There's one rule about Fight Club — you don't talk about it — which is probably why the latest title from Insomniac Games is an Oculus Rift-exclusive called The Unspoken. Set to coincide with the Oculus Touch controller launch in the fall, the virtual reality title lets players realize their Harry Potter dreams by engaging player vs player duels. I recently went hands on with the game and experienced the bitter burn of defeat by way of a well-placed fireball.
The Unspoken is set in the modern world where magic is real, and its practitioners engage in duels to prove who is the best wizard. My entry into this arcane world began with the tutorial. Armed with the Oculus Touch controllers, I quickly learned the basics. For example, a quick upward flick allowed me to teleport to the floating pedestals strategically placed throughout the arena. Pressing the right trigger button would shoot off a fireball, while holding the trigger down for a few seconds charged the fiery projectile, making for a much more powerful boom.
From there, I learned some four of the 25 spells available in the game. Accessing these additional commands required me turning the left Touch controllers sideways to bring up a small menu of available spells. Playing up the modern world motif, some of the magic used very familiar totems in order to activate an effect.
Conjuring a larger shield rather than my default required grabbing a literal magic marker and tracing it out using the glowing golden outline that appeared before me. To send a barrage of mystical paper planes at my fellow duelist, I grabbed what looked to be an ordinary piece of paper, folded it in correspondence with the glowing prompts and threw it just like I used to in study hall. Other spells, like the crow attack, forsook the mundane trappings.
When selected, the crow spell looks like a golden snitch from a "Harry Potter" Quidditch match. The glowing ball would then explode into five or six smaller spheres that turned into fiery crows when I touched them with the opposite hand. This quickly became my favorite attack because it homed in on your rival no matter where they are, even if they're hiding behind cover.
Lastly, there's a magical hammer, which sadly isn't Mjölnir, but still packs a hell of a punch. Grabbing the ornately decorated weapon causes an anvil to appear with a glowing symbol. Strike the glowing symbols and the hammer transforms into a glowing javelin that you can launch over long distances, breaking any shields your enemy might conjure.
Finally, I was ready for my first duel, which happened to be against Kevin Lee from TechRadar. The battle was fast paced, with Lee teleporting constantly to try to get around my flank. At first, I stood my ground just hurling fireballs and deflecting shots with my default shield, but then I remembered the advanced spells.
Teleporting to a more strategic spot, I unleashed a volley of fire crows on Kevin, activating the magic marker shield right after to handle the weaker attacks. In the meantime, I summoned the javelin and hurled it in Kevin's direction, only to have it fly way over his head. Since my shield was beginning to break down, I teleported again, sent out more crows and tossed a few fireballs to get some suppressing fire going. Our duel was a fast-paced five minutes, but at the end, I was defeated — felled by an errant fireball.
Insomniac has the makings of a monster hit on its hands. The Unspoken's action is agile, but doesn't run the risk of inducing simulation sickness as you whip all over the arena. The spells are inventive and easy to cast for the most part. Oculus' Touch controllers are comfortable and added a level of immersion that a traditional game controller just can't deliver. Best of all, it's a multiplayer experience so you can dish out some prodigious beatdowns to friends and foe alike.