RIGS Mech­a­nized Com­bat League PSVR

EDGE - - GAMES - De­vel­oper Guer­rilla Games Cambridge Pub­lisher SIE For­mat PSVR Re­lease Out now

Guer­rilla has achieved the seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble. RIGS, the stu­dio’s fu­tur­is­tic PSVR sport game, fails to in­duce the fit of vom­it­ing we fear will fol­low in the wake of our dizzy­ing open­ing min­utes of play. This is de­spite the se­ri­ous de­mands it makes on your brain’s po­si­tional cer­ti­tude – you’ll dash-strafe, dou­ble-jump and quick-turn around mul­ti­lay­ered are­nas in an ef­fort to keep track of five other play­ers and, in one game type, re­peat­edly hurl your­self through an over­sized goal hoop. It’s a game-de­sign doc­u­ment that reads like a check­list of what not to do in VR, but some­how it all hangs to­gether with­out in­ci­dent.

That’s not to say RIGS is an easy ride: play­ers with par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive con­sti­tu­tions are likely to suf­fer when the pacy matches spool up, and even those who con­sider them­selves to be made of stur­dier stuff will want to take reg­u­lar breaks. But Guer­rilla’s com­bi­na­tion of head-con­trolled ve­hi­cle turn­ing, sub­tle tun­nelling (where your field of view is tem­po­rar­ily re­duced dur­ing fast ma­noeu­vres), and op­tional full mask­ing dur­ing ejec­tion se­quences – so you don’t have to watch the arena rapidly shrink away be­neath you af­ter los­ing a rig to op­po­si­tion fire – en­sure that the game’s ro­botic ac­ro­bat­ics re­main sig­nif­i­cantly more com­fort­able in ac­tion than they have any right to be.

Guer­rilla starts things off gen­tly with an ex­ten­sive, pa­tiently paced tu­to­rial that grad­u­ally in­tro­duces your rig’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ten­ta­tively tests your stom­ach’s lim­its while warn­ing you be­fore demon­strat­ing any­thing that might wrench you out of your comfort zone, then check­ing if you want to keep the new set­tings or re­vert to some­thing gen­tler. De­spite its achieve­ments re­gard­ing comfort, Guerilla’s care­ful not to over­load new play­ers by re­veal­ing the ex­tent of its am­bi­tion too soon.

We’d urge you to keep your eyes open while be­ing flung out of your wreck, how­ever, oth­er­wise you’ll miss the view. The sprawl­ing are­nas are spec­tac­u­lar: Ne­vada’s venue is built in the shadow of a now-de­com­mis­sioned Hoover Dam; the Dubai sta­dium sits amid sky­scrapers, moored hy­per yachts, and a space el­e­va­tor; a colos­sal, shim­mer­ing casino is built on top of Macau’s semi­in­door arena; and Rio De Janeiro’s matches take place on a rocky, cliff­side out­crop that over­looks the city. The tit­u­lar rigs are a hand­some col­lec­tion, too, each a con­glom­er­ate of shiny painted metal pan­els, mat­te­black hy­dro­formed frame­works, and ex­posed springs, pis­tons and fans. They look like the robot form of what was once an F1 car or power­boat, poised for speed, ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity and no small amount of shunt­ing.

There are four ba­sic rigs on of­fer. The Tem­pest sports two anti-grav­ity rings on its shoul­ders, which al­low it to glide over long dis­tances once launched into the air. The Hunter class uses its speed and com­pact form to outrun op­po­nents and lose larger rigs by duck­ing into low-ceilinged tun­nels. The Mi­rage, our favourite, is a lanky ma­chine that can dou­ble jump. And the Sen­tinel is the tank class, a heavy unit that can soak up dam­age and is equipped with a charg­ing ver­ti­cal jump – charge it fully be­fore launch­ing and you’ll gen­er­ate a thun­der­ous, dam­ag­ing shock­wave on land­ing.

These ba­sic rigs are avail­able in var­i­ous set­ups, each of­fer­ing a dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tion of weapons and a unique spe­cial abil­ity. The Vam­pire ca­pa­bil­ity, for ex­am­ple, al­lows you to re­gain ar­mour af­ter tak­ing down an op­po­nent; Cara­pace grants you a rear-fac­ing shield that blocks ev­ery­thing bar melee at­tacks; and the panic-in­duc­ing Nuke op­tion leaves a timed ex­plo­sive mine af­ter the rig’s demise. But which­ever rig you choose, the ba­sic moveset re­mains un­changed. Tap­ping ei­ther L1 or R1 will make you dash side­ways, the trig­gers are re­served for left and right weapons, R3 ac­ti­vates a melee at­tack (which can be also be used as a for­ward boost), and X ac­ti­vates your rig’s par­tic­u­lar jump abil­ity. Aim­ing is han­dled by look­ing where you want to fire, and you steer your rig the same way. You can also re­di­rect power to your rigs’ var­i­ous sys­tems us­ing the Square, Tri­an­gle and Cir­cle but­tons – an es­sen­tial skill to mas­ter if you want to re­main com­pet­i­tive. Switch­ing to Im­pact mode al­lows you to do sig­nif­i­cantly more dam­age at the cost of hav­ing to plod along, whereas Turbo re­duces your fir­ing ca­pac­ity in ex­change for some life-sav­ing speed. Once dam­aged, you’ll have to find an op­por­tune mo­ment to switch to the vul­ner­a­ble Re­pair mode to re­in­state your hull’s in­tegrity. Take down enough en­e­mies or col­lect enough power spheres in a row with­out be­ing de­stroyed and you’ll en­ter Over­drive mode, in which all three of your ships’ sys­tems re­ceive a boost si­mul­ta­ne­ously, giv­ing you a tem­po­rary ad­van­tage.

Achiev­ing this state is also how you score points in Power Slam, the most en­joy­able of RIGS’s trio of 3v3 modes. Once in Over­drive, you must drop through the gi­ant hoop at the cen­tre of the arena with­out be­ing de­stroyed (or hit by a mech with the Knock­out melee abil­ity). End­zone is more like rugby than bas­ket­ball, with each team dash­ing to col­lect a vir­tual ball be­fore car­ry­ing it to a goal at the op­po­site end of the arena; it can also be passed be­tween team mem­bers us­ing L3. Team Take­down, mean­while, is es­sen­tially a team death­match mode. All three modes are fran­ti­cally en­joy­able and are­nas are sub­tly al­tered for each, but End­zone’s re­liance on con­tin­ual team com­mu­ni­ca­tion means that it suf­fers when played against AI.

RIGS is a com­pact but deep pack­age, then, and one ex­e­cuted with a con­fi­dence that be­lies its launch-game sta­tus. Whether it’s enough to con­vince the masses to shell out £350 on a head­set is another mat­ter, but in RIGS Guer­rilla has cre­ated a game of fu­ture sports that ev­ery PSVR owner should ex­plore.

Keep your eyes open while be­ing flung out of your wreck, oth­er­wise you’ll miss the view. The are­nas are spec­tac­u­lar

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