Slated to arrive on all major VR headsets later this month, The Light Brigade is well positioned to make a name among the top VR roguelikes, as it follows most visibly in the footsteps of bowshooter In Death (2018) in all the right ways. In our hands-on, we got to see just how Light Brigade is setting itself apart though with a strong focus on an array of realistic WWII-era weapons and magical upgrades galore.

Coming February 22nd, The Light Brigade is the latest VR title from Funktronic Labs, the team behind Fujii (2019) and Cosmic Trip (2017). With a few hours of Quest 2 gameplay under my belt, I can say that The Light Brigade is certainly something to watch out for when it lands on PSVR 2, PSVR, Quest 2, and SteamVR headsets in the next two weeks.

Although The Light Brigade isn’t related to the award-winning roguelike bowshooter—In Death was developed by Sólfar Studios and Superbright—there are more than a few comparisons here to make. The Light Brigade similarly features a high degree of visual polish, well-realized enemy classes, and a fun array of weapons that make you really second guess stepping out from behind cover.

It’s also culty as all hell, as you battle it out as an acolyte warrior of light on a quest to pry the world from the grasps of the (totally not Nazi-inspired) Obsidian Forces.

What the hell does that all mean? I can’t say just yet, but it all ends up feeling like a cool mix of World War-inspired trench warfare mixed in with a heaping dose of medieval-style religious quackery and magic.

The Light Brigade tosses a smorgasbord of realistic weapons your way, all of which require a deft hand at manually reloading in the middle of a firefight. You’ll get your hands on rifles and pistols, all of which are upgradeable. Besides the Mauser C96 (aka ‘Broomhandle Mauser’), most everything is what you’d consider WWII standard stuff, including Gewehr 43, Sturmgewehr 44, Colt 1911, M3 submachine gun (aka ‘grease gun’), and Nambu Pistol Model 14. Guns have a virtual weight to them too, so you won’t be waggling around a 10-pound rifle or running too fast either when you’re supporting the gun with your non-dominant hand.

Each gun has three upgradeable power levels, which also let you tack on things like red dot scopes and powerful trinkets that allow you to charge and execute special shots. There are also so mini potato masher-style grenades, health kits, and interesting tools like deployable decoys which draw enemy fire away from you.

You’ll have to grind it out to level up each gun, which usually means sticking with the corresponding class long enough to generate points to sink into upgrades. The game’s actual difficulty seems to scale relative to your weapon’s current upgrade level, giving you more and different baddies to encounter as you head back in after your inevitable death—although that’s a bit of speculation on my side. There are two user-selectable difficulty levels though should things get too tough, ‘Arcade’ and ‘Realistic’.

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Levels start out fairly small in size, although all of them encourage exploration thanks to the important items that can be found around every corner, such as the game’s tarot card upgrades that you’ll find in glittering chests. These buffs stay in effect for your entire run, and are automatically applied when you choose one of the three presented to you from each chest.

Image courtesy Funktronic Labs

My typical level run goes more or less like this: kill every enemy in the level, comb the entire level again for lootable chests and other goodies, and then summarily step into a trap, like the sort of couter-weighted log traps Arnold Schwarzenegger tangoed with in the original Predator (1987), or even a simple bear trap.

Once I’ve dusted off my stupidity, it’s time to head to the level gate, which requires you to bring your hands together in prayer to activate—a really cool and immersive touch. There are level bosses, although I only ever made it to the first, which I won’t spoil for your here.

Image courtesy Funktronic Labs

Meanwhile, I’ll be playing a lot more of The Light Brigade’s and reserving my thoughts on game mechanics and immersion for the full review later this month. Still, it’s safe to say I really enjoyed the entire vibe.

One thing to note is that Funktronic Labs included a good number of comfort modes, including smooth turn, variable snap-turn, smooth locomotion, and teleportation. Currently, the game’s inventory system includes a hip-mounted holster, which can be difficult to access whilst seated, making standing gameplay recommended at the time of this writing. We’ll have more info in our deep dive review when the game launches on February 22nd.

In the meantime, you can wishlist the game on Steam (PC VR), pre-order on PSVR 2 and PSVR, and pre-order on Quest 2—priced at $25. Also, in case you missed out on the announce trailer, take a gander below:

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Runesr2

    More phoneVR with shiny surfaces for PCVR and PSVR2 – but poly count and number of opponents are trimmed down to what the Adreno 650 phone gpu can handle (Adreno 650 is the gpu in the Quest 2’s XR2 SoC).
    When supporting phoneVR you’ll get more phoneVR, so vote with your wallet.

    • Derek Kent

      Yup. getting pretty sick of this ‘style’ (lack of style)

      • NL_VR

        Gameplay is everything.
        I think many people on these boards dont even play lots of VR games.

        • Rosko

          Gameplay looks rubbish as well as looking like dog turd.

          • NL_VR

            Gameplay is great, addictively fun game.
            I have played the beta.

