RIGS: Mechanised Combat League
CoD meets Rocket League in VR
With so many of the PlayStation VR’s launch titles dedicated to limited experiences designed to guide the uninitiated in what to expect from this latest tech zeitgeist, it’s refreshing that Guerrilla Cambridge hasn’t forgotten that it won’t just be stereotypical mums and dads who are playing with the tech. There are also legions of hardcore gamers looking for extended and competitive gaming experiences.
From the dozen PlayStation VR titles I’ve tried, RIGS Mechanized Combat League is the one that’s most targeted at, for lack of a better phrase, “real” gamers. The pitch is part Rocket League and part Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, as two small teams battle across tight arenas in a sports-like shooter where the emphasis is on scoring points.
Unlike Rocket League, there isn’t a ball at play. Instead, the players themselves become the ball by destroying opponents and/or collecting their fallen orbs. Snatch up multiple kills or nab enough orbs, and your mech suit enters an overcharged mode, wherein you’re able to score a point by scaling the map and jumping through a giant hoop.
It sounds a bit silly, but in execution, it’s a fantastic mechanic that makes overcharged players priority targets for the other team which, in turn, means teammates need to employ shielding tactics to ensure their overcharged player can score. Despite having a crosshair painted on them, an overcharged player isn’t at a complete disadvantage. Entering overcharge also gifts that player with the simultaneous activation of Turbo (speed boost), Impact (extra damage), and Repair (health regeneration) features, which normally have to be switched between manually on the DualShock face buttons, and only one at a time.
In terms of the other controls, the sticks break down into what you’d expect from your average console FPS, with the left stick in charge of directional movement, and the right stick controlling orientation. This means the VR headset is used to fine-tune aiming, with concentric lasers from the two arm-mounted machine guns showing where your weapons are pointed. What I played was a little too automated on the aiming front, with the weapons locking on to an opponent as long as I kept my gaze close enough to an enemy player at all times.
Hopefully, that auto-aim is something that can be disabled in PvP modes for the final release to help lift the competitive potentiality and to boost player escapability. Aside from the guns, there’s also a handy dash-melee ability, that’s not only useful for finishing enemies, it’s also the best way to perform a replay-worthy defensive save as an overcharged opponent attempts to jump through the hoop to score.
I found the default speed of the mechs a bit on the sluggish side, especially when it came to turning around to face an opponent who had the drop on you, but that wasn’t enough to stop RIGS from being an impressive showcase of the competitive potential of a VR game on PlayStation VR. It’s also one that has the potential to defy the usual rightstick aiming limitations of your average console shooter.
With the right spit and polish, RIGS could well end up being a strong contender for the debut eSports VR title that can help lift the PlayStation VR beyond the emphasis on the accessibility of its launch titles and into the kind of longevity stratosphere that competitive titles enjoy.
THE PITCH IS PART ROCKET LEAGUE AND PART CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE, AS TWO SMALL TEAMS BATTLE ACROSS TIGHT ARENAS
Sadly, RIGS is in no way associated with Martin Riggs, protagonist of Lethal Weapons 1-4