Every time I play another VR game, I am regularly more and more impressed with the experiences that developers are releasing for the platform. It was only a matter of time until someone decided to translate the tactical shooter genre–games like Rainbow Six–into the immersive experience that is virtual reality. That’s exactly what Firewall Zero Hour is. I donned a headset and grabbed an aim controller to team up retrieve the data that our employer wanted.
In the four vs. four multiplayer, my team rallied around one another, infiltrating the mansion to find an access point and upload data from a laptop. Communication is key here. We moved together as a team, opting to breach through the front door. With no one in sight, we managed to take an access point and locate the laptop. At this point, the opposing team made themselves known, flanking from two sides. We managed to take one down, opening a path to the upstairs where the laptop was located.
Finding the laptop we began the download and hunkered down to defend the small bathroom from attack, and attack they did. It was an intense firefight from two directions, and while none of us dropped, we lost due to not getting upstairs to the laptop fast enough. Our download didn’t complete and the failure was inevitable.
On the next round, things immediately got a little more intense. We breached through a side door and set our sights on a nearby access point. Before locating the laptop, a massive firefight broke out with the opposing team. We dropped one of them, and while the rest of my team kept the other three busy, I crept upstairs to the bedroom and initiated the download on the laptop. After the transfer was started, I ran out to the atrium where the last enemy was dropping fire from above onto my teammates. Out of ammo for myself, I did the last thing I could think and hurled a grenade, sending the final opponent ragdolling through the air and ending the match victorious.
There’s certainly room for a bit of polish, but Firewall Zero Hour is still an incredibly immersive team experience. I’ve often found that virtual reality is even more immersive when other people are in there with you. Games like Werewolves Within and Star Trek Bridge Crew really offer a sense of presence, and Firewall channels that very feeling. There’s something special about shouting instructions at your squadmates, looking around to find enemies, and feeling like you’re actually on a breach and clear mission. Knowing that death won’t simply lead to a quick respawn nccessitates playing even more carefully, which again lends itself to the sense of realism and presence that virtual reality is best suited to.
I haven’t played with the DualShock 4, but the Aim Controller works well, tracking the gun precisely in-game, and further providing that feeling to players that they are actually there. It also allows for full locomotive movement, and though the PSX demo didn’t have it available, they will offer smooth turning instead of the snap-turning that helps prevent motion-sickness. I do think that much of Firewall will rely on the fun of getting a group of friends together to play, as communication leads to a much more interesting and immersive experience, but even online matches with random people could prove to be thrilling. I was sad to give up the headset when my session was done, but we won’t have to wait long to go hands on with it again. Firewall Zero Hour is scheduled for a 2018 release.
Firewall Zero Hour preview conducted at PlayStation Experience 2017.