Those looking for a FPS for the HTC Vive, have plenty to choose from. Despite this, developer Game Troopers is still able to rise above most competitors with Overkill VR!
The more senior console gamers among us will probably remember the light gun. Thanks to technology akin to magic, a plastic gun allowed you to accurately shoot things on your screen. It was great! As a 12-year-old I received my first light gun in the form of the Namco G-Con 45, which came bundled with Time Crisis for the original PlayStation. It was up to you to shoot wave after wave of enemies, while taking cover between bursts was vital. There was no story to speak of, but that didn’t matter; the experience was like no other! Unfortunately the genre died off due to the rise of flat-screen TVs, which are incompatible with the technology light guns used. As such, I expected to never experience again the unique and exciting experience that games like Time Crisis offered. I could not have been more wrong!
Surprisingly accurate, realistic and overall impressive
In Overkill VR, developed by the Spanish Game Troopers, you are the leader of the resistance, a group of rebels who fight the system ruled by The Faction. Between missions and in menus you spend time in the resistance’s headquarters, and every now and then you hear your fellow fighters over the radio, but other than that you don’t get the feeling of being part of a larger narrative. However, the game is still in early access and the developer expects to add a lot of additional content in the coming five to seven months. Ultimately, buyers can expect five additional zones, each consisting of several levels. We expect the story will be fleshed out further as well.
What Overkill VR currently lacks in narrative, is more than compensated for in gameplay. Armed with a number of firearms, you travel from zone to zone while attempting to survive The Faction’s ambushes. Unlike in other VR shooters, a steady aim alone is insufficient. In order to survive, you have to take cover behind sandbags and walls while waiting for the right opportunity to return fire. This is especially the case early on, when you are only equiped with the starting weapons with limited firepower. Although Overkill VR determines which object will provide you cover, it is up to you how to use this cover; Overkill VR makes full use of room-scale technology. When you crouch, your avatar crouches. When you peek around the corner, your avatar will do the same. It is even possible to stick your weapon through a small opening in your cover position. Although we have seen room-scale in other VR shooters, the manner in which Game Troopers has implemented this technology is surprisingly accurate, realistic and overall impressive. The result is that you will be able to employ tactics that have never been possible before in video games!
No laserguns or crossbows
The remaining controls are both intuitive and solid. Your right hand holds your weapon, your left hand provides a holographic display with your health and armour. The grip buttons are for reloading and switching weapons. If you move your left hand to your gun stock, you suddenly find yourself holding your gun with both hands, providing you with increased accuracy. The starting weapons offer significantly less firepower and ammunition, forcing you to make each shot count. Fortunately the accuracy of the gunsights is high and it is possible to cleverly make use of your cover positions.
Another area in which Overkill VR is able to distinguish itself from VR-shooters that came before, is in the weapons on offer. No laserpistols or crossbows, but MP5s and Desert Eagles. By completing zones and taking out enemies as effectively as possible, you collect cash. This allows you to not only purchase new weapons in your headquarters, but also gives you access to an extensive system of weapon upgrades. These upgrades are more than cosmetical. After several upgrades, your weapons will feel and behave differently. These differences will also translate themselves to the feeling of recoil in your controller.
The graphics are currently a mixed bag. It is clear that a lot of effort and attention went into recreating the firearms, as each engraving and screw is rendered in detail. The same goes for the reloading animations, which enforce the feeling that you’re not handling a toy gun. Objects in the environment can at times, however, have textures of a lower resolution. This is most noticeable when you take cover behind one of these objects. It does not detract from the experience and it never breaks immersion, but we could not help notice it in contrast with the weapons. We will keep in mind, however, that the game is in early access and still has five to seven months of development left to go. On the other hand, the environments are clearly compiled with care and attention to detail. Varying from unique graffiti and other tiny details, to interactive items that react when you shoot them. Visual effects such as explosions and the occasional lens flare also deserve a positive mention.
With Overkill VR, Game Troopers seems to be delivering a VR-shooter that dares to be different. This allows it to rise above most of its competition. By making maximum use of room-scale technology for the cover system, Overkill VR offers experiences and possibilities that previously seemed impossible in either FPS or light gun games, irrespective of the platform. The wide and reality-based arsenal of weaponry and the possibility for weapons upgrades is the proverbial icing on the cake. As said, Overkill VR will be in early access (and in development) for the coming five to seven months. We look forward to the first update!
EDIT: Overkill VR has also become available for Oculus Rift, but only when used with the Oculus Touch motion controllers.
VR-NEWS.nu has received a Steam download copy from the developer in order to write this review.