Preview: Silicon Rising – A Glossy Yet Exasperating Shooter
Polished but frustrating experience.
Ahead of its early access release today, KUKRGAME’s stylish first-person shooter (FPS) Silicon Rising already had a notable introduction thanks to winning an award at the VRCORE Awards last year and being one of the few titles supporting NVIDIA’s Variable Rate Super Sampling (VRSS). Harking along the lines of Blood & Truth or Defector where each scene is a glossy action-packed sequence, Silicon Rising is a far more cut back affair with some awkward pacing.
Set in some futuristic cyberpunk style world where all the enemies are robots and you play some sort of elite agent tasked with taking down the bad guys – a rich narrative this is not – Silicon Rising has the feel of an old-school FPS with Time Crisis coming to mind.
Silicon Rising is very much what you see is what you get, an action-arcade experience and nothing more. The current Early Access build goes for as much variety as possible so while there are just five levels the team has tried to squeeze plenty out of the gameplay as possible, yet it does feel rigid and unforgiving at points. Oh and there’s plenty of trial and error, way too early on.
Instant impressions of Silicon Rising start really positive, it looks really good with some beautiful looking neon-lit city streets, offering a feeling of being in classic films like Blade Runner. The task at hand is to shoot everything, starting with a handgun which has infinite clips – it still needs reloading – and then as enemies are dispatched they’ll then drop other guns indicated with bright yellow icons. These can be shot to switch weapons, offering SMG’s, magnums and other powerful armaments.
These new guns don’t have the unlimited ammo feature so a tactical element is introduced as to whether you lose one particular weapon over another. You can dual wield but as you don’t have any inventory or holster of any sort there’s no switching between hands if you’d prefer a gun in a particular hand. The actual characteristics all work very nicely, with no issue with aiming at close or long-range. Which is needed as you get assaulted from almost every direction early on.
Silicon Rising could be classed as a wave shooter, with enemies appearing at allotted intervals. But most wave shooters tend to offer a 180-degree window of attack (Space Pirate Trainer) because you’re fixed in position. Well, in Silicon Rising you are fixed but you do need eyes in the back of your head. Enemies attack from a variety of directions in the first level, keeping you on your toes right from the off. There’s some scenery providing cover so you can duck and move a little, there’s no roomscale option, however.
Which means Silicon Rising ideally suits those who might not like running around in VR. Once all the robots are dead your position will then change slowly moving you through the scene. It’s not exactly groundbreaking gameplay but it all works well and you feel pumped and ready for the next high octane mission.
However, that all comes to a grinding stop, as what could have been a fluid action experience turns into a frustrating and tiresome one. Later levels jump back to the action with car chases but too early on the difficulty spikes, becoming highly repetitive in the process. It’s easy to see what KUKRGAME was going for by trying to add a slower paced section with a cool sniping sequence but it’s so punishing to the point of being off-putting. For this style of videogame, the sniper rifle might have been made a little too realistic, at maximum zoom – which is needed at certain points – if you’re not 100% rock steady then trying to get a body shot (let alone a headshot) is almost impossible. If there was an option to lay on the floor to remain steady then that might work.
Silicon Rising wants to be a fun-loving, gun-toting movie from the 80s. Where you don’t need to worry about any external complications and simply enjoy the experience. It almost does in a way and the possibility is there for the gameplay to shine. It’s still in Early Access so there’s time to sort some of these annoyances and create a title that could work well in both home and location-based venues as well.