Lets check out a review from one of our new writers, Dan!
Bravo Team launched to mixed reviews recently. When it got it’s first play at E3 2017 it looked like we were getting PSVR’s first mainstream, modern-warfare styled FPS which offered a tactical element in the form of a team mate. The developer, SuperMassive games are no stranger to success in these formats. With titles like KillZone HD on PS3 and UntilDawn: Rush of Blood they have credibility in both VR and FPS camps and there was a lot of hype surrounding this game.
It looked like VR fans and flat-gamers may finally be joined by a genre-spanning title. First Person Shooter’s aren’t for everyone, but maybe this would be the one thing to join PS4 gamers together. However, when the inevitable questions came, it became apparent that those 3rd person scene cuts in the trailer aren’t just there for effect. They were an inherent part of the game and that there was no free movement. Many VR games have had the debate of teleport or free movement and it looked like this one was on the losing side.
It looked like Bravo Team might offer a different stye of game play and different isn’t always worse.
The problem is that better isn’t always better either.
Bravo Team is a traditional First Person Shooter with a tactical element, in as much as you can tell your team mate where to go, to offer covering fire, or to take an alternative route to an objective. Your partner can be AI or human controlled. There is a traditional story mode which takes about 3 hours to go through and it has a number of alternative endings. There is also a score attack mode where you can practise and improve your shooting skills
Bravo Team deals with a lot of the issues which have plagued recent FPS games. You are not a superhuman capable of immense jumps or wall runs, an exoskeleton wearing killing machine equipped with a bristling array of weapons, drones, grenades and computers. This game is a stripped back FPS. You are part of a two-man team equipped with (initially) an assault rifle and silenced pistol, traversing through a range of maps to get to your target destination and dealing with the enemies along the way.
Games like Call of Duty have been criticised for being an “on-the-rails” FPS with a linear route through the maps, no decision making or options and with a lack of enemy AI. In these areas Bravo Team has somehow managed to make these problems even more apparent. The maps are small and offer very few route options. There is no clear objective, whether it’s a marker or compass to head towards and this means there is no real sense of achievement in clearing an area. Your team mate does what they’re told, regardless of enemy movements and its easy to find yourself right next to an enemy with only a barrel separating you and no recognition on their part that you’re there.
Audio and Graphics
As a game, Bravo Team succeeds in delivering involving gun battles and soundtrack. The radio calls, explosions and gun fire is enough to put you in the middle of the engagement and the visuals are as good as any other PSVR game and is enhanced for PS4 Pro. On a standard PS4 the graphics look good, although lack clarity on images with a longer draw distance, there are times when there is a delay in some of the closer textures appearing leaving you with slab walls or floors until the details appear. The frame rate holds up and things move along at a good pace, without judder or screen-tear.
But VR is about immersion and freedom and that is where this title completely fails to deliver.
The guns appear large and your body always seemed to be at weird angle and too large. The crouch controls mean that half the time the floor feels to close to you and like the floor level needed adjusting. The breakaway to 3rd person every time you move is alright the first few times, but it happens even if you are only moving a few feet and it completely breaks the illusion. Ammo can only be picked up from crates, not fallen foes and there is no option to pick up alternative weapons from them either. When you move from one map area to another, there is a load screen and the environment is on no way destructible. If the absence of a HUD is intended to make the game more realistic it only succeeds in making the map confusing to traverse.
Games can be forgiven a lot of things if the gameplay is strong enough to carry it and the world big enough to lose yourself in. But Bravo Team struggles on both counts. A lot of people will like this game. It isn’t bad, but it hasn’t lived up to the expectations of an audience hungry to put themselves into a VR FPS. Where Bravo Team shows real promise is in the Close Quarters combat stages of the game. Clearing the office block and seeing the screens smash and spark as bullets fly adds a welcome element of fun to this game and masks the unnecessary movement issues in earlier stages. The CQB parts of this game are more fun and fast paced than the lengthy street and plaza sections and shows what it is capable of. Quickly switching cover and fire with your team mate is exciting and the shotgun introduces a welcome change of pace as the enemies become increasingly difficult.
There is a growing attitude to hating on games that don’t meet their hype and it’s important to look at Bravo Team for what it is. As a game it succeeds in taking you through battlefields and letting you make tactical decisions on how and when to kill enemies, but as a VR experience it fails to draw you in or let you explore. There is no sense of awe, or discovery that other, sometimes older, PSVR titles deliver.
Bravo Team is available as a bundle with the Aim Controller and it is a good use of that hardware and good value for money, but it could have been so much more.
Bravo Team definitely improves as you move further into the game and offers a platinum for trophy-hunter gamers. It was a fun FPS, but ironically for a PSVR title lacked any depth. The later stages show the potential the game has with faster pace and more weapon range but it comes a long way into the game.
Bravo Team on PSVR gets a Silver Thumb Culture Award. It is not an essential game, but is a good example of the PSVR and AIM controllers potential.