I haven’t used my PlayStation VR headset much since I reviewed Supermassive Games’ The Inpatient back in January, so it only seems fitting that my latest review would be the next installment from that same developer, the first-person VR shooter Bravo Team.
First-person shooters in virtual reality are something I’ve dreamed of as a gamer. It’s a way to immerse myself in a battle, look down the barrel of my gun and actually aim and fire like I would in real life. Nothing is more immersive than that, right? Third-person person games are great in VR, but there’s something about being there in the heat of battle and having to actually rely on your skill with the weapon rather than your aptitude for the thumb sticks.
Bravo Team can be played with either the DS4 controller, PS Move wands or the VR Aim Controller. Wanting the full experience, I opted for the aim controller and got ready to dig in.
What followed was somewhat of a disappointment. Let me break it down for you.
In Bravo Team, you start out transporting a female dignitary through what appears to be a war-torn middle-eastern city. We get the feeling that “it’s all done but the celebrating” when all of a sudden she’s taken and you’re left stranded to fight your way through this fictional city to try and rescue her. This sounds like it should be a good – albeit basic – premise to let us loose and really take advantage of this VR shooter world.
But in a game that is supposed to be immersive, there are so many things that draw you out of it. In Bravo Team, you can’t move freely around the levels, but you can use cover points that you snap to (think Time Crisis), allowing you to move from point to point throughout. The problem here is that when you aim at new cover and push the button to move there, you’re immediately locked on a third-person static camera that watches your player get up and move to the next cover spot, then thrusts you back into their viewpoint again. And it happens every time you move. HUNDREDS of times. It destroys any immersion that the scene has built so far. There are even times when the camera – instead of watching your character move to the next cover – will turn you the other way and make you stare at a wall, making your snap to the first-person view even more jarring when you finally reach your new spot.
You can also peek around and reach over these cover points to fire at enemies. But here’s the second major issue: Bravo Team is a title that demands precision shooting, but the shooting never feels really tight – even sloppy at times. Add the unconvincing enemy reactions to being shot to the mix and you’ve got a really unsatisfying experience that feels even more like a missed opportunity when you compare it to games of the same type like Farpoint, released not that long ago. The levels are empty, there’s not much variety in the gameplay (shoot, move, open crate, repeat) and the constant grey and brown colors are so drab the game can actually get depressing at times.
The graphics are average and there is very little interaction with anything other than enemies in the world around you. You can shoot car windows but can’t shoot plants, for example. Little things like this, while seemingly small, can really break the immersion. The AI was pretty awful as well as enemies would often ignore that I was right next to them, crouching right next to me and allowing me to just turn and shoot them. My teammates would make questionable decisions, including at times even running through solid walls and sometimes even into open rooms of enemies. The scale of Bravo Team is also really… off. You feel gigantic which – now that I think of it – was an issue I had with The Inpatient as well. Other first-person VR experiences like Resident Evil 7 felt much better, where you felt like you were appropriately sized compared to your actual body. I don’t know where the disconnect is here, but it’s definitely something that Supermassive needs to address in upcoming titles.
All told, Bravo Team wasn’t all that enjoyable and I wouldn’t spend your hard-earned money on it. It’s a mediocre shooter with immersion-breaking flaws – which for a VR first-person shooter, makes it really hard to recommend.
Have you played it? Am I way off? Let us know in the comments!