The beauty of virtual reality (VR) first-person shooters (FPS) is that they can be far more natural in their design layout and implementation than standard videogames. There are far less complicated button layouts to worry new players as you can have a trigger for firing your gun and then grab for almost everything else. Yet some experiences like to try and change things up a little, playing around with the norm – for better or worse. It’s the latter that Special Force VR: Infinity War seems to have taken upon its Early Access release.
Essentially a VR reimagining an old PC title from 2004, Special Force, the title is being developed by Korean teams Reality MagiQ and Dragonfly. Special Force VR: Infinity War is a military-style experience that’s primarily focused on multiplayer combat. While it does state single-player compatibility on Steam, this is purely in the form of AI inside multiplayer maps.
Which is fine. It means you can jump into a match without having to worry about waiting for real players to arrive, they can actually spawn into a running match if there are positions available – up to eight players can compete. However, there’s no difficulty setting that VRFocus could find, so the AI doesn’t go easy on anyone which can be a baptism of fire as you get used to the controls.
The controls are where things get interesting/frustrating. As discussed in the first paragraph, usually videogames of this ilk will have a system involving waist-mounted guns and interactive reloading of some sort. Special Force VR: Infinity War has none of this. Each character can hold a main and secondary weapon, switched using the face buttons which works reasonably well. Reloading on the other hand – or more accurately manual reloading – still needs plenty of attention. The easiest way is to finish the clip and let the weapon auto-reload. Which is never ideal in a firefight. There’s no way to grab and remove a clip plus you don’t have anywhere to select another clip from. Pressing the trigger in the clips vicinity seems to work, just not 100 percent of the time.
There are VR titles that want to tune you into the experience and environment by doing away with HUD information. This would look to be the case with Special Force VR: Infinity War as the only info is an ammo count on the gun. Yet for some unknown reason, the match timer is in bright white, ticking away at the top of your vision – you can see it in the videos and screenshots. That annoyingly stays there the entire duration. Ideally, if there’s no HUD then there’s no HUD, so put that sort of info on a watch which can easily be looked at without ruining the immersion.
Movement is another bone of contention. It’s purely direct, smooth locomotion so for those that do suffer there’s a heavy vignette available (not adjustable). The problem is that it just doesn’t have the fluidity and accuracy this style of videogame needs. It can be controller or head-based allowing for some adaptability, however, much like the reloading; switching between walking and running was erratic at best. You’re only hope of surviving if spotted out of cover is the brutal recoil, even when holding a rifle with both hands.
Even with that negative stuff being said it’s good to see a reasonable selection of options at this early stage, with three modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Demolition, while each of the four has several load-outs to choose from, such as assault rifles, sniper rifles, SMG’s, and pistols. Plus there’s a shooting range to test everything out.
Special Force VR: Infinity War has lots of little issues throughout at this stage. It’s not bad or completely unplayable, just very rough in its present form. Going after the Onward/Pavlov VR/Contractors crowd won’t be easy, this is very tough company to be in, all three of which are still Early Access titles themselves. If Reality MagiQ and Dragonfly can sort out the more glaring issues quickly, then Special Force VR: Infinity War might become the competitive esports experience it is trying to be.