Preview: Term1nal – Hacking gets a VR makeover

Force Field VR goes stealthy for its first mobile VR title.

Force Field VR, the studio behind the recently launched Landfall on Oculus Rift, debuted its next project at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2017, a stealthy hacking adventure that’ll support Samsung Gear VR called Term1nal. Rather than the all out action of LandfallTerminal goes for a far more thoughtful approach, demonstrating even at this early stage a nuanced approach to virtual reality (VR).

Set in a future of high tech robots and dangerous corporations, you play a hacker who’s been hired to infiltrate STRIDE Industries, a security and robotics firm. But rather than staring at reams of code on a computer screen, you remotely take over an experimental robot that’ll run through STRIDE’s security, sneaking past sentry robots, avoiding lasers, unlocking doors and hacking computer terminals.

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Term1nal is played from a lofty third-person viewpoint, essentially as the hacker you see everything through the building’s CCTV cameras. The videogame utilises a Bluetooth controller to move your character through the maze of rooms, hallways and traps in your path. As you navigate between them the camera angle will change depending on the room, but it’ll always provide the optimal viewpoint, there was never a moment in the demo where anything felt blocked.

This was an early build of Term1nal, and as such only one level was available to play through. But this was still enough to get a feel for the mechanics and the types of challenges that needed to be overcome. The goal of the demo was to locate a key in one area and bring it back to another. If you’ve played Landfall you’ll instantly be at home with running your character around, with the controls feeling precise. There are moments where you have to quickly duck around robots, hiding in lockers to avoid their gaze which never posed an issue.

Stealth is of paramount importance, you robot isn’t equipped with any weapons, get spotted and you’re restarting the area until you get it right. Once the key is found it turns out to be a small robotic dog that’ll follow you around and obey your commands. The dog can then be used to distract robots and unlock previously impassable doors. Term1nal certainly tries in this short period of gameplay to offer a variety of puzzle elements to keep you thinking on your toes, although that’s easy to do. The real challenge will be to see if Force Field VR can come up with a significant selection of puzzles without too much repetition, a trait titles in this type of genre can fall foal of.

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From this initial play though Term1nal has all the right elements to be a fun, engaging puzzle experience for Gear VR. Its looks nice, the challenges were varied and plentiful, with just the right amount of difficulty to make you stop for a second and think without being frustrating. For those that like this element in their VR videogames, Force Field VR looks to be on the right track with its first project for the mobile headset.

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