They are kept thrilling, however, by all the things that fill the gaps. The story is made lively with some surprising twists and turns and its half-knowing but fully committed approach. The missions stay exciting as a result of the sheer fun of playing the game. Those somewhat unsurprising characters are lit up by surprisingly good performances from the game’s stars.
We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.
From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.London manages to be a star, too, shining in a faithful if not entirely realistic way. It is refreshing to play in a version of the city that is not a theme park of Victoriana and British charm, but instead pays tribute to the thrill and busyness of the real city. You’re not in danger of forgetting why London Studio got its name, and their location at the heart of the city’s Soho district.
But the real jewel of this game is the control system, which gives it the kind of immersiveness that can leave you gawping at how developers managed to pull it off. Like other games, you hold a Move controller in each hand, allowing your virtual hands to follow you real ones around exactly. This means not only that you can interact with the world exactly how you like – picking up items, throwing them around, opening boxes – but also that you can use guns to shoot in a way that feels like magic, pulling the gun up to your eye and moving it around in a way that makes you marvel at the technical achievement, if you’re not dragged into the thrill of the game.
Movies and sports and other events will be viewable in VR as technology continues to advance.
Where this doesn’t feel quite so immersive is how you get around from position to position. Without the ability to walk, the game sets you up on rails, and you can point to individual points in the world and press to transport yourself there. That in turn means you can’t go anywhere the game isn’t pushing you to, and you can certainly never go forward. It can mean that you occasionally feel a little powerless to make your way around the game’s levels and so reduces the amount of strategy you can really use, but once you are established in the game’s rhythms it feels fairly natural.
Blood and Truth began life as one of the demos when the PS VR was first launched, in a game called London Heist. It lasted only a few minutes, but even that short period was enough to see there was something very different here from the simple games and videos that made up the rest of the collection. If you came into the game sceptical – there was plenty of reason to be, at a time when virtual reality was largely a buzzword and the idea of sticking your PlayStation to your head seemed very odd indeed – then any cynicism was immediately shot away by London Heist. With immersive action, engaging performances and a control system that threw you so deeply into the game that you very quickly forgot you had a big wedge of plastic covering your face, it made the case that VR wasn’t just a gimmick but an entirely new way of gaming.
The year 1990’s saw huge developments in the virtual reality technology with the rise of arcade games. The Virtuality Group was the cutting edge of virtual reality, and launched a wide variety of arcade games and machines that let the players immerse themselves into amazing 3D visual experiences.
That means that you head into the world of Blood & Truth with a lot of baggage. Thankfully, it’s very soon dropped – straight away, the game gives you all of the thrilling driving, the riveting shooting, and the instant atmosphere that made the demo so good. And it keeps delivering, all the way through, finding ways of making what could be a simple process of moving and shooting feel surprising and exciting. PS VR is not all the way there yet, of course; this shows all the best of the system, but it’s not yet clear that the system is yet at its best. The fast driving sequences and the feeling of warping around levels can very quickly give you motion sickness if you are prone to it, the immersive control sometimes means you that end up feeling snagged by the cords that are required to connect your headset to your console and so stop you moving fully around, and on my ageing PS4 the game sometimes looked a little grainier than you’d hope.
Virtual Reality Doesn’t Replace Real Life. Strapping on a virtual reality headset is an amazing experience. In fact, it’s so realistic that you almost feel as if you’re visiting a location or taking part in an activity. But the key word in this sentence is “almost.” Virtual reality isn’t meant to replace real life, but instead enhance it. One of the best examples of this is how the travel industry uses virtual reality. For destinations and hotels, virtual reality is a research tool that enables potential guests get a glimpse of what it would be like to visit or book a room.
But those are all minor inconveniences, growing pains not of the game but of the system. They are present to some degree in every title on PS VR, and so if you’ve enjoyed other games there is no doubt you’ll enjoy this too.
In Blood & Truth, PS VR shows how deeply immersive, thrilling and mature it can be. In PS VR, Blood & Truth finds the perfect way to push forward shooting games, joining technical achievement with game design in a way that will remind you of the first time you played with a light gun. Together, they make a game that is somehow familiar but fresh, the best of the PlayStation and the best of the gangster film mashed together with a whole new way of playing.