Developed by inXile, who previously delivered the excellent A Mage’s Tale for VR, Frostpoint VR: Proving Grounds is the latest take on the online multiplayer shooter format for VR headsets. Exclusive to PC-based VR headsets, we decided to take a look.
Developing a 10 vs 10 online multiplayer game that’s VR-exclusive is certainly an ambitious goal, and this one takes place against a backdrop of the frozen, harsh location that is the Antarctic. It’s a fairly bare bones package, with traditional deathmatch (team-based only though) and a version of capture the flag where you’re capturing a base.
The game does a decent job at keeping a level playing field because your winnings only carry as far as the next round when you spend them on something, preventing players from leveling up to the point where newcomers would be discouraged from jumping in. There’s a good amount of weapons to choose from and use, and you can expect the usual VR motion controls when it comes to aiming and reloading them – which makes for an extremely immersive experience in shootouts as long as you’re not moving (which is, of course, done with a thumbstick).
At times, I was surprised to find that Frostpoint is a multiplayer only affair, mainly because of the presence of alien warriors that pop up in battle. There’s even a section filled with lore in the hub, but besides popping up in battles there is no kind of narrative content to introduce and develop them or the thematic world you’re playing in. As a result it feels this Frostpoint is a multiplayer mode in a Halo-like universe, only no one ever built the world and stories that go with it.
The game’s levels have been well designed, with a good amount of diversity despite the fact that you only have 2 game modes to choose from. Some maps will emphasize close quarters combat, while others feature vast open spaces and some will let you make good use of verticality. Many maps also feature alternate routes, letting you strategize a bit with your teammates.
So while the amount of content (in terms of game modes) is quite low, the core mechanics are solid. The shooting’s fun and the weapons offer a good range of ways to approach them. The biggest problem for the game is a familiar one that’s not exclusive to Frostpoint though – it’s incredibly hard to be successful with a multiplayer-only title in VR.
We waited until after the launch of the game so we could play Frostpoint with those jumping aboard during the launch week, but the player lobbies struggled to fill up and I’ve only been able to play two rounds that had something close to 10 players per side – most having fewer than that. Without bots to play against, this makes the game tough to recommend, now but especially when you look towards the long term scenario.