There’s something extremely hypnotic about shooting things in games. Since the inception of arcade games through to Duck Hunt and modern shooters – there’s just something that’s immensely fun about shooting pixels. How is it then possible for a game to get it so wrong in a VR world?
We’ve all been waiting for that special shooter to arrive for VR. First it was Farpoint, which came with promise, and next it is Bravo Team that has exclusively been developed for the PS4 by the team who brought you Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, Supermassive Games. Bravo Team has a simple plot at hand. While on your way to a meeting in a convoy you and your team are ambushed and the president is captured. It’s up to you to rescue the president. That’s as deep and as interesting as the story is going to get. From here on in it’s a bullet to the head one sentence at a time.
Bravo Team expects you to fight against all the odds in a two-man team where the focus is solely on you understanding squad gestures and shooting anything that moves. In total, you have seven stages to complete, including (in that total) a simple prologue level where you experience the “traumatic” events of the president being kidnapped. You have the option of being either male or female, choosing one of three faces and you can then jump right into the action. Wait, no, first you need to select what game mode you’re going to play – online partner, friend partner or AI partner. Unfortunately at the time of reviewing I could not find anyone online to play with, so it reverted to an AI partner by default. Select your difficulty level and prepare yourself for gestures.
Bravo Team is a glorified cover-based light gun shooter based in a VR world.
You have two methods of playing Bravo Team – firstly is the suggested PSVR aim controller or your trusty Dualshock 4. Holding the aim controller and aiming down the sight to pop heads is definitely entertaining and brings a sense of realism, but I would lie if I said that the Dualshock 4 did not play better with fewer glitches. I had to restart the game several times as my aim controller was bouncing all over the show and having difficulty keeping up with the action, making it just about impossible to shoot anyone, whereas the Dualshock 4 behaved itself. It’s also important that you go to the settings and change ‘movement selection’ from the default ‘gun-based’ to ‘head-based’. This allows you to decide where you will be running for cover using your head, instead of trying to aimlessly aim your gun. After all, Bravo Team is a glorified cover-based light gun shooter based in a VR world. The concept is to move forward bit-by-bit by moving from one cover point to the next. Press a button to come out of cover and shoot everything, move forward, repeat. Unfortunately, you have to keep track of your AI partner who might be on his or her own little mission. The analogue stick is used to gesture orders. Press up to have him or her move forward, press down to have the AI stop, tap left to have him or her follow you and tap right to locate where he or she might be running around like a chicken without a head. Once you get your head around gestures and the cover-based bits the rest is a straight-forward affair.
The enemy reacts exactly like those you would have witnessed in previous light gun games you might have played. They stream in from various directions, looking for cover, and conveniently pop their heads out for you to lodge a bullet into them. Should you find yourself in a tricky situation by advancing too early, a press of the circle button will have you returning to your previous cover-based position. Moving between levels can also be problematic as it’s not always clear where you have to go, and one particular level had me moving from one point to the next for around 10 minutes trying to find where to go to next to activate the checkpoint. You’re also on the lookout for ammunition crates as you’ll run out of machine gun ammo before you know it. Should you run out you can switch to what is probably the worst handgun I’ve ever used in a game, so best you never run out of bullets for your main guns. The only other two guns on offer are shotguns and sniper rifles. Some set scenes introduce the opportunity to stealthily take down foes, but there’s nothing else to it. You can’t even lob grenades to rid yourself of pesky groups.
No bravo for this team
The game is over in just under two hours. Once done there is some fun to be had in Single Player Score Attack where you’re after the best score combos and have the opportunity to unlock medals that basically act as in-game trophies. For example, finish the level without using an ammo crate and receive a shiny medal. It’s definitely way more fun than the main game, though you, of course, can’t play with a friend or stranger online. Other than that there is no other mode to play. You’ve quite literally played all it has to offer at this stage.
It looks very much like a so-so PS3 game.
There is, unfortunately, another door breach it can’t stop. It looks very much like a so-so PS3 game. After playing something like Moss or Farpoint it’s a far cry from what you would expect from a VR game. You can’t help but feel that it seems very rushed. Towards the end of the game there is a definite improvement when it comes to the polish of the textures, but at no point did I feel as if I was being immersed into a world I might get lost in.
Bravo Team might be a bit more fun in co-op with a friend, but if you’re planning to play this by yourself then it’s a tactical VR shooter that won’t last much longer than your average movie. It’s boring and feels like a quick cash-in. Watching S.W.A.T. one more time is perhaps a better idea.