Review: Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot
Rather tame Nazi-killing action.
Nazi’s, they’ve become a staple videogame enemy over the years and nobody does it better than the Wolfenstein franchise. Entries such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and – the soon to be released – Wolfenstein: Youngblood show the series is just as popular as ever, so the chance of diving into that world in virtual reality (VR) seems too good to miss. Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot offers its own unique viewpoint on this alternate universe, completely tailored to VR yet it’s missing that certain magic.
Set in 1980s Paris, the premise behind Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is that you play a skilled hacker employed by the resistance to fight the Nazi’s by turning their own war machines against them. So rather than going face to face with squads of enemy troops you’re sat in a remote location controlling a selection of robots.
At your disposal are three machines, a small flying drone, a rather nasty looking Panzerhund and the Zitadelle, a giant mech to stomp around in. Each machine is given its own level and three unique abilities to complete the various objectives. Starting with the Panzerhund in the city streets this four-legged monster can breathe fire (for some reason), charge and bash into enemies or release a short-range electrical charge. While the Zitadelle has a massive Gatling cannon on one arm and a rocket launcher on the other – plus a short duration shield. While these can cause so serious death and destruction, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot never feels very intense or brutal in any way.
Enemies go up in flames, a few cars explode but due to the fact that you’re looking down on most enemies – apart from other Zitadelle’s – inside a cockpit of sorts, there’s a proper disconnection with the action going on around you. And it just doesn’t feel as brutal as a Wolfenstein videogame should. Yes, the streets of Paris do look the part, but where’s the blood and carnage?
It must be said that developers Arkane Studios and Machine Games have tried to ensure Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is as comfortable as possible, hence the fact you’re always in a cockpit where you can still see panels and other controls. This setup does mean several other interactive elements are in play which lends themselves to VR gaming. Actions such as hitting a big red button to unleash your third ability, or to heal your robot after an intense battle one of the digitally represented controllers have to be docked to start the process.
All the machine movement is smooth locomotion, however, so those particularly sensitive to VR motion may need to be wary. There are options to help, such as snap rotation and vignette should they be needed. The two ground-based robots are easy to handle, the drone, on the other hand, has a lot more up/down, and side to side motion to deal with.
The drone segment of Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot does nicely break up the action, giving you plenty more to think about. You can stealthily kill guards and hack terminals, with the level much slower in pace. This level also has the greatest flexibility for just wandering about. The Panzerhund and Zitadelle levels are very, very linear – there are no split routes – but at least they’re not on rails.
Because of this, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is short. It took a couple of hours to complete and there was anything to draw you back for another round. It almost seemed like a fleshed-out tech demo of sorts, with only four levels in total.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot has some good ideas which would be great if the developers explored them more. The storyline kept things moving along nicely and the sections in between the main levels were pleasant enough, especially for a first time VR player. Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot could’ve been so much more, yet it’s short lifespan and lack of additional content will make it a play once and forget experience.