Review: Bullet Sorrow VR
Great in parts, decidedly less so in others.
If you’re a fan of traditional shooting videogames and you come over to the world of virtual reality (VR) you’ll be well catered for, in some respect too well catered for, as there’s just so many. Which has its plus and minus’s, namely being the genre works very well in VR – if you hadn’t already realised by now – but a title needs to be good to get any recognition. So that brings us to Bullet Sorrow VR by VikingVRStudio, a through and through arcade first-person shooter (FPS). The question is should you pay any interest to another gun filled experience? Well it’s good but not faultless.
Bullet Sorrow VR comes at a time on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (this review was on the HTC Vive), when FPS juggernauts like Epic Games’ Robo Recall and Survios’ Raw Data showcase what can be achieved with current VR technology, and what players are starting to expect from these type of experiences. When Bullet Sorrow VR first launched on Steam Early Access it was a pure multiplayer title, pitting opponents against each other in arenas with an assortment of weaponry. Now though, the videogame has been expanded to include four single-player missions which has certainly served it well.
This review is going to concentrate on the gameplay and single-player aspect of Bullet Sorrow VR for one sole reason, trying to get a multiplayer match just didn’t happen, either no one was online or the server kept crashing which meant having to constantly wait for it to refresh. Not a good start, and this would be a major issue if VikingVRStudio hadn’t added some solo levels. But this isn’t exactly uncommon in VR, with its small (but growing) user base, multiplayer only titles aren’t always the wisest move – videogames like EVE: Valkyrie do buck that trend.
So what’s the single-player like? Quite frankly Bullet Sorrow VR is a fantastic VR experience for an arcade style shooter. There are three story levels with a wave zombie one for good measure. Armed with two unlimited ammo pistols (they still need reloading), you teleport through the areas vanquishing enemies by the dozen. There are no ammo belts or items to store in a backpack, just guns, more guns, and some less than clever opponents. Yes the first issue you’ll likely notice with the enemies are that they tend to be a bit stupid, running to one spot and staying there, unless they have shields – then you just shoot their feet. They will use cover, but there’s no flanking or other tactics to worry about, the levels are very linear, so apart from several larger areas it’s fairly easy to know where they’ll come from.
As you progress you’ll come across other guns – sub-machine guns, assault rifles, grenade launchers and so on – which can’t be reloaded, once the ammo is gone your pistols come back. In fact the pistols are probably the best guns in Bullet Sorrow VR, being fast, quick to reload and very accurate. You’ll also come across stationary machine gun emplacements – these are super fun. Also available to pick up are health packs when the screen starts going really red and you get a warning, but there’s no health indicator, which is good for immersion, but bad when fighting lots of enemies, especially bosses.
And that’s something you don’t often get to see in VR titles, actual boss battles, just one on one with some hulking over powered monstrosity. Luckily you have an ace up your sleeve and that’s a slow-motion, bullet-time ability that can be used when most needed – although it does need to recharge after every use. This gives you some breathing room when it looks like you’re about to be turned into a sieve with bullets, getting a better angle to gun down enemies, reload, or time to grab a nearby health pack.
What Bullet Sorrow VR does well is create a no-holds barred, bullet rich, shooting experience. The single-player mode shows you what VikingVRStudio is capable of, there’s just not enough of it. The multiplayer mode is the core experience in Bullet Sorrow VR, which means if you can find a match then great, the rest of the time you’ve got half a videogame.