The elite squad of United States hotshots Bravo Team think they’re home and hosed: they’ve successfully escorted the president of a fictional Eastern Europe country safely back to her destination, and all that’s left is a pat on the back and a rousing round of ‘Oorah’. But a sudden coup sees the dignitary snatched away, and much of the titular team wiped out. Left stranded with your buddy, you’re tasked with pushing your way through the foreign nation, and exfiltrating with your appendages still attached.
Designed with the PlayStation VR Aim Controller in mind, it’s no surprise that the title plays best with the plastic assault rifle in hand. While you can use the DualShock 4 or PlayStation Move if you prefer, neither option quite excels like Sony’s faux firearm. Just like in Farpoint, you’re able to physically bring the weapon up to your face in order to aim down the sights of your in-game gun, and you can also reach out or over to fire from cover.
In fact, this added layer of physicality is one of the best things about the first-person shooter. There’s no free movement, with the developer instead utilising a series of cover-points that you “snap” to. Unlike in other games, however, PlayStation VR gives you freedom of movement from your static position, so you can peek out to get a view of what’s unfolding around you – or even crouch lower to ensure you’re fully protected from incoming shots.
While the campaign is split into distinct chapters, it’s framed as one continuous journey through a vaguely Russian city. We really liked the way the scenes segued into each other, and there’s actually some good variety to the backdrops; you start out on a bridge before working your way into a police station and across the metropolis’ rooftops. The visuals are rarely ever outstanding, but there are a few memorable locations.
The action is intense, and surprisingly comfortable. Supermassive Games’ smart locomotion solution may limit your movement options, but it makes for a virtual reality experience that can be enjoyed in long sessions without causing too much fatigue. The highlight of this is the way movement is handled; as opposed to replicating the head-bob of your sprinting soldier, it pulls out to a third-person perspective during transitions, keeping you in the action without prompting you to puke.
But there are a catalogue of issues that detract from the combat. The skewed perspective – which makes everything seem comically large – was a problem in The Inpatient, and it's revived here. More frustrating are the swimmy controls and lack of variety. The former is irritating because the title demands precision, but it never ever feels as tight as Farpoint with any of its available control options.
Meanwhile, the game reveals the sum of its ambition within its first five minutes, and never really does much else. There are some sections geared towards a lacklustre stealth mechanic – though timing these attacks as a team can be fun – and other areas where you’ll need to use a sniper or a shotgun, but mostly you’ll be pushing through waves of faceless foes. The level design allows for flanking, and on higher difficulties it’s pretty tactical, but it feels like there should be more here.
Worse still, the combat just isn’t quite as satisfying as it should be. Physically leaning and poking around cover is, as alluded earlier, entertaining – but the hit reaction from enemies makes the shooting feel rather unsatisfying. In a game like this, which is all about the moment-to-moment gunfights, the act of actually shooting people is bland at best. In fact, the gunplay is arguably at its best in the supplementary score attack mode, where points multipliers and silly sound effects add a little extra satisfaction to popping heads.
All of the content, be it the standard campaign or the aforementioned arcade mode, can be played in online co-op. In fact, this is where the title is at its best. You can play with an AI companion, and you can even command the computer around using a series of gestures, but it’s when you’re in constant communication with a friend or stranger that the title feels truly at home. As always with PlayStation VR, you feel a profound connection with your partner that just can’t be replicated on standard screens.
But it’s not enough to elevate the experience out of the doldrums of mediocrity. Bravo Team has a handful of likeable components, but its sloppy shooting and limited variety let it down. It is better when enjoyed alongside a real person, but it's still barely average, and we expect the online community to bounce off it pretty quick.
Bravo Team’s tactical combat is a good fit for virtual reality, and it’s exciting peeking out of cover in order to take pot shots. But for a title focused squarely on its action, the shooting rarely feels satisfying – even when you’re armed with the excellent PSVR Aim Controller. Though the visuals are never outstanding, we like the way the title takes you on a continuous journey through a war-torn city, but limited variety means the release shows its hand within its first few minutes. And, frankly, not even online co-op will help you to care for the fate of the titular team.
I gotta say, I absolutely love the amount of support Supermassive has been throwing towards PSVR. It'd be better if there were more consistent quality (I thoroughly enjoyed Rush of Blood, but honestly hated The Inpatient), but keep it coming either way! Great review @get2sammyb !
I'll probably buy it regardless of score.
Ahhh pretty gutted to hear the faults. 😥
'avoid' on Eurogamer.net
Does anyone know if it supports a left handed mode? My friend is getting it, and was gutted when he found out that DOOM VFR didn't have it for his Aim Controller.
@sajoey It does, yes.
@Dan_ozzzy189 Just read that review. I agree with all of the complaints he has, but it's a bit harsh for me. I think it's distinctly average personally, but we'll see how co-op fares.
This game looks dreadful with some very dodgy design choices, pressing a button to duck behind cover in VR? third person running? conveyor belt enemies?
London Heist is still easily the best PSVR game I've played and probably still the best looking. Looking back at VR Worlds its amazing how polished it is for such an early title (even the menu is fun bouncing diamonds on the controller), granted most of the games weren't great but London Heist was and that shark thing was good fun too, a more interactive version of that'd be nice. Thankfully they look like they are back with a bang with Blood and Truth and if I were Sony I'd be keeping them on VR duty
@carlos82 I don't mind the movement in this. In fact, I think Blood & Truth uses a similar solution. But I do agree, London Heist is an incredible proof of concept.
I'm beginning to wonder if Supermassive have stretched themselves thin now. It's their 3rd game within 6 months now, I think they need to focus on just the one title because that's why they've been at their best.
@get2sammyb until we get some kind of room space it'll never be perfect but the big thing in VR for me is believing you're there and things like this really pull me out of the experience
Aw nuts I was worried about this.... considering the issues in The Impatient still haven't been addressed, I think I'll have to pass
@Dan_ozzzy189 I prefer to avoid eurogamer.
A lot of the PSVR titles that are meant to be good are now seriously missing the mark. I would have expected by now the games to be getting steadily better.
@dryrain That's not true at all. We just had two recent PSVR games in our Game of the Month award: https://www.pushsquare.com/news/2018/03/game_of_the_month_top_4_playstation_games_of_february_2018
Also, our preview coverage of Bravo Team wasn't glowing at all:
As always it’s great shooting stuff with the aim controller but I absolutely hate the fact it Makes you a spectator when moving between cover.! Completely ruins the game, destroys the emersion. Why not have an option for it??
Level design is so dull and boring and after 5 mins nothing feels different.
Supermassive need to give us Rush of blood 2. Still the go to game for PSVR
Updated with score.
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