Chess Ultra Review: VR-ing Your Way to Grandmaster
Chess Ultra from Ripstone is now available for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and it also supports 4K and VR on those platforms that can handle the technologies. It truly is a great learning tool for new players, but it also sports challenges that can even befuddle the brains of a Grand Master, so it’s a great chess experience for all skill levels. The VR aspect is very unique and provides a new level of immersion for the digital chess genre. You can get the full review by watching the video embedded below.
Hey there you digital chess grandmasters, Matt Heywood here from EntertainmentBuddha.com to review Ripstone’s Chess Ultra, which is a 4K and VR compatible title for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Of course 4K and VR are platform dependent, but if you own the right gear you can play some chess with a ton of polish or in a virtual world.
Let’s get right down to it, Chess Ultra is a chess game, so there isn’t much to explain about its gameplay. It’s chess, albeit digital, but it is still chess. Although, Ripstone baked in online tournaments, various challenges, historic matches, ELO ratings, and more to make it more than just a standard chess game. Chess Ultra also packs in a fantastic tutorial for learning all phases of the game of chess, so it’s a great teaching tool as well.
It also supports cross-platform network play, so you can take on players on console or PC. This is a great feature as it opens up your available pool of players. I didn’t get mixed up in any online matches, but I did watch a few through the game’s spectator mode, and they looked like, well, an online chess game with really polished visuals.
Chess Ultra truly does embrace its title. It is the Ultra version of the storied game of chess, and offers every way to play the game, plus a few other creative methods that I outlined above. I didn’t get to test its 4K capabilities because I played on a PS4, but even on that platform the game looked great. There are multiple rooms to play in, all of which featured distinct environments to change up the look. And you can also choose from various styles and colors of chess pieces.
On the PS4, as well as PC through the Rift or Vive, Chess Ultra can be played in VR, which is what first intrigued about the game. I found the VR mode to be rather excellent on the PSVR, but the visuals did get washed out a bit and appeared blurry, but not to the point that the game became unplayable.
In the VR mode you are placed in a virtual representation of the rooms you can choose to play in. It really does feel like you’re sitting at a table playing chess, and if you play in the Hell inspired room you get to sit across from Death himself. Having Death sitting across from you and getting frustrated is quite the spectacle, as he’ll ignite his eyes with flames, and generally just look like he wants to take your soul.
I also appreciated that in VR you could crane your neck to get a birds eye view of the board, which really helped to plan out strategies and see the current state of the pieces left on the board. I found playing in VR to be my preferred style of play, mainly because of the immersion factor.
I just wish Ripstone incorporated move controls so you could physically move the pieces on the board while in VR, but alas, we’re stuck with a good all controller’s joystick to get the pieces where we want them to go.Upon further review the game does support the PS Move controllers.
Honestly, for $12.99 you can’t beat Chess Ultra. It’s not for everyone, but chess enthusiasts should definitely check it out. It’s packed full of unique ways to play and learn about the game, it supports 4K on the right platforms, as well as VR. The VR is pretty well done and provides the level of immersion you’d want in a chess game, so overall this game as an alluring package.
It definitely earns itself an 8 out of 10 review score from Team EB, so if you’ve been wanting to learn more about the game of chess, but don’t feel like buying books or going online, there’s no better teacher than Chess Ultra, which is also a great experience for players of any skill level, including Grand Masters.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood here for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you better geeks, one post at a time.
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Review Statement: The author of this review was provided a PS4 code by the publisher for the purposes of this review.