Resolution Games have been busy. Very, very busy. I did a preview of the PCVR version back in 2021, and then checked out the flat screen version in April of 2022, but in both cases it was still in early access and a target in motion. Since that time we’ve seen quite a few updates to the game, with new and expanded scenarios for both the flat screen and VR version. As we head into the launch of the PlayStation VR2, I believe we’ve finally gotten our hands on the ultimate version of the game. Let’s dive back into the world of Demeo.
Demeo is essentially virtual dungeons and dragons. You’ll pick up the figures of the various heroes (another thing that has expanded – the roster is well balanced) and move them through a dungeon, casting spells, triggering traps, and slaying monsters. Each hero has two actions each round, and they trigger special attacks with randomly selected cards. Some cards are single-use (e.g. fireball, whirlwind strike, ice attack, poison arrows), while others regenerate each round. Slaying critters will gain you XP, and when your XP meter hits 100, your party will “level up” and receive a card drop. This can happen mid-battle and can shift the tides completely in the case of a tough fight. Similarly, you can open chests that will grant cards mid-battle, gaining potions, cards, and more right when it might matter most.
The cards in your deck have an action cost, and each character has a pool of two action points. This allows you to move twice, attack twice, or move and attack. Your cards most frequently have a cost of one, but other cards may soak both actions for a more explosive result. Resource management and timing between your team members becomes important as it can mean the difference between walking into a cluster of enemies with no actions left, or wiping them out before they get the chance to respond.
Spells can have utility moments as well. If a room is filled with poisonous gas, you can disperse that gas with a fireball. Be on the lookout for an opportunity to use spells in creative ways. It speaks to the flexibility of the system, asking the player to think about the world differently than the obvious. It will keep you coming back to the scenarios again and again as you never know how a dice roll could change things, or when you might discover a new way to tackle a scenario.
The one thing that I thought was really hurting Demeo during Early Access has been fixed. Getting four people together in VR is difficult, so fielding a full team can be a challenge. In the early days you couldn’t control the team, or even fill in the empty slots. Now you can set out on your adventure solo if you want, or have friends join if they are available. Check out this video below where I set out with all four characters in my party and complete the first mission of The Black Sarcophagus.
As you can see, Demeo is turn-based just like an outing of Dungeons & Dragons. Each character moves in turn, then the monsters have a go. Line of sight and fog of war will keep foes concealed, and height makes a huge difference. Knowing how to play the field and exploit enemy weaknesses is key as there are far more of them than there are of you. Opening a door can be a sobering experience as you are suddenly face to face with a whole contingent of goblins or a nest of spiders. You’ll want to plan out your positions and open the door at just the right time. The enemy knows how to exploit the map as well, so plan accordingly.
I want to take a moment and highlight Conor Souness, the UX Designer for Resolution Games and his team. They have built an interface that works perfectly on the flat screen and in virtual reality. Looking at your wrist shows how many actions you have left. The other wrist shows your cards. Grabbing a card and dropping it into the field highlights the area of effect. Grabbing the dice is a tactile experience as you throw it to see how your attack might go.
Getting into the action means getting close to the virtual table. You’ll do this with various gestures like pulling your hands apart to zoom, grabbing with the middle finger grips to turn, etc. We saw this on the Meta Quest 2 version and it worked well, so no surprise it works well on the Sense controllers. The haptics are very similar to the Meta Quest 2 as well, so don’t expect something mind blowing with that. What will blow your mind is the visual clarity.
Demeo has always been a pretty game, and virtual reality lets you get far closer than you would with the flat screen version. The PSVR2 headset is so incredibly clear, and the framerate is so rock-solid that it’s a zero nausea affair, and it also looks incredible doing it. Zooming in extraordinary close I can see the individual armor rivets and other details on each character. They are all lovingly crafted (right down to the special message on the bottom), and it has never looked this good. Just another example of how much of a leap forward Sony’s new hardware really is.
I did run into one slowdown during gameplay. I am on pre-release code so it’s very possible that this won’t occur in the final version, but during one sequence I was spinning the camera and the framerate dipped significantly for just a moment. It immediately recovered and I wasn’t able to replicate it, but it might cause somebody a bout of nausea issues if it happens again. Here’s hoping that this is patched and a non-issue at launch.
Demeo on the PSVR2 is the full package. You’ll get every single bit of content available, including all five scenarios. Better still, the game supports full cross-play at launch, meaning you can tackle dungeons with folks from Steam, the Epic Store, and Oculus Quest. Getting friends playing around the table has never been easier, and Demeo might just be your new Friday night get together.
Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.
Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.
Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
Demeo is a fantastic dungeon-crawler, and a perfect addition to the PSVR2 library. Demonstrating a visual clarity not seen on any other platform, the PlayStation VR2 version is the best possible platform. This is an easy recommendation and a must-have for any PSVR2 owner.