Guardians Frontline, from VirtualAge Games and published by Fast Travel Games, is out now for the Meta Quest 2 – here’s our review.
Any game that takes inspiration from the likes of StarCraft and Halo is going to have a lot to live up to, yet that’s how Guardians Frontline positions itself with its mix of action and real time strategy – and it does so within a VR environment as well. Attempting to even just approach one of those two sci-fi classics feels like a daunting task, so we were curious to see how they’d deal with two.
You’ll quickly notice that some of that inspiration has been translated into the game’s visual style, with different environments to explore across three planets that are home to fourteen different missions. There’s a decent five to seven hour campaign here with some mild story elements (mostly told in between rather than during missions), and there’s support for co-op and competitive multiplayer gameplay once you’re done with the campaign as well. Beyond that, there’s even support for community-made levels, so this is a game designed with lasting appeal in mind.
Gameplay-wise, Guardians Frontline is mostly a first person shooter, though its StarCraft touches can be seen in the interesting way in which you can manage resources towards upgrades and new buildings, as well as the deployment of your troops. This happens when you switch to the ‘tactical view’ and become able to view things from overhead as you see where the enemy is and counter them with your own troops without actively controlling them.
In first person mode, the game even supports vehicles – giving you that Halo vibe as you switch between the different weapons available to you. And while you can stay in first person if you want, it’s a lot of fun to switch (in real time) to the tactical map and move some stuff around, flanking the enemy from one side while approaching them yourself from the other side just seconds later. We would have enjoyed more narrative-driven missions and objectives for more immersion during the campaign though, as the mission structure of Guardians Frontline is tied to its multiplayer modes (Conquest, Domination, Survival, Protect and Defend) more than it is to its storyline.
Unsurprisingly (with a publisher like Fast Travel involved), Guardians Frontline features plenty of control and comfort options, and the game’s user interface is far more intuitive than we had expected from a genre crossover like this. We have to commend VirtualAge Games for how well they managed to realize their vision of blending first person shooting with real time strategy, with the biggest thing holding them back being the lack of horsepower on the Quest 2 – making the visuals lag behind the AAA inspirations they used. We can’t wait to see this formula return in future headset generations.