FIREWALL: ZERO HOUR
Virtual reality, with its unique depth of immersion, has the potential to produce beautifully emotional experiences; moments that speak to the vulnerability of the human condition. It also allows you to shoot people in their virtual faces. This game takes the latter approach, and let’s face it, that’s what many of us have dreamed of since PS VR was first announced. Is this The Game that we’ve been waiting for? The answer, it seems, is “yes, but”. First of all, it’s important to realise that you must play using a PS Aim controller. PS Move isn’t supported, and while there’s a DualShock option, it feels awkward thanks to relying on motion controls rather than a traditional FPS setup. A joypad does the job, but only provides half the experience.
It’s no surprise, then, that every single person I play alongside seems to be using PS Aim. The controller could have been designed specifically for FZH. Pulling it up to head height to aim down the sight is vital in most situations, and scoring a kill by extending your arm to fire blindly around a corner is a rare but thrilling delight. PS Aim implementation in certain games has been fudged, but here it works like a particularly violent dream.
HACK AND FORTH
There’s just one game mode. One team of four has to disable a firewall via one of two access points, then hack a laptop; the other team has to stop them. Simple. The experience would feel lacking in a nonVR game, but as it is it offers welcome focus, and prevents the small but dedicated online community from being split across multiple modes.
It’s just as well things are easy to pick up, as the hopeless tutorial teaches you nothing that you can’t learn within 30 seconds of your first match. Things it’s important to understand (such as the fact that doors, glass, and even the thin wooden walls in the Shoot House map are magically bulletproof) are discovered through trial and error. Customisation options dangled in front of you will see drool join the headset-induced-sweat on your VR-playing visage. Until, that is, it becomes apparent that the best skills, weapons, and attachments are locked behind unreasonably high level requirements.
There are a few disappointments then, which for me were compounded by the occasional lost connection during the lobby stage. A few more maps would be welcome, too. Nonetheless, each match provides unique stories to tell. Holding an actual gun (well, gun-shaped controller) means that kills (usually) require real skill-and-calm-demanding aiming. When you die, you gain access to the map’s cameras, and therefore the ability to provide crucial intel to the survivors. You’re never left twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next match – and you’ll find that next match can never come soon enough.
“HOLDING AN ACTUAL GUN IN YOUR HANDS MEANS THAT KILLS REQUIRE REAL AIMING.”
Communication is vital. Fortunately, players tend to be both chatty and friendly.
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