Crisis VRigade 2 from Sumalab is out now for the PlayStation VR headset after previously launching (in Early Access) on Steam. Time to dive into this arcade-inspired and challenging shooter.
The first Crisis VRigade was a rather difficult take on a VR shooter that we reviewed at the beginning of 2019, and it still amazes me that we haven’t had more shooters of this type for PlayStation VR. Early games like Until Dawn – Rush of Blood showcased how well the classic arcade lightgun experience translated to virtual reality, and the excellent Aim controller for PSVR is a piece of hardware that deserved much more and better support from developers as well.
Luckily we have smaller developers like Sumalab still creating titles for it, and Crisis VRigade 2 feels like a refinement of the first game. You’re still taking aim at bad guys from a stationary position in each level, you can still use the Aim controller or a pair of Move controllers to dual wield guns, and levels are still extremely challenging.
There’s an almost roguelike quality to the game as well, with a need to acquire upgrades if you are to have much success in the game’s level. There are only a few of them, but the game’s running time is vastly improved by the simple fact that it’s such a challenge to get through each of the levels – which last about 15 minutes each once you get comfortable with them.
Speaking of comfort – the fact that Crisis VRigade 2 is a stationary shooter helps in terms of VR comfort even though the action is quite hectic. While you’re in place, you still need to actively (and physically) duck for cover to get through the current wave of bad guys even though getting to the next section of the level is an on-rails affair. You’ll consider those little breathers those, because much of the in-game action revolves around you getting behind cover (like a wall) and peeking out to get a few shots in. Cover’s crucial, because a single shot can kill you in this game, so don’t expect to play this sitting down on the couch just popping enemies left and right. You need room to play, and we’re hoping that Sumalab can get it running on the Quest as well since going wireless would be a serious asset to a game like this.
You’re safe once in cover, but each section does have a time limit so you’re always pushed to take risks. Some of these involve going for power-ups, and including them has made Crisis VRigade 2 a slighlty more refined experience than the first game, where it’s punishing “no hope in sight” approach could feel frustrating.
Having said that, many of the in-game dynamics are still very similar to the first game – including the fact that it’s quite short on content. There’s a big change on the surface though, because Crisis VRigade 2 looks far more polished this time around. Gone is the low-poly look of the first game, with detailed visuals that come close to what we see in big studio releases like Firewall. For a small team like the one at Sumalab, that’s an impressive leap forward.
If you enjoyed the first Crisis VRigade, this is a logical next step that you’ll certainly enjoy as well. If the difficulty level in the first game was off-putting to you then this probably won’t convince you otherwise though, since the experience – despite the extra polish – is similar.