PlayStation VR2: New Shooters Arrive, but Where’s the Wow Factor?

For the past six months, PlayStation VR2 enthusiasts like myself have been eagerly anticipating new experiences to enjoy with our headsets. Finally, the VR platform is receiving a much-needed boost with the release of two exciting titles. While cause for celebration, these latest additions fail to truly captivate and invigorate me, leaving me yearning for a game that truly pushes the boundaries of what PlayStation VR2 can offer.

Two Fun Shooters: Firewall Ultra and Crossfire Sierra Squad

The two games in question are Firewall Ultra, an exclusive title published by Sony’s First Contact Entertainment, and Crossfire Sierra Squad from Smilegate. Both games fall into the military shooter genre, but they differ in their execution. Firewall Ultra is a Rainbow Six Siege-style squad-based multiplayer game, while Crossfire Sierra Squad leans more towards the arcade roots of the genre, offering VR shooting galleries.

Both titles are enjoyable VR shooters that showcase the strengths and weaknesses of PlayStation VR2 games. They boast impressive visuals but come with some rough edges and lack the depth found in similar console games. Regrettably, they don’t push the boundaries of what a VR game can be. As a PlayStation VR2 owner for six months now, I’m starting to crave more from the available offerings.

Assessing Firewall Ultra and Crossfire Sierra Squad

Firewall Ultra, a rebuilt version of the popular multiplayer game Firewall: Zero Hour, undoubtedly looks the part. It is visually stunning and possibly the most realistic-looking game on PlayStation VR2 since Horizon Call of the Mountain. The game’s intense tactical shooter mechanics, combined with excellent eye-tracking and foveated rendering, make it an immersive experience. However, Firewall Ultra falls short when compared to non-VR tactical shooters like Rainbow Six Siege or even other VR titles like Pavlov.

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During my playtime, I encountered glitches, such as getting stuck in grenade animations and struggling to join multiplayer matches with friends. The sense of realism is shattered when you witness unnatural movements and tracking issues with your teammates.

On the other hand, Crossfire Sierra Squad is designed for cooperative play, allowing players to engage in small arenas reminiscent of arcade shooting galleries. It boasts sleek visuals, comparable to PlayStation 4-era console shooters. Unfortunately, my experience with Crossfire Sierra Squad was hindered by jitteriness when aiming down sights, making it difficult to discern whether the issue originated from me or the game itself. Additionally, this VR game lacks ambition, failing to offer anything that differentiates it from Pavlov or Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded. With these titles arriving halfway into the PSVR2’s life span, I had hoped for more innovation.

The Current Challenges of the PSVR2 Library

In the realm of PC and console gaming, the overemphasis on combat is a prevalent issue. VR exacerbates this problem by offering an abundance of first-person shooters, leading to a sense of fatigue. Games like Pavlov and Zombieland initially left a positive impression on me when I first delved into VR. However, each new PSVR2 shooter I try brings diminishing returns, as they prioritize visuals over unique gameplay.

While Firewall Ultra and Crossfire Sierra Squad provide some fun for a few missions, I doubt I will invest significant time in either game in the future. Similarly, I haven’t returned to Synapse, a roguelite title, since reviewing it. The memorable PSVR2 experiences for me have been those that explore innovative concepts and unique perspectives offered by VR. Games like Demeo, Moss, Before Your Eyes, Humanity, or Another Fisherman’s Tale captivated me with their inventive approaches. Unfortunately, these recent PSVR2 games seem more focused on showcasing new ways to reload guns in VR.

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The lack of compelling new games is an ongoing challenge for the PSVR2, which is only exacerbated when the games released feel formulaic. While I occasionally enjoy donning a VR headset for new or experimental games, I find myself not immersing in these virtual worlds as much as I had hoped. In this exhilarating gaming medium, I have been disappointed by the lack of innovation showcased in the latest titles.

Looking towards the horizon, I can only hope that games like The Foglands, Journey to Foundation, and Arizona Sunshine 2 will present more inspired takes on what first-person perspective VR games can achieve.

Firewall Ultra and Crossfire Sierra Squad are currently available for PlayStation VR2.

A powerful enemy appears in Crossfire Sierra Squad.
Image: Smilegate Entertainment / Smilegate Entertainment

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