Preview: Anshar Online – A Visual Treat for Oculus Go
Taking Anshar Wars to the next level.
Ozwe Games first dipped its toes into virtual reality (VR) development way back in 2015, releasing space shooter Anshar Wars and Anshar Wars 2 in the same year for Samsung Gear VR, one of the best looking titles at the time. The studio is back in 2018 with its next sequel Anshar Online which it debuted during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2018. Due to support Oculus Rift, Gear VR and Oculus Go, VRFocus got some time with the standalone headset version and put it through its paces.
Anshar Online is a far more multiplayer focused experience than its forebears, offering an eight player multiplayer deathmatch mode, 5 player co-op and a 50 mission campaign. All of which can be played cross-platform no matter which head-mounted display (HMD) you happen to own.
Starting up the title on Oculus Go the first thing to strike are the visuals. As mentioned, the series has always been visually appealing but on Oculus Go the quality certainly jumps up a notch, with the dedicated LCD display offering a crisp, vivid image that’s not unpleasant to the eyes. This aids gameplay, with floating asteroids really popping out the screen and enemy fighters far easier to see.
The demo VRFocus tried didn’t actually include any of the online features, rather just a couple of the single player campaign missions. The first will be familiar to anyone who’s played the other Anshar Wars videogames, protect a large ship from incoming hostile fighters by taking them all out as quickly as possible. All in space and in a handy asteroid field.
Flight controls were still gaze based, so there’s lots of spinning around to do when dogfighting – thankfully Oculus provided swivel chairs – with the Oculus Go controller operating the weapon systems. The trigger fired the main gun, whilst the touchpad operated the lock-on missile. The trigger was fast and snappy, allowing for easy burst firing of the gun. The same couldn’t be said for the missile, with numerous chances to take down an enemy lost due to its refusal to fire when needed, requiring a sliding upward motion rather than a press.
The second location was ground-based, set inside a towering city. This level was much more of a challenge when it came to flying, as it was possible to weave through the skyscrapers when hunting or evading enemies. It must be said that gaze-based control schemes don’t quite lend themselves to this kind of tight gameplay, they’re fine in space, but in a city can prove to be somewhat vague and less than nimble.
Currently Anshar Online looks like it’s not going to break the series mould, merely refine it and up the ante with plenty on single-player missions and multiplayer options for that replay value. That’ll certainly be helped by the cross-platform support. As a showcase for Oculus Go Anshar Online certainly hits the mark, but it’ll need the support of Oculus Rift and Gear VR players to make half the title worthwhile.