Lethal VR

EDGE - - GAMES - De­vel­oper/pub­lisher Three Fields En­ter­tain­ment For­mat Vive Re­lease Out now

Vive

Af­ter all the clut­ter of Dan­ger­ous Golf, Three Fields En­ter­tain­ment’s charm­ing, though flawed, de­but, Lethal VR is a work of arch min­i­mal­ism. Load­ing into a VR train­ing room, you’re given your weapon, told the rules of en­gage­ment, then set to work on a range of static or mov­ing tar­gets. It’s some­thing of a no-brainer for Vive, re­ally – a 360-de­gree shoot­ing range is an ideal fit for room­scale VR, those tracked con­trollers a fine fac­sim­ile of the guns in your hand. But de­spite be­ing quite an ob­vi­ous sort of game, it’s an en­gag­ing and sat­is­fy­ing use of HTC’s tech­nol­ogy.

It works most of the time, too, the aus­tere pu­rity of the base con­cept giv­ing Three Fields’ de­sign­ers the head­room to craft some thor­oughly smart stages. Walls ap­pear and hem you in, forc­ing you to move and lean to an­gle shots through win­dows at mov­ing tar­gets. A Wild West town has you head­shot­ting hostage-tak­ers through saloon door­ways. Some stages de­mand that you start with your gun low­ered; oth­ers that you use a spe­cific weapon to dis­patch a cer­tain type of tar­get.

Ah, yes, the weapons. You’ll start with a pis­tol, then two of them, and quickly work through the clas­sics. An SMG; a re­volver; a ma­chine pis­tol. Lev­els are de­signed around which­ever tool is at your dis­posal, with SMG stages clus­ter­ing a num­ber of tar­gets to­gether, re­volver lev­els slower paced to al­low time for reg­u­lar reloads. Be­fore long you mix and match, an SMG in one hand and a pis­tol in the other, your hands cross­ing over each other as you live out a two-minute ac­tion-hero fan­tasy.

But not ev­ery­thing in Lethal VR is so ef­fec­tive. While the Vive con­troller is an ex­cel­lent gun, it’s an abysmal throw­ing arm, and while there’s some slap­stick plea­sure to be had early on as you send a dozen throw­ing knives spi­ralling into the ether be­fore fi­nally land­ing one on the bulls­eye, things change as the chal­lenge ramps up, es­pe­cially when hit­ting the wrong type of tar­get in­stantly fails the level. Vive’s great­est as­set is its po­si­tional track­ing. That a game should in­tro­duce luck to the equa­tion is only ever go­ing to frus­trate.

Hap­pily, such mo­ments are the ex­cep­tion – and even thrown weaponry has its mo­ments, such as the bonus stage that asks you to use a ra­zor-tipped bowler hat to knock the heads from Re­nais­sance-era stat­ues. The struc­ture, split across short, quick­fire lev­els, means that the irk­some ones can be avoided once com­pleted, al­low­ing you to fo­cus on the more plea­sur­able stages, work­ing on per­fect rat­ings and im­prov­ing high scores. There’s noth­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary in Lethal VR, but it’s an ac­ces­si­ble, fre­quently en­joy­able show­case of what its host hard­ware is best at, let down only by the de­ci­sion to bring a knife to a gun­fight.

This early level shows, in rather ba­sic terms, the sort of quick de­ci­sions you’ll have to get used to mak­ing in Lethal VR. The red-coloured tar­gets are friendlies, and shoot­ing them means game over im­me­di­ately

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