Battlezone is the VR game that beat me, and it gives me hope for VR
October 27, 2016 // 5:19 p.m.
When I first started playing around with virtual reality, I found many of the experiences were bitty, small experiences that didn't require much in the way of skill, and that I could easily meander through from start to finish with little effort or consequence. In many of the demos, damage was either impossible or turned off for the sake of the demo.
Maybe this is why the first time I played it, I thought I was the king of Battlezone, a shiny tank warrior and saviour of the human race: It turns out that they'd actually just turned off the damage in my first play-test. As a result, I was eager to play the game on the PSVR with friends.
Battlezone is completely kicking my arse. Where previously I'd described the game as a tank-based Doom, it now feels more like Dark Souls. Death is frequent, brutal and from all sides, and when you run out of your allocated lives, you're dumped mercilessly back to the main screen.
FTL is an obvious influence on the game, with the way you meander across the map getting into random scuffles and bouncing between shops and shield generators.
Well, shops and shield generators located in the first quarter of the game. I don't even know what the final levels look like, but I've no doubt it's teeming with red neon monsters hunting down and kicking the hell out of any players daring to test their mettle towards the end game. It's always sudden, too. I'll always be doing fantastically and then I'll get my wings clipped suddenly by an unexpected challenge. I often think, 'This is the time I'll finally cross the finish line!', before immediately getting thrown into a battle for survival that's quickly lost.
But I'm into it. Every time I lose I'm shown the scant rewards I've gathered - Artillery MK3, or single lock-on missiles (MK5), for example - weapons I might be able to use in the future if I'm good enough to earn the cash to get them in-game.
Battlezone is largely good because it shows that we can have all sorts of different games in virtual reality now. Not just experiences or multiplayer shooters, but a hard-as-nails co-op tank battler that genuinely has me hollering with frustration as I'm overcome again and again. Even so, it remains the PlayStation VR game I keep coming back to because I always feel like I'm getting slightly further.
For all of the people complaining that VR is all tech demos and no games, this is a great example of a complete, rounded game that just happens to need a virtual reality headset. I just wish it'd stop wrecking me.