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Wanted Killer VR Early Access Review

Wanted Killer VR blasted its way onto the Steam store recently, offering Early Access  purchasers some high-octane shooting. I’m happy to report that the Playsnak-developed title offers a lot of bang for your buck, especially considering its low price tag. The title has you fill the role of Ricky, a gunslinger who quickly won me over by doing a variation of the bubblegum line from They Live. (Anyone who quotes 80s action movies is immediately pandering to my tastes.)

Ricky has a choice of four starting pistols that are unlocked with stars earned during missions. These four weapons are the Burst, Dead Eye, Freeze, and Shield pistols that all have secondary fires that do exactly what their names suggest. The aforementioned stars are earned by completing secondary objectives throughout the levels. Simply completing a stage will earn you one star, but completing the stage with 50% headshots or a high score, for instance, will earn you two to three stars. This rewards system has two problems: One, the Matrix-esque shootouts feel like a slo-mo infused ballet of sorts loses its chaotic edge when you’re constantly slowing down to line up headshots. Secondly, at the moment, there’s not much incentive to earn the unlockable pistols. The best weapon is easily the yellow machine gun that most enemies carry, so you may kill one or two enemies with your starting pistols before you ditch them for something with a little more stopping power.

WHAT SHINES

Once you focus on killing in the most stylish way possible and forget the secondary objectives is when Wanted Killer VR shines. Thanks to a unique teleportation mechanic, wherein you glide towards your last-killed enemy and time slows down, you’re able to effectively take on multiple enemies while constantly moving. You can also use standard free locomotion, or teleport like most titles, but the sliding slo-mo teleportation is so fun that you’ll never miss an opportunity to use it. Levels (of which there are three) are open and large enough that you’ll make good use of space in these arenas. However, this comes at a cost: in the subway level there are a number of frame rate issues, especially when looking at the entire map from a vantage point.

WHAT DOESN’T SHINE

As great as the gameplay is, one minor annoyance is that there is no way to turn off the cursor that shows where your guns are aiming. HUD crosshairs aren’t very immersive in VR. While they certainly help to line up headshots if you’re going for those, I’d much prefer the option to turn them off and rely purely on skill to land shots. Similarly disappointing is the soundtrack, which is on the generic side. It’s nothing terrible, but is pretty standard orchestrated-electronic music that a lot of action titles have. Meanwhile, the sound effects are pretty solid and have a decent impact to them.

MODES

There two modes currently offered are campaign and survival. Campaign-mode objectives usually boil down to collecting ketcards or defending zones for a certain amount of time. Survival is what you’d expect, with waves of endless enemies to blast away, making it an excellent way to blow off some steam.

What does it look like?

Presentation-wise, Wanted Killer VR knocks it out of the park. The starting area where you select your missions and weapons is a massive tower that you stand in the middle of to view the enemies currently in the game, as they line the circular walls. Enemies that will be implemented in the future — as the title progresses through Early Access — are also on the walls. Everything has a cartoonish style, with a slick, cel-shaded look. Another subtle (but impressive) touch is that the pictures of the levels you can choose appear at first to be 2D screenshots, but as you move your head, you realize there’s depth to these images. This attention to detail shows the developers were committed to making the most of VR’s depth-perception benefits.

7

The Verdict: Great

Wanted Killer VR does exactly what it needs to do. It provides plenty of stylish action for the asking price, and delivers it with a unique look and a decent amount of polish. While some of its features, such as the secondary objectives, are at odds with the chaotic gameplay, that’s easily overlooked when you’re popping headshots in slow motion. This Early Access title is killer.

Caleb Bailey
Written by
June 12, 2018
Published in FPS

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Caleb is a game reviewer who is way more of a nostalgic curmudgeon than any 25 year old has any right to be. He enjoys shooters, open world games and is a huge believer in virtual reality's potential. His guilty pleasure movie of choice is The Neverending Story which he still shamefully watches because it was his childhood favorite. He hopes to one day ride Falkor the Luckdragon in VR because that is what he means when he says virtual reality has potential.

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