Battlezone will be among the first PlayStation VR games you’ll be able to play when you plug your shiny new PlayStation VR headset into the PS4 this October. A new gameplay video shows the launch sequence for the ‘Cobra’ hover tank you’ll be piloting, and a glimpse of the environments in which you’ll do battle with your robotic foes.
The studio has created a colorful polygonal aesthetic for the game that really shines on PlayStation VR. The look of the world ties into the narrative premise that your character is using virtual reality to do battle inside of a computer system, not to mention a homage to the original Battlezone (1980) which is considered one of the first virtual reality arcade games.
Battlezone’s sliding & strafing hover-tank gameplay will set off red flags as a potentially nauseating experience in VR, but having played the game several times now, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was. The studio is of course using the cockpit paradigm which is well established as an effective way to create comfortable locomotion in VR.
The latest build of Battlezone includes a large detailed cockpit with a radar display in front of you. Instruments and panels inside show information like which weapon you’re selecting and how much ammo you have.
Just outside of the cockpit you can see the huge cannon mounted over your right shoulder, as it were, which is fixed horizontally but can be raised up and down in elevation to adjust the range of your shot. Changing weapons from the tank’s cannon to machine gun, you can see the large barrel on the right collapse back into the body of the tank while the gatling turret extends over your left shoulder outside the cockpit. Seeing these huge weapons gives a great sense of scale and the feeling like you’re powerful, agile, and deadly futuristic tank.
Battlezone’s controls are easy to learn and there’s definitely a sense of accomplishment when angling the mtain cannon just right to land a long range shot. The machine gun’s faster projectiles are great for smaller flying targets, especially the swarming drones that group up like a school of fish and will kamakazi if you don’t kill them fast enough.
The basic gameplay is easy enough to grasp and we’re looking to see how developer Rebellion looks to expand and deepen it. The obvious steps are more weapons and more enemies, though it remains to be seen if simply destroying everything in your path will be the sole objective or if there will be environmental challenges (like destroying a key building to open a door allowing you to progress further).
With no multiplayer modes yet announced, the studio is focusing on single player gameplay for Battlezone and they recently elaborated on how they are aiming to make it “endlessly playable.”