Ever since the early days of PSVR, fans have been hoping for games like Counter Strike or Rainbow Six—the sort of team-based shooters most gamers are familiar with one way or the other, be it on PC or console. Now First Contact Entertainment, the studio behind VR shooter ROM: Extraction (2016), have set their sights on the multiplayer, objective-based shooter genre; what I experienced at E3 2018 has not only shown that the four vs four shooter checks all the right boxes, but it does it with the sort of immersion PSVR players have been waiting for.
Standing with my PS Aim and a PSVR headset, I strapped into the four vs. four match of a classic attack/defend mission. The map was a sprawling open-plan office space, not unlike what you’d find only a few yards away from the convention floor in downtown LA where E3 takes place.
Picking one of the 12 characters – a nondescript white guy with a beard (so basically me), I was first assigned the role of attacker. Starting the match, my three other teammates and I were tossed into the far-side of the map with a few objectives to complete. We had to locate a secret document which would then reveal the coordinates of multiple sites. Killing the other team is predictably the best way to complete these objectives unabated.
There were only three standard loadouts available in the demo: a 5.56 caliber G36K assault rifle, a 12 gauge pistol-grip shotgun, and a silenced 9MM MP5 submachine gun. For the demo, each class had its own locked-in secondary weapon (a pistol) and plenty of extra gubbins such as smoke bombs, flash bangs, and frag grenades, although I was told the final game will feature plenty of opportunity to customize loadouts.
Firefights are definitely familiar in respect to traditional shooters, although having the extra latitude to aim down the red dot sight of the assault rifle in my hands, physically peer around corners, and burp out a smoke grenade for cover is really the satisfying and immersive parts I’m more used to in the many PC VR shooters I’ve played like Onward or Pavlov.
The headset’s integrated mic also means you’re able to talk naturally and coordinate with your teammates so you can divvy up areas and lay down suppressing fire. You’re always in contact with your teammates no matter where they are, although thanks to spatial audio you always have some idea of where they are relative to your position, even when they’re obscured by walls.
Getting a chance to play defense, we decided to first locate the other team’s objective, and hide in there waiting for them. As soon as they opened the door, well, we all died when they tossed in grenades and shot the holy hell out of us. But it was a fun tactic to try out to say the least.
The game’s locomotion scheme combines smooth forward motion with snap-turning, although I saw there’s also a smooth-turn option available for users less susceptible to artificial locomotion-induced nausea.
According to the First Contact, there will be nine maps in total at launch, which are set in Russia, the UK and the Middle East.
As a side note: the game also supports DualShock 4, although the demo was presented with Aim, which was a much more immersive that it would otherwise be on gamepad. If you have a PSVR and haven’t bought an Aim controller yet, this may just be the game that pushes you to shell out the 80 bucks—a steep price for sure, but something I’d consider crucial to maximizing immersion in Firewall Zero Hour.
The game is slated to arrive on PSVR sometime in 2018.