Three Fields Entertainment’s virtual reality (VR) debut is not quite what we expected. Having come from the ranks of Criterion Studios developers and previously stated intentions to work on a ‘spiritual successor’ to the BurnOut franchise for VR, a shooting gallery is somewhat removed from that initial pitch. Lethal VR, as it stands however, is a welcome first step into the medium, albeit one without much flair.
As stated above, Lethal VR is a shooting gallery experience. A genre that has already become somewhat crowded on the HTC Vive, but while many titles try and excuse their limitations through waves of enemy invaders or undead adversaries, Lethal VR makes no such apology. It’s a VR shooting gallery in which the player is placed within a virtual shooting gallery. Given a variety of weapons and mission objectives, the player is tasked with putting into practice their quick draw skills, precision aiming and positional awareness.
Standing in a rather bland environment, presumably so as not to take the emphasis from the targets you’ll be shooting at, Lethal VR gives you a singular objective in each of its plentiful missions. These begin simply: a quick draw challenge against a single opponent, gunning down stationary vases, throwing knives at targets before they move out of view. The difficulty soon ramps up though, of course, varying the weapons, objectives and targets as you progress through each of the videogame’s chapters.
The scoring mechanic is a big part of Lethal VR, and indeed is well pitched in order to make you attempt to beat your own previous best and those of others around you. Simple bonuses such as headshot streaks, speed and accuracy make a big difference, and as such you’ll train yourself within the limitations of Lethal VR to better these aspects of your play. This is where Lethal VR sets itself aside from the overwhelming numbers of competitors within the genre: restricted to local scoreboards only, Lethal VR is the evolution of couch-based gaming. The videogame accommodates the idea of taking turns and challenging one another in a highscore competition.
And that’s exactly why Lethal VR is a good addition to the HTC Vive line-up, but not a standout one. It’s very much a case of ‘been there, done that’ for VR early adopters, yet delivered in such a way that it will be easily digestible for newcomers. It’s a videogame to showcase VR to your friends and family; a few moments of fun that presents something new without the barriers of horror or videogame convention knowledge.
With that in mind, Lethal VR is a fine first step into the new medium but lacks any sense of real depth. Immediate, simple fun is on offer here, but in the face of Robo Recall those hoping for a progression of the FPS within the VR medium should look elsewhere.