I always find it easy to get distracted in VR games, but when it’s part of the experience it provides you with the chance to let loose and take yourself less seriously.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a huge fan of the action movie genre. There’s something about high-octane chases and gunfights, when done properly, which just ticks all the right boxes and gets my heart racing. Throughout the glory days of the 80s and 90s, I was enthralled by the chaotic bloodshed of films which I probably shouldn’t have been watching (those were the days) and I became increasingly aware of the expert choreography which went into planning, directing and editing a truly magnificent shootout. After a film ended, just like pretty much every other kid, I would run around and re-enact my favorite scenes with my friends and carry makeshift weaponry made out of anything I could find lying around the house. Now, more years later than I would like to admit, the joys of virtual reality have brought my fantasies much closer to reality and the brilliant team over at SIE London have given us all the chance to step into our own cinematic experience and play the lead role.
Imagine a bold reimagining of all of your favorite gangster films and heist movies being played out by a talented supporting cast including Colin Salmon (who looks so real it’s actually quite unnerving to begin with) and you’ll have a decent idea of what to expect as you cruise through set-piece after set-piece to reach your goal. Whilst this does mean that there are some very predictable and cliché moments, you’ll probably just smile knowingly or laugh to yourself before cocking your shotgun and raising merry Hell. For this type of game, the familiarity of its scenarios is actually one of its strengths because it makes you respond instinctively to what’s happening around you. Scattered throughout each level are opportunities to interact in more ways than just slinging bullets about the place, so keep an eye out for some ingenious ways of passing the time.
From picking up crumpled bits of paper and attempting to throw it into a bin to flipping the bird at a bad guy before blasting him in the face, it’s clear that the team had a lot of fun in bringing their ideas to life. I always find it easy to get distracted in VR games, but when it’s part of the experience it provides you with the chance to let loose and take yourself less seriously. I think it adds a fair amount of replay value when you notice things which you can try next time through and the way that the world reacts to your actions is pretty impressive throughout. The same can be said for the actual shooting which makes up the bulk of your time in the game with a range of weapons which can be utilized however you see fit. Trying out different combinations in each scenario is a blast and there are lots of little secrets scattered around the game for you to find and put to good (or bad) use.
The shooting mechanic is weighty and accompanied by excellent sound design which means that you rarely break connection from the game and think about what you probably look like as you bob and weave around your living room or equivalent playing space. Pistols can be dual-wielded or held with both hands for a steadier aim, shotguns can be held and cocked in true action hero style and sniper rifles require you to bring both hands up as though you’re shouldering the full weight of it (okay, so you don’t have to do this but it’s irresistibly cool). In the heat of the moment there’s more than enough going on to keep you on your toes and it’s the sheer pace of the action which delivers such an engrossing experience – there are some parts of the game where it slows down and lets you try out some brilliant ways to use the Move Controllers (should you choose to use them – definitely better than playing with the Dualshock though) as you explore and interact with key story elements. You know that a VR game is good when you find yourself yelping with excitement or cursing a sudden explosion or burst of gunfire but there have been few titles which get you muttering under your breath as you attempt to defuse a bomb against a time limit.
Something which has divided players recently is the choice of movement controls in games of this type. While many games have opted for a teleporting mechanic to jump you from place to place, Blood and Truth instead uses an on-rails approach which is not dissimilar to the classic arcade light gun games like Time Crisis or Silent Scope. This means that you can often have limited control of how you get from A to B but this really just frees you up to focus on blowing the living crap out of the endless waves of enemies who stream into your line of sight almost constantly. This is a really good design choice, especially since there are moments when you gain more control or have the chance to choose when to move between cover points in the heat of the moment. Having seen the new foot-paddle controllers which offer more fluidity of movement in VR games there could be an argument for additional support to come later, however I think that this type of game could be completely ruined if they mess around with this aspect too much as you might miss key scripted moments by being in the wrong place or looking in the wrong direction. If you accept that this is a cinematic rollercoaster of an interactive experience and allow yourself to become immersed then you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Over the past couple of years there have been huge improvements in the quality and depth of VR experiences, but up until this point there have been few titles which have managed to combine the fluid and immersive mechanics with a quality of presentation which truly impresses. Blood and Truth delivers an incredibly polished experience with only a few minor flaws and any self-respecting player with a PSVR set-up owes it to themselves to get their hands on this by any means necessary (disclaimer: we in no way recommend that you take this literally). Funny, exhilarating and completely enthralling from start to finish, this is an absolute must-have not just for VR for the console as a whole.
Review by PSY 23
Images and Game play by THE GAMING WORLD