Developer, Supermassive Games, had a vision of filling a gap in Sony’s PSVR content lineup by bringing in a two-player military-based-shooter that utilises the aim controller. Sadly, this must have been a hazy dream as the game is very hit and miss. From the creators of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, a game that combined atmosphere with intuitive gameplay, I honestly thought that Bravo Team would be a fun shooter. I was horribly wrong.
You play as a generic solder that seems to have been an extra from an old Call of Duty game, who along with an equally worse generic partner have their military convoy ambushed. This leads to a sequence in which the Russian president is murdered. The assassination takes place after she obtusely tells you about her children and husband in a miserable attempt at establishing an emotional connection before she dies (she even shows you pictures of them on her phone).
Once the prologue has finished, the Russian military start swarming in and target you. You’re then told to shoot your way through a horde of mindless enemies - of which I couldn’t tell apart until I noticed the four different shooting patterns - in order to escape and return home. I wouldn’t classify this as a story, as the dialogue feels more like a lacklustre pep talk you give a young child in order to get them amped for some form of physical activity. I would equate this story to going on a first date, where the person you are with has no personality and lacks any form of depth at all (story of my love life - Ed).
You’re in a first-person cover shooter, and you will spend your time popping in and out of cover to fire at enemies. That goes to say you will never really hit them, it would appear your military unit has been jam-packed with all the inaccurate firearms the armoury could muster up. The assault rifle at best is able to hit everything but the enemy in its mission to challenge your patience. The shotgun is a confetti cannon, effective at less than one centimetre; the pistol is as about as accurate as my ability to predict the future. I would count the sniper as the most fun weapon of the game if not for the fact that the game resorts to pixelating the entire game every time you try to look through the long-range scope.
The Aim Controller offers a disorientating degree of shooting. Coupled with less than accurate weapons you lose interest in the idea of the controller because you can’t get any fluidity in the way you shoot. At first, you enjoy the idea of controlling guns beyond using an analogue stick to aim. However, with such lacklustre aiming optimisations, you slowly lose interest in the concept as a whole.
Bravo Team’s cover and movement system are justifiable but not without its kinks. You have to aim your weapon at a location and press X to move about. This puts you in a creative third-person view as opposed to regular blinking, but you’ll watch your character run through a hail of gunfire, turning into a bullet sponge without a single reaction. I found myself on countless times moving forward only to die upon reaching my destination. Somehow in your moment of dying, your character puts up a flare to announce his death and leans against a wall where he/she proceeds to wear an expression that can only be described as a seizure while you wait to be healed.
Cover is an equally frustrating mechanic added to the game, as your character model comes straight out of the NBA and is simply too tall to use most bits of cover. To protect yourself, you’re forced to move back and forth between cover which in itself is a nauseating experience. All you can do is choose a new spot and hope it is better than the last, while the AI shatter your dreams and shoot at you anyway.
I took the time to try and appreciate the game by looking at the little details, but sadly, even the little things haven’t been developed properly. Audio design has been most likely outsourced by a team with a hearing impediment as enemies have little to no dialogue, and gun sounds equate to that of downloading free stock samples.
There are four variations of the type of enemies you are facing, all of which orientate around the weapons you to have on offer. Although one of the variations proves most frustrating, as he wields a gun that has infinite ammo and just proceeds to rain down bullets in your direction.
Enemies have little to no intelligence as they run directly into your line of fire or charge right toward you, causing you to kill them in unsatisfactory ways. Some will go into cover, to which they will get comfortable and live there the second you start aiming in their direction. It is almost as if the AI themselves wish for you to end the game sooner rather than later. I had one occurrence where my partner was downed (Sharing similar intelligence to that of the enemy). So I decided to backtrack and go the other way around in order to safely bring him back into action. As I get to his location, the enemy have posted directly over him, steadily looking aimlessly into the distance, contemplating life I would assume. I thought that maybe my masterful skills in stealth were clearly proficient until I tried killing them with my silenced pistol and missed countless times, to which they had no reaction whatsoever until I finally landed a hit on an enemy.
Stealth is not that stealthy, to be honest. It would appear that enemies don’t even pay attention to you at all during these moments. You really have to have to try hard to ruin a stealth sequence. I often found myself running about without a care in the world because the enemy wasn’t going to detect me. You can get a stealth kill, which gives way to a third person view of your character choking the enemy out and laying him on the floor. I often found myself stealth killing one enemy while the other enemy sits idly by and ignores the fact that his comrade has just met his doom. Needless to say, the stealth is not well thought out and could use a little work.
Your AI partner is actually meant to be controlled by a second player, so I wasn’t upset regarding the actions of your partner. Though, admittedly you would get more use out of the second player co-op, as you are able to make more effective flanks. To my surprise, he will heal you almost every time you become incapacitated while getting shot in the face. Throughout the story he screams generic lines such as “Move forward, I’ll cover you!” over and over again. While this is a very informative sentence, I pretty much understood it the first time.
My experience with the game was nothing short of horrible. From start to finish the game only succeeded in making me want to quit it as soon as possible. This is surprising though as Supermassive Games have made excellent PSVR games prior such as The Inpatient and the aforementioned Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. The reasoning behind why they released such a lacklustre game is still unknown. Oddly the company even pushed the release date back from December 2017 to March 2018. It is baffling to think that the game was even more unpolished than its current build.
In conclusion, you will not be rushing in store to buy a PSVR to play this game, nor will you need to have this on your current roster of games. The game does not execute anything well and is subpar at best. Needless to say, knowing what Supermassive Games are capable of, I feel that this game should never have been released until they brought it to the same standard as their other titles.
Will defend anything Dragon Ball. Occasionally has two-way conversations with himself. Has sleepless nights about Half-Life 3 confirmed.
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6 March 2018
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