With a myriad of wave-based first-person shooters (FPS) available for virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs), the genre is becoming increasingly saturated to the point where a new release needs to do something special to get any recognition. Epic Games has become renowned in the industry for its Unreal Engine software and tech demo Bullet Train, but can it pull off the increasingly difficult task of providing an FPS that consumers will want to play. With the release of Robo Recall it just might.
An exclusive for Oculus Touch, Robo Recall combines the studio’s VR expertise in providing game development tools with its pedigree in producing home spun titles. Taking the lessons it learnt from Bullet Train, the team has combined what are essentially VR standards now – teleportation, hip mounted guns, etc – and added a layer of polish and precision that’s still a rare occurrence in VR.
Robo Recall starts with the flair and grandeur very reminiscent of 90’s videogames. This is an action title that doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s all about having fun, shooting robots, ripping them apart, then moving on to continue the carnage. Highscores are the name of the game here, stick with one tactic and you’ll get through, but that multiplier won’t increase significantly. Mix things up and that’s where you’ll gain the most points. Use your handguns, shotguns, grab an enemy’s gun or just simply use your hands.
Highscores aren’t just about online bragging rights, points mean prizes here, unlocking stars which will allow you to upgrade your weapon loadouts with higher capacities, reduced recoil, laser sights and more. This not only makes latter levels somewhat easier, but more importantly it aids racking up those maximum points.
While the action can be intense, it’s certainly beautiful. The aesthetics of Robo Recall are pure AAA all the way through. It might just be cityscapes but it’s no less impressive, with towering skyscrapers that are pin sharp. The hordes of robot enemies are lovingly detailed and richly coloured, decapitating one creates a mass of twisted and sparking wires.
It’s the simple things that Robo Recall does that showcase it as an exemplary VR experience. When used, teleportation for example is a crucial mechanic that can make or break a VR title. Both sticks on the Oculus Touch controllers allow you to warp, and a twist of the stick changes the direction you’ll face. Nothing groundbreaking but it works, feeling snappy and accurate. Adding to this is a feature needed specifically for Touch’s two sensor setup. Turn away from the dual sensors and Robo Recall will begin indicating that you need to turn back around, thus ensuring you’ll have no loss of tracking mid fight.
Does Robo Recall have its flaws, of course it does. Some may find it somewhat short, or just aren’t interested in another FPS, but they’d be missing out. Robo Recall elicits such a high standard that future FPS titles will be measured by it, and should be considered a killer app for Oculus Touch. And the best bit of all, Touch users get Robo Recall for free, so what’s there to moan about?