edge of Time isn’t the first video game for the good doctor, but it’s definitely one made for fans. Taking things into virtual reality, there are a lot of cool experiences in The Edge of Time. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it’s a good experience overall.
For the story, the game does well with the writing and the presentation. The Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, has been captured, and you’re recruited by her to rescue her. This involves going through space and time to collect time crystals, which will help you on your quest. The story has several nods to fan favorite moments in the long-running series, which is good for fans. Even casual fans would recognize a few things, like the Weeping Angels or Daleks. I’m not a huge fan of the series, but even I could recognize some of the iconic elements.
The concept of Doctor Who: The Edge of Time seems great when you think about it. Immerse yourself in the world of the popular sci-fi series and save the universe. You can enter the iconic TARDIS to travel to alien worlds and fight off the doctor’s foes like never before. Sometimes this works very well, even incorporating legitimate surprises in virtual reality. Unfortunately, most of the execution of the game feels a bit clumsy, mainly due to the design.
Gameplay revolves around players walking around virtual environments and solving various puzzles. Movement can be controlled either by using point and click warping or by manually moving. You can look around with the VR headset and even use the buttons to perform slight turns. Using two motion controllers, players can interact with objects and the environment to a degree as well. Other than that, players will also have access to the Sonic Screwdriver, a staple tool of the series that can move various objects.
While this all sounds fine for a VR game, there are some problems that detract from the fun. A lot of interactions require very precise actions, and that can be an issue for some areas. Controlling the TARDIS for example has players turning various knobs and pulling various levers, many of which are very close to each other. To make matters worse, you have to use them in a precise order in a timed sequence. Performing actions in order isn’t exactly a problem in VR. Doing it with a limited window of time, on the other hand, can be frustrating.
Other problems involve dropping items out of reach, long load times, and even long moments of exposition. These issues hurt the pacing quite a bit and make the game feel like it goes on for longer than it should. At least Whittaker provides a good performance in the game, making the exposition more bearable. Perhaps the biggest issue, at least for me, is the amount of movement necessary in the game. I’m usually not the type to get motion sickness, but I can’t play Doctor Who for more than 20 minutes without feeling a little sick to my stomach. To be honest, this game put me off of VR for a good while, hence why it took me so long to review it.
As mentioned before, Jodie Whittaker gives the game a nice charm, making it feel more authentic for fans. The music and sound helps to immerse the player and makes the various settings work well. The actual production values of the game are really splendid, which is unfortunate that the overall experience falters. For some players, the motion issues might not bother them. If that’s the case, they may just not like the short length of the game. It’s not too unusual for VR experiences, but it still might not be enough game for some players. At least there’s a little replay value with a couple other modes, separate from the story.
Overall, there are some really cool ideas in Doctor Who: The Edge of Time. Unfortunately, the gameplay isn’t consistent with design and the fanservice isn’t enough to make it fun. For me especially, this was one of the few VR titles to give me motion sickness, really hurting my experience. If you’re a fan of the series, it might be cool to give it a shot. Otherwise, if you’re simply looking for something new to play on your VR headset, it may be wise to avoid taking a trip to the good doctor.
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