Picture: First Contact Entertainment.
Will Firewall Ultra be the PS VR 2 counterpart to Rainbow Six Siege or Counter-Strike 2? First impressions praise the new blend mechanics.
In the VR shooter Firewall Ultra for Playstation VR 2, you can switch weapons with your eyes. One look at the weapon wheel, one press of a button, and you have a new item or gun in your hands. Early access reviews reveal more about the VR tactical shooter, its eye-tracking tricks, and its glare effects.
The Playstation blog also has fresh information about the gameplay. For example, eye tracking with one eye open comes into play when aiming at enemies. After targeting an enemy team member, the technology aligns the scope so that it is as precise as possible in front of the open eye.
Eye tracking in the PS VR 2 shooter
Developer First Contact Entertainment already oriented itself with tactical shooters like Counter-Strike or Rainbow Six Siege with Firewall Zero Hour for the first Playstation VR. The PS VR 2-exclusive sequel is also primarily about multiplayer matches between two teams of four on winding maps.
Two teams of mercenaries use gunplay and tech gadgets to either capture or protect a laptop containing sensitive information. The switch to Unreal Engine 5 should allow for much more beautiful backgrounds on Sony’s new VR headset.
One new feature of the VR game immediately catches the eye, quite literally. Both stun grenades and enemy flashlights blind the player. To avoid the short-term effect, the light beam can be shielded with virtual hands via motion control. Alternatively, it helps to look away or close your eyes. The VR headset detects when the eyelids are closed and implements this accordingly in the game.
UploadVR: “New experience in consumer VR”.
For Ian Hamilton of UploadVR, these blending mechanics were a highlight of the trial game. Although the image is not yet as brilliant as in Meta’s experimental HDR headset “Starburst”, the implementation is already convincing with the HDR screen of the PS VR 2.
All of this contributes to a new tactical experience, he said. Hamilton was not yet able to throw grenades via eye-tracking in a meaningful way. A planned tutorial should make this easier later.
There is no information yet about the PvE mode against computer opponents. No release date has been set either. However, “if it arrives before Christmas there’s a good chance Firewall Ultra will serve as a major draw for players to adopt Sony’s second-generation VR platform in both 2023 and the years to come.”
Venturebeat: “The experience is smooth.”
Venturebeat’s Dean Takahashi, after his trial play, also praises the dynamic lighting, which allows for raids from the shadows. In his review, he also mentions another eye-tracking mechanic. If you stare at enemies long enough, you mark them that way for the whole team.
He sees problems in the repetitive environments on the twisted oil rig as well as when using some weapons. Because he couldn’t align the sights precisely, Takahashi started shooting from the hip at some point.
The rest of the controls, on the other hand, were fluid and pleasantly classic, instead of being cumbersome like in some other VR games. He changed weapons and reloaded quickly and easily at the push of a button. The comfort level was also exemplary, so Takahashi didn’t feel any nausea.
IGN: “Still a bit messy”.
According to IGN.com’s Ryan McCaffrey, the trial game still suffered from technical and handling shortcomings at times: “Every Operators’ arms flailed about wildly, many players floated a foot above the ground, and two-handed weapon holding didn’t feel quite right.”
Overall, however, McCaffrey’s impression is positive. He also reports a very comfortable implementation and memorable gameplay moments thanks to the new glare options.
More will be revealed
More information about the new maps, rules, surveillance cameras, and the in-game currency “Crypto” can be found on the Playstation blog. There you can also find details about the hero abilities as well as the equipment sets, each of which consists of two weapons and two items (explosive or defensive).