REVIEW: LETHAL VR

The golden era of home light gun games such as Time Crisis and Point Blank are long gone, mainly due to CRT’s going the wayside in the favour of HDTV’s, which can’t support the same technology. Motion controls kind of worked on the Wii for shooting, but it never quite got there. Now we have the HTC Vive, along with motion controls, complete immersion and room scale technology, and a new wave of shooting games go to along with the experience. Enter Three Field Entertainment, a company created of ex Burnout developers, working with Team 17, the guys most famous for bringing Worms and Lemmings into the world. They’ve created a shooting gallery for the HTC Vive called Lethal VR. Does it bring the same style of arcade fun that the light gun arcade era greats did, or does it fall into the pile of all the other shooting VR games on Steam?

This is a shooting gallery first and foremost. Point gun, pull trigger, hit target. Rinse and repeat. It’s pure in its execution of the genre, doing away with the likes of zombies that seem to be so popular in other wave shooting games on the Vive, and going instead for basic targets and objects. Your methods of attacking change depending on which of the 30+ levels you’re playing on, each of which are only a minute or so at most long, with their own local scoreboards. Some give you a basic pistol and have you quick draw from your hip to shoot stationary targets, and then later ones give you a Crocodile Dundee style knife and have you throw it at moving cutouts holding hostages. The weapon variety and level variations are definitely one of the games strong points.

lethal-1

The simplicity of the game can also be seen as one of its downfalls. For a team consisting of this combination of Burnout and Worms developers, the game as a whole seems a bit tame and mundane. No wacky stuff, nothing out of the ordinary or breaking any moulds, just a simple shooting gallery with targets. Not bringing anything new or different to a shooting genre that is very busy on the Vive right now. This is their first foray into VR though, so hopefully this is just baby steps towards something bigger in the future. Another small annoyance is the reloading mechanic, which is bound to the grip button on the controllers. It allows for the reloading to be simple, but when aiming carefully it allows for the button to be pressed accidentally, which is irritating.

There are some bigger problems which the game suffers from though. Throwing knives seem either inconsistent, or the game doesn’t explain well how you’re supposed to do it. A look around on the Steam user forums seem to show that lots of other players are having similar issues, so it doesn’t seem like a one-off issue. The other one seems to stem from how some of the levels are setup. Some have fixed walls that come down, and offer limited viewpoints to shoot though, which in concept is fine. But on more than one occasion, it looked like the targets had not spawned and maybe the game had crashed. Turned out that they were there, but in order to shoot and even see them, traversal outside of the chaperone bounds, the area you map out for the room scale, was needed. It seems that the game needs a bigger room scale size than the minimum that Steam VR works on, but the store page doesn’t specify anything like that. Or maybe rescale the room that spawns in within the game.

lethal-2

It’s a shame that this game has these kind of problems, because outside of them the game has a great level of polish, looks very clean and is good fun to play. The different weapons are fun to use, the galleries have a good amount of variety and challenge to them, and it’s a great game for introducing people into the world of VR. It’s a good start for Three Field Entertainment’s entry into VR, and maybe with some patching and fixing it could be a great little game and a springboard for whatever else they create going forward.

Rating: 6.5/10

+ Simplistic, well executed and fun gameplay

+ Level variety

– Knife throwing problems

– Boundary issues

– Doesn’t bring anything new to the table

TONY DAVIES

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