Practically moments after they released Rush VR for Playstation VR, developer The Binary Mill has come out with their second game for the platform: Gun Club VR. Featuring adrenaline of a different kind, Gun Club VR tackles a genre previously explored by the excellent Lethal VR. How does it stack up?
Gun Club VR’s angle is that it tries to be as realistic as possible, while retaining the fun factor at the same time. It originated as a mobile (Gear VR-like) title, eventually evolving to an Oculus/Vive game that recently launched out of early access and now a PSVR-compatible version. The game was designed to play with a pair of Move controllers, and thus everything works much like it does the game’s PC cousins. Which makes sense, but it’s also a shame that they didn’t include any kind of Aim controller support – which would have been absolutely great for a game of this type.
The game evokes memories of Lethal VR, as you go up against all kinds of cardboard targets and the occasional exploding barrel. It’s very much a classic shooting gallery type of experience, although in a few scenarios the cardboard cutouts somehow fire back at you – turning things into something not too unlike a wave shooter.
Designed for quick gameplay bursts (a testament to the game’s mobile origins), Gun Club’s challenges are short but often intense – the fact that you can’t study patterns (they’re randomized) keeps you on your toes and helps in this regard. Doing well yields fitting rewards though, as this is how you gain access to new weapons and accessories (like gun-mounted flashlights, bayonets, etc).
Sound familiar? Gun Club VR is indeed similar to Lethal VR in many ways, but with a major exception: weapon handling. Sure, there are also a few scenarios that set the game apart from that other PSVR shooting gallery, such as World War II missions – but the major difference is in how you handle your weapons. Using a pair of Move controllers, you have to load, reload and cock your weapons – and they all handle differently. Learning how to quickly operate a certain weapon takes practice, but the benefits of your efforts are immediately clear when you start scoring big because of it. The key to success often doesn’t lie with better aim, but rather with better handling.
Herein also lies some of the irony with Gun Club VR, as tracking issues sometimes stand in the way of proper handling. This certainly isn’t game-breaking (Farpoint had some, as did Doom VFR – and I still loved both), but definitely noticeable. The lack of Aim support means that you’re holding two Move controllers in front of each other, and it seems like the Playstation camera can sometimes get a little confused by this. Again – not a constant annoyance, just something that can happen from time to time.
Despite the title, Gun Club VR isn’t just about guns – you’ll also be throwing knives, and you can use grenades as well – though the grenade launcher certainly is a tricky bit of machinery to operate. Master it though, and the results are as impressive as you’d imagine. It’s also fun to manually modify your weapon, for instance by mounting a flashlight prior to a mission that takes place in a dark environment. You can have the process automated if you want, but it’s fun to at least try and do it yourself a few times.
Visually, Gun Club VR is not too unlike games like Lethal VR or Headmaster, with its use of cardboard characters and targets. Its main appeal lies in its approach to weapon handling in VR though, which isn’t just a gimmick but actually adds to the experience as an integral part of the gameplay experience. If Lethal VR didn’t satisfy your appetite for a fun shooting gallery game, then definitely give Gun Club a try. It would have been great to have some Aim-enabled weapons/levels as well, and the tracking issues are a shame, but they’re minor issues that don’t stop the game from being fun to play.