I am a massive fan of PSVR and the platform has really hit its stride in the last year or so. Its range of games is exceptional and a lot of the small experiences released early on have been fleshed out into full games. Things like Astro Bot and The Heist, which both started out as small experiences in the early life of PSVR went on to become fully fledged PSVR titles. It shows that the developers are now getting to grips with the medium and we, as the gamers are reaping the rewards.
On to Crisis VRigade then, which I knew nothing about until I was asked to review it. I watched a couple of videos and did a bit of research before I started and it looked average at best but as always, I go in with an open mind. It looked like a standard cover shooter but in VR and I would kill for a Time Crisis style VR title. That would be an absolute blast, wouldn’t it? I don’t think I am going to find that experience here but we can hope can’t we?
Crisis VRigade put you in the shoes of a SWAT team trying to foil a bank robbery. You are given seven minutes and must work your way through to the finish, killing barrel loads of enemies, clearing out criminal-filled areas and trying to survive. The game does look like a normal cover shooter and most of the time acts like one, I just found most of it quite bland and repetitive.
When you start playing you are not greeted with many options or modes, you can start on Rookie difficulty or Hell difficulty and have a scoreboard to keep track of your high scores. I started on Rookie and I can tell you now this game can be quite brutal. Sometimes I would take one shot and I was down, other times my screen would gain a red filter and taking cover would recover my health. This would be fine but restarting the game over and over got tedious and the game got repetitive very quickly. I did make it to the end but I only pushed through for the purpose of this review.
You start outside the bank and are armed with only a pistol. After you have dispatched all the enemies you move into the bank and start over. You do get different firearms to use which appear over the enemies head after you have vanquished them and hitting them with a bullet equips said weapon. These armaments however only have limited ammo and should be used sparingly. Headshots do more damage and enemies always appear in the same locations. A bit of variation in the areas would have been nice to keep things a bit more interesting, especially when you have to restart so often. That is basically all there is to it, shoot, don’t get shot and save the day.
Inbetween some of the areas you are given a choice, so the flow of the levels can change depending on your decision. The only issue is, as I mentioned earlier, the enemies never change position so after a couple of attempts everything gets monotonous and predictable. Every time you die you have to replay the same rooms, with the same enemy layout and it’s all very uninspired. Even though you have a choice of route to take, what’s within those routes is static and insipid.
Graphically the game is average, it’s graphical style is one that a lot of games, especially VR games, use at the moment. Cartoony, blocky characters with bold graphics, colouring and textures. It’s fine but I feel a bit more could have gone into it to make it stand out and look unique. However, everything is sharp and nothing gets lost in the low resolution of the VR screen, which is nice to see. The soundtrack and sound effects in CrisisVrigade are good, nothing mind blowing but its sufficient. Gun sounds are accurate sounding and the games sound does a good enough job of keeping you immersed in its VR world. Even though the sound design was fine, it was never remarkable or unique in any way.
Performance-wise the game was just about perfect, no hiccups, crashes, graphical error or framerate issues. The only issue I had was in one area I had to literally crawl on my living room floor to avoid getting shot, it seemed like there was zero cover to hide behind and I died a lot in this area. The desk present at the time was too low to hide behind so I was on all fours firing over it, comical to see but slightly irksome.
I wanted Crisis VRigade to be the VR Time Crisis I have always wanted, unfortunately, it wasn’t. It’s not terrible, it’s just very repetitive and bland. Dying often, sometimes from one shot gets old, fast. Especially when you have to trudge through the same rooms with identical enemy layout every time, it’s too predictable and static. I am not one for shying away from difficult games, I do love a challenging game but this title sometimes felt somewhat unfair and the gameplay was not enjoyable enough to work through it. Just a simple thing like random enemy placements would have made a vast difference to the many runs through the bank. After my first playthrough, I felt no need to try and beat my high score or try the Hell difficulty. I just felt my time would be better spent in other VR games that showed how good the medium can be. The game is very short and light on features or modes but luckily it’s not very expensive. I find it hard to recommend this game to anyone due to its lack of redeemable qualities, it’s not a bad game it just lacks personality or imagination.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*