Final Assault – a table top/RTS hybrid by Phaser Lock Interactive for VR – just received a port for the Playstation VR, and we’ve been having a lot of fun with it. Here’s why.
I was interested in Final Assault when it launched on PC, but since I mainly play on PSVR I didn’t have much hope I’d be getting it any time soon – from what I read the game was pretty resource-hungry and that didn’t bode well for those on Sony’s platform. Yet, a year later, here we are, and the game performs surprisingly well on a PSVR headset even though there’s just a little less detail on the screen than what I saw in earlier PC footage.
I think my fascination with Final Assault actually started a few years ago, when I played an early pre-release version of a game that I now believe is Defense Grid 2’s VR edition during a meeting with Oculus. It really sold me on the idea that VR could deliver a rich tabletop experience and bring new genres to the medium that most people weren’t considering. In that case it was tower defense, but the leap to real time strategy was easy to make.
Since then, we’ve had a few examples in the genre and Skyworld, Korix and Tethered all come to mind, but nothing that really scratched my old “Command & Conquer RTS” itch. Final Assault isn’t Command and Conquer in VR, but its look and feel certainly gets close to it and waging war with little miniature units in VR is a lot of fun.
In terms of gameplay modes you can play through a traditional single player campaign or play skirmish games, and the game also supports online multiplayer (though we didn’t test this during the pre-release phase). Selecting a different army unit/commander also means you get access to different weapon types, which mixes up the gameplay and can emphasize ranged combat versus ground-based strength, for instance.
Resource management isn’t a thing in terms of harvesting resources, as the money you can spend automatically rolls in based on a timer – meaning the focus is on combat and making the right tactical choices when it comes to what you spend your money on. You can keep hold of key areas on the map to ensure you get some extra cash when an airdrop hits, but that’s about it. As expected, cheaper units can be bought quickly, but are also far more expendable and less powerful than some of the heavier units in the game. Deploying them is easy enough – you can select them from an in-game clipboard that acts like the traditional on-screen menu of an RTS without constantly being on screen (and in the way).
The combat itself has also been simplified to fit with easy to use controls and a lack of menu systems (and a mouse). Rather than offer you a bunch of choices for formations, commands and strategies, you can give individual move and attack orders to your units and have them push forward when the time is right – or you can have them move towards the enemy automatically as soon as they’re deployed, tower defense style.
The end result is a lovely mix of real time strategy elements and frantic action that fits with the shorter gameplay sessions people typically have with VR games. It may be a game that came out first on PC-based platforms, but it’s one of the most original PSVR releases I’ve played in a while and I can’t wait to dive in again. Once you’re ready to move on from single player matches you can continue online, where it’s worth pointing out that cross-platform multiplayer is supported. The campaign feels a bit underdeveloped from a narrative perspective, but that’s a small price to pay for what Final Assault offers.