Raw Data

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Raw Data Game Poster Image
Sci-fi VR action that's fun and fluid, if and when it works.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Plot revolves around trying to uncover the truth behind actions of a major corporation, but it's more a matter of self-preservation. It's a clichéd plot to explain "defend objective" goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players choose one of four characters to play, each with a specialized set of skills. Outside of this, the characters are relatively interchangeable, basically just tools to fight with.

Ease of Play

When everything is calibrated, you're positioned just right, the motion controls for combat are surprisingly fluid and responsive. But if you're even a bit out of place, it quickly becomes a frustrating challenge to accomplish even the most basic tasks.

Violence

Action is nonstop, with players taking on wave after wave of killer robots. Players get access to variety of weapons, such as pistols, shotguns, swords, even a bow and arrow. Plenty of explosions and, while no visible gore, defeated enemies spray colorful blood-like liquid, occasionally appear with what looks like blood splashed on them.

Sex
Language

Dialogue makes occasional use of some light profanity.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Raw Data is a sci-fi themed first-person shooter game for PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive virtual reality devices. The game is a fully immersive VR experience, relying heavily on player motion and activity. This also means that players need both plenty of space to move around and constant calibration of the VR equipment. The game is a first-person shooter, with players fighting waves of robot enemies with a variety of realistic weapons and sci-fi abilities. Despite being robots, damaged enemies do appear to lose a bright red fluid similar to blood, and occasionally appear to have what looks like blood splattered on their bodies. Parents should also be aware that some profanity does appear throughout the game's dialogue.

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What's it about?

In RAW DATA, you play a member of the elite hacker resistance group SyndiK8. Your current target is the seemingly benevolent Eden Corporation. The company has begun to offer people the opportunity for "Promotion," an elevation to a higher existence complete with the promise of eternal life. Immortality comes with a price, though, and your job is to uncover the sinister truth behind Promotion and expose Eden's atrocities to the public. To do so, you'll have to infiltrate the company's heavily secured headquarters and steal data from specific systems, all while defending yourself and the hack from an onslaught of on-site security robots programmed to eliminate all intruders with lethal force. Using your arsenal of weapons and a variety of unique skills, you must get in, get the data, and get out alive ... and hopefully stay human in the process.

Is it any good?

This sci-fi action game can be fun, if you manage to keep the game calibrated and the action works the way it's supposed to. One of the interesting things about VR games is that, despite all their hype about a fully immersive experience, most still have a certain level of disconnect in action. Sure, you can look around and get a little more hands-on with some objects, but it doesn't always feel natural. Instead, it feels more like you're on an interactive amusement park ride. Raw Data looks to change that, having been built from the ground up with VR and motion controls in mind. And when it works, the game does an amazing job of making you feel like you're genuinely in another world and an active part of everything that's going on around you. In fact, when everything is at its best, Raw Data is easily one of the most fully immersive VR games available today.

Unfortunately, as good as Raw Data can potentially be, it's held back considerably by certain frustrating restrictions. For starters, as fluid and natural as the combat feels, whether it's swinging a katana or dual-wielding pistols like a sci-fi gunslinger, it only applies if you've got your hardware configured just right and you never stray from the relatively small "sweet spot." This would be difficult to do even if you weren't strapped into a headset that gives you no real-world frame of reference for your position. If you're even just slightly out of sync with where the VR thinks you are or should be, everything falls apart. Even minor interactions become difficult, and you find yourself fighting the controls more than you do the hordes of robot foes trying to kill you. The game is also relatively short and somewhat repetitive. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift gamers can extend the shelf life of the game with some interesting co-op play with friends, but unfortunately PSVR owners have to stick to solo play.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about immersive content in virtual reality. Does immersive content, such as that experienced in VR, have a bigger impact on users than more traditional content?

  • Talk about the history and future of virtual reality. How has VR technology advanced over the years, and what are some ways VR tech can affect our lives in the future?

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