          • Simplex

            So the game looks like you? Weird.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, to be honest, I also like the art-style, for me it doesn’t have to be ultra realistic. As long as the gameplay is fun and it all runs smooth, I don’t really care. But ofcourse, also having some games with much more detailed graphics would be great, but the problem is, a lot of people don’t have the GPU’s to drive their newer headsets with smooth framerates, so the group that can actually run those games is very small, and that’s not gonna recoup your money as a developer as the extra detail also costs a lot of extra development time.

      • Ookami

        Yeah, graphics are overrated. I was more immersed playing Job Simulator than I was exploring HLA-themed Steamvr homes. Give me a world where you can interact with everything over one that just looks good.

        • ViRGiN

          No way you have thought that valve metaverse with Rayman hands could be potentially immersive. But it does remind me of valve giving exclusive access to hla homes only to index owners.

          • Ookami

            The HLA-themed homes are not exclusive. I don’t own an Index.
            cope

          • ViRGiN

            Not anymore. Been exclusive at launch, but it’s not wise to mention valves exclusives.

          • Ookami

            Stop being so obsessed with Valve, man.

          • ViRGiN

            In valve we disgust

          • Ookami

            I think those copium side-effects are starting show, bud. Might want to go easy on that stuff.

    • Cl

      I think graphics will matter more when we get higher resolution screens. I remember playing fallout 4, it’s a good looking game, but when I played it on vive it looked worse than those low poly games. Haven’t tried it again on my quest, but I will when I get pimax crystal.

  • Octogod

    Interesting idea and fun looking gameplay!

    Only gripe is that the voiceover is pretty weak.

  • Foreign Devil

    Can you post an article about how certain PSVR2 games can outperform a 3090 Nvidia loaded PC . . despite said video card costing more than PS and VR combined?

    • Tommy

      Sure, but you do know that they are closing in on the 5k series and that the 3090 is 3 years old?
      However, I’m still impressed by what that foveated eye tracking can do. Pretty amazing.

      • Ookami

        I think it’s also the fact that PCs have more bloat: Windows, WMR/Oculus/Steamvr etc.
        A gaming console, in contrast is designed for one thing, so it can be more efficient.

      • Simplex

        “they are closing in on the 5k series”
        FALSE: 4k series was just released, 5k series is years away.

        “the 3090 is 3 years old”

        FALSE: Pavlov devs said it beats 3090Ti, a card released end of March 2022 so less than a year ago.
        Even a 3090 was released September 2020, so also not 3 years ago, actually less than 2,5 years ago.

    • ViRGiN

      Don’t take anything pavlov developer says as truth

      • Peter vasseur

        Yeah but we should believe you, who think resolution equals power. The fact is the os5 runs better than a 3090ti card that cost 1k. Don’t be mad because your junk quest 2 is at the back of the vr buss.

        • ViRGiN

          Stop getting triggered you pcvr bafoon. You ain’t getting any games.

          • Peter vasseur

            Do you even know how to read? I clearly claimed I’m a psvr user. Any every game that comes to your junk quest 2 comes to pcvr. Every game comparison shows your version is the weakest most low budget. No need to really do anything because your doing a good enough job discrediting yourself with your ignorant comments.

          • ViRGiN

            You clearly know how to project, cause i didn’t say word about quest.

          • Peter vasseur

            Not in this thread.

          • Thud

            What percentage of your comments do you think are about the Quest or how another headset compares to the Quest? Not a fanboy my ass.

          • Jonathan Winters III

            Don’t fall for this “virgin” troll. He exists as an agitator, merely to piss people off here.

          • Peter vasseur

            Yeah I know but I’m not pissed I’m just trying to make sure the people that don’t know he’s a troll, realize it’s when I make him look stupid with his own comments. People like him are a cancer and I’m the cure. They stop people who are on the fence From adopting tech because of his ignorance/statements. I will bash him every time he says something stupid.

          • Thud

            Bafoon? You should really buy a dictionary so you don’t look so completely stupid when you start throwing around infantile fanboy insults.

  • Tommy

    Looks mediocre.

    • ViRGiN

      Very

    • Jonathan Winters III

      Maybe you and virgin should get together and do a better game. No? Didn’t think so.

      • Tommy

        Um yeah, ok.
        Is is not ok to voice opinions about games anymore?
        I see plenty of games coming out that look good to me. This just isn’t one of them.
        Is that ok? No? Then eat a dick.

      • Alexander Sears

        I’d say the fact that ViRGiN is being referenced by name, in addition to the fact that I took the time to properly capitalize their name, is evidence that the curse is working!

  • NL_VR

    People who tryed this say it’s really good.
    You get hooked like in death unchained etc

  • I love InDeath: Unchained, so I guess I will love this, too

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Ah – the description instantly reminds me of Return to Castle Wolfenstein – WWII with magic overvibes. Looking forward to it. Incidentally, the PCVR version has all the enhancements you’d expect (lighting, resolution etc), rather than just a Quest 2 port.