Growing up in the 70's and early 80's, we didn't have consoles, PC's, or the internet to keep us entertained, but what we did have was great television shows, and one of the most popular genres of the time was the good old gritty cop show, with such greats as Starsky & Hutch, Miami Vice, The Sweeney, and The Professionals, keeping us thrilled and entertained each night from the comfort and safety of our living rooms. Then came home video, and along with it iconic 80's cop movies for us to watch over and over again, such as the brilliant Lethal Weapon series, the Beverley Hills Cop series, and many more to follow. It is no wonder then that when I first saw an early YouTube video of a game described as a 'buddy cop' game with a retro vibe, I immediately got excited, wondering could this be the game that finally lets me act out my Dirty Harry fantasies, giving me the big gun, the shiny badge, and all the swagger of a true 80's cop hero that I'd always dreamed of becoming? Well, it gets pretty close, and it has instantly become my favourite shooter to play in VR.
Now I don't want to spoil the party, but lets get the worst thing out of the way first, as it was really just one thing, and it actually isn't a massive deal, and that was the menu system. It kind of felt like the developer had put it aside until last, and then forgotten to bother with it at all, and it was the only real thing to mar the overall experience for me. You start the tutorial from an option on the wall, which was plain to see, so you'd figure that is where you'd start the first mission from, but no, the option for that was hidden away behind some small letters in a big red book on the desk. However, like I said it is not a major issue, but if anything at all needs a bit or reworking I feel it is this. Also, when you fail a mission the option to retry or quit should pop up automatically, but it doesn't. You have to remember which button to press to bring up the option, and then when you do it is a small clumsy system and often takes more than one attempt to click, adding just a little bit of unecessary frustration to the gameplay I feel.
Apart from that however, everything pretty much exceeded all my expectations, and then some, from the brilliant arm-swinging locomotion system, down to weapon handling and issuing orders to your buddy and the bad guys, everything just felt so right and was so well implemented, which makes it all the more mind-blowing that this is the devs first game and was initially just a passion project he started around 18 months before launch, teaching himself Unity and Blender along the way. Crazy! He obviously has a gift for this sort of thing and is one to keep an eye on in the future.
GRAPHICS AND DONUTS
The game starts you off in a typical looking cops office, with case files scattered over cluttered desks, and the smell of smoke, coffee and warm donuts hanging in the air. Well OK we can't smell in VR yet, but if we could that is exactly what you'd smell, as the office looks as authentic as it could be, and the developer has done an extremely impressive job with the graphics throughout the whole of the game, from the main character design and that of the bad guys, right down to the decor and fun posters adorning the cop station walls, it's all incredibly well done. Let me mention too if you haven't seen the game already, that the graphics are of the low poly variety, but those low poly graphics are really what gives the game a big part of its unique flavour and character. Some people think that graphics have to be super realistic to be properly immersive in VR, but I totally disagree. In fact, some of the most immersive games I have played in VR are low poly in style, and my first real sense of 'total presence' was felt in the fantastic wave shooter 'Thirst' and again in the excellent 'Vertigo', both of which went for low poly style graphics. Having low poly also helps lower end machines (like mine) keep the framerate nice and high for a smooth performance and this has a bigger impact on immersion than any amount of fine detail or super-realistic textures.
MUSIC AND SOUND
I never noticed anything out of place with the sounds, and in fact some of them were ear-shatteringly great, such as when you shoot out a pane of glass (I found this quite addictive), or a flash bang goes off in your vicinity - sounds throughout the games were very well done and very authentic.
VOICE AND TACTICS
Pre-recorded voice commands are a huge feature in this game, from dishing out orders for your buddy to follow, such as 'Kick, flash, clear' which was the one I used the most, and when activated, your NPC buddy would acknowledge the request and follow the order through in a very realistic and natural looking way, and throughout my hour or so of playtime, there were no awkward getting stuck moments for him, or glitching out (which I half expected), just perfectly timed and animated movements as he followed my instructions to a tee, making me really feel a sense of teamwork between the both of us as we tried to keep eachother alive the best we could. This allowed for some extremely satisfying tactical play too, such as when your buddy begins his actions, it makes him the perfect decoy for you to then let loose a hail of bullets from a different direction, such as through a side window for instance, making short work of clearing the bad guys from a downstairs room.
Talking of bad guys, they are no pushover and you'll want to take things very carefully, as one simple mistake will see either you or your buddy killed and will often result in a failed mission, at which point you have to start the mission from the very beginning, which can get a tad frustrating but it never gets tiresome as it feels different every time.
I never completed the first mission, I almost did but not quite, and so I can't comment on any other part of the game apart from the excellent first mission and also the beginning tutorial which was entertaining in itself and thoroughly enjoyable. All I know is I can't wait to play more of this fantastic and often exhilarating game, as it is the closest I have got to literally becoming that badass cop I dreamt of being all those years ago. A brilliant game and one I can wholeheartedly recommend.
The most fun I've had with any shooter in VR