Developer / Publisher – Sumalab
Price – US $4.99 / EU €8.99 / UK £7.39 / AU $N/A
Release date – February 5th, 2019
Control Method – 2 x Move Controllers, Aim
Pro Patch – No
Digital only – Yes
Reviewed on – PSVR(PS4 Pro)
Crisis VRigade is an intense arcade S.W.A.T sim where you are tasked with responding to a bank robbery gone bad. If you remember the insane bank heist scenes in the movies Heat or Point Break, I would say this the VR equivalent of those intense scene.
Supporting 2 Move controllers or the Aim controller, either method offers a unique and fun way to play. With the Moves you are armed with a pistol with ammo clips at your belt. To reload you need to eject the clip, grab and place the new one in your gun and cock the slide(?) getting you ready to unleash your next barrage and any weapon you pick up can be handled with both hands allowing for much more stability. With the Aim, you now have a semi-automatic and reloading is relegated to a button press, though you still need to wait for the animation to play through, so you’d better take cover either way. There is no locomotion to speak of as you are placed at the next waypoint with a broken cut scene playing in between the action sections showcasing your course through the bank. Like the light gun cover shooters of old, you need to take cover lest you be killed by an errant shot. There are tons of bad guys to take out and you need to do it quick as you have 7 minutes to get through the bank and save the hostages. If you die, you have to start over, if a hostage dies, you have to start over, if the time runs out, guess what? You have to start over and with your only difficulty options being Rookie or Hell it’s up to you to get good or fail…and I guarantee you will fail a lot!
Bright, vibrant colors are used as is a rather cartoonish and blocky world, very reminiscent of last years ‘The Perfect Sniper’. Don’t let the visuals fool you though as the action is intense with you taking cover as enemies unleash all hell in your direction and narrowly miss you as you duck in and out of protection. The campaign takes you from the banks exterior to the lobby and all the way through the building with each room offering its own unique layout and mess of baddies. The bad guys are all wearing different animal and people masks with even a president or 2 sprinkled into the mix and are otherwise wearing a variety of suits and outfits making them easily identifiable when hostages start to pop up. It’s not the best-looking game I’ve ever seen, but the gameplay makes up for whatever is lacking in the aesthetic and every time I started, I was immediately too focused on survival to worry about anything else, plus the simplistic art style makes it very easy to identify your targets.
The sound is just as intense with an actiony score playing over constant gun fire and radio chatter from your fellow officers. The guns sound great and the impact and audio effects are solid, immersing you in the chaotic battle and making you feel like you are playing through an over-the-top cinematic experience.
For everything VRigade does right, it still misses some key bits that hold this back from greatness. Cover can be tricky and at certain points in the game you can choose from one of 2 paths and I soon learnt that one room may just be a little easier to survive in then an another, so I ended up avoiding those rooms that just didn’t properly provide enough cover. My second issue would be the brief moments in between cover sections as you are shown areas in between the action bits which highlight you moving through the bank and I would have much preferred a full on cut scene in place on these 2 second jumpy clips. The last issue is one I take way less offense too, and actually enjoy it, but I think it’s worth mentioning that this is really, REALLY hard. The game can be beaten in less then 7 minutes and it took me around an hour to get through the game on Rookie…once. Even on rookie I haven’t been able to make it to the end again. While Rookie lets you take a hit or 2 and recover, Hell allows for no mistakes and if you get hit once, your dead. I love the challenge here but be aware that the name of the game here is repetition, memorization and reaction.
Crisis VRigade is a taste of the classic light-gun action we have been clamouring for and I wish this game had a few more scenarios then what’s offered here. That’s not to say what’s here isn’t enough, I just really enjoyed my time in the bank and would love to see this kind of intense gameplay in a variety of stages. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by Crisis Vrigade and I really can’t recommend this enough!
What would I pay? The US price for this is $5 which is a steal in my humble opinion. It’s potentially very short, but the multiple paths, challenging gameplay and Aim or Move support make repeat plays a joy and this is now going in the showcase library for when I demo VR games!
Sumalab provided The VR Grid with a press code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!