Picture: First Contact Entertainment.
A tactical shooter without “real” reloading? Even on the PS VR 2? Fortunately, Firewall Ultra will get a hardcore mode later on after all.
Firewall Ultra is one of the most anticipated games for the Playstation VR 2. Its predecessor, Firewall Zero Hour, was already one of the best VR tactical shooters, and part 2 also received mostly “dazzling” previews thanks to fresh glare and lighting tricks in HDR. However, one detail of the previews caused massive irritation in the VR shooter community.
Unlike almost all other VR shooters, players did not have to take any action to change magazines. Instead, they simply reloaded automatically by pressing a button. Just like those flat games used to be, if anyone still remembers.
Hardcore update for PSVR 2
It’s no wonder that First Contact Entertainment CEO Hess Barber backtracked after the feedback. Under a “Gamertag VR” YouTube video, Barber announced a separate Ultra mode with manual reloading, but it will be added later.
“Year ‘Ultra Fashion’ is coming post-launch with manual reloads, friendly fire, and no aim assist for the hardcore players,” Barber said in the Youtube comments, “This will be a separate mode than our main public matchmaking. It is for pro players and it will not replace our current auto-reload mode. It will live alongside it for those that prefer that way to play.”
Even for me, as an arcade fan, manual reloading has become so second nature that I can hardly imagine it any other way. Fans of VR multiplayer shooters like Breachers or Pavlov place at least as much value on authentic handheld reloading and inventory handling.
After all, the carefully-planned use of weapons and ammunition is just as much a part of the tactics as the shooting. This is particularly true in dicey moments when these moves can cost the victory.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners 2, for example, wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t sometimes have to thread shells into the shotgun at the very last second. Into the Radius, I even found unexpected fun in meticulously cleaning the barrel. 1980s TV cop and gun fetishist Sledge Hammer would feel right at home in the world of today’s VR games.
Freedom of choice in VR shooters
As a fan of VR mechanics experiments, I planned to test the controls in Firewall Ultra without bias. Who knows – maybe the lightning-fast reloading and the nimble weapon selection via eye tracking will bring more speed to virtual reality. (To avoid nausea, movement in VR is much slower than in conventional shooters on the monitor.)
Still, I have to admit that I felt a great sense of relief when I read Barber’s announcement. There you go, now I can decide for myself which variant feels better in the end!
All that’s left is the agony of choice. And the worry that some gamers may have already moved on if the “Ultra Update” comes too late. So my suggestion to First Contact Entertainment is: better take a few more weeks and add manual reloading right at launch! Personally, I would gladly wait a few months longer for the game.
Firewall Ultra is in the works exclusively for Playstation VR 2 with an unspecified release date in 2023.