Preview: Damaged Core

Oculus VR’s software line-up for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift is looking very varied at present, with most major videogame genres covered. Taking responsibility for the hugely popular first-person shooter (FPS) genre is High Voltage Software, with the brand new intellectual property (IP), Damaged Core.

Those familiar with High Voltage Software’s previous works will undoubtedly see an immediate resemblance to the Wii’s The Conduit series. Visually this isn’t too far from the truth, but in reality Damaged Core is very a different gameplay experience. While The Conduit played hard-and-fast to the rules established by the FPS genre, Damaged Core doesn’t quite fit that mould. In fact, Damaged Core is closer to an arcade light-gun experience than a traditional FPS.

Damaged Core screenshot

Throughout the debut demo build of Damaged Core the player is stationary. The first sequence casts the player as a sniper, taking on enemy units that have taken control of a futuristic train station. The bland navy blue surface areas are complimented by splashes of neon; a clean and familiar vision of the future in which technology has surpassed the human condition.

The combat plays much as expected: line-up your shots, hold your breath and squeeze the trigger. Enemies in this early build weren’t exactly smart, often taking cover behind objects while leaving a limb in clear view. They are keen to move, but less so to ensure their next destination is secured against your line-of-sight. A dozen-or-so fallen foes and the player is given the chance to teleport to the next area, which is an entirely different ball game.

The second section of the Damaged Core preview build has the player facing off against numerous foes in much closer proximity. Based in a central, ground level location, the player has to prevent foes from attacking a point of interest. Waves of enemies approach from the building directly ahead as well as streets from the left and right sides. In this section a variety of weapon types are available to the player, with varying fire rates and impact damage. It’s a proven risk-reward system, and one that plays just as well here in Damaged Core as in any number of more traditional FPS experiences.

Damaged Core screenshot

This early preview build of Damaged Core was very limited, of that there is no doubt. However, it’s hard to see exactly how High Voltage Software will manage to achieve the goal of becoming the ‘must have’ FPS experience in virtual reality (VR) based on this sample. It’s fun for it’s duration, but the lack of variety and the static presentation stand to severely limit its potential for replay after the first encounter. High Voltage Software are looking to bring Damaged Core to the Oculus Rift a short while after launch, and with that there’s plenty of time for the developer to iron out the kinks.