Tanks for the memories.
Growing up playing videogames has always been a part of my life to include arcade experiences. As consoles improved, arcades had to do things a bit differently to get folks returning, making interaction with their games a focus. Either via a motion seat or visor, it pulled players into the experience more so then a console could. Using technology players couldn’t have in their own home, there has been some great games that took advantage and got consumers to go back to the arcades. With PS VR, Sony has brought that type of experience one step closer. Battlezone proves how to take a solid action game and make it feel grand, even if it’s a bit limited in scope.
Sit tight and fire
Battlezone is a classic franchise, but one that hasn’t been a focus in a long time, so it’s good to see it returning. It’s a perfect example of an old franchise getting a breath of life with new technology. The core gameplay sticks to its roots.
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
Multiplayer: 1-4 co-op
How long to beat: 5+ hours
Players land in the cockpit seat of a huge tank, using turrets and rockets to take down other tanks, flying enemies, and even strong boss like enemies. Moving around in these futuristic neon like worlds never felt more real.
The game itself is surprisingly built almost as a rogue like experience. Every time players start, the objective is to make it from one side of the map screen to another. With each stop providing a level focusing on a different goal. While the main idea is overall to kill every enemy on the screen, sometimes it will be taking down a base or protecting a group. These get thrown in the mix of overall missions so eventually players will see everything the game has to offer objective wise fairly quickly. The challenge is high too, as ammo is extremely limited granted one base weapon is infinite, it’s weak. Upgrade and unlocks are achieved as players progress, but it’s the only thing kept upon death as it forces players to start all over on their tank run.
Visually, the game reminds me of something like Tron with bright neon colors and sky high vistas. Dashing around, with enemies on the ground and up in the sky is extremely smooth and the presence of being in an actual tank is there. I also kept getting the sensation I was on a wild amusement park ride. Maybe because of the sideways movement and the viewpoint of the cockpit being in the forefront. It was a blast to take down other tanks and enemies, with some great effects when they blow up, resulting in a satisfying feeling every time an enemy is killed.
Cathartic but lacking
Battlezone is a perfect game to play on the new PS VR to show what it’s capable of and how it can make players feel as if they are really in a tank, blasting enemies. It’s an arcade like experience though, extremely challenging and if this thing required quarters, players would run out fairly quickly. Luckily we can replay as much as we want, but it still comes with a high price. $59.99 is a bit much for what content is offered. The 4 player co-op is extremely fun and at times feels essential due to the difficulty, but it still can be a blast playing alone. Though I feel folks are paying half for the game and the other half for the experience. A cheaper price would have definitely given it a bit more legs. As it stands, it’s a great showpiece for VR tech at launch.
Did it make me sick: I did feel a bit light headed the first few rounds, but afterward things seemed normal.
Favorite moment: Scratching by, barely making it a round. It’s extremely satisfying.
Worst moment: Dying due to the difficulty and realizing it’s time to start over. More like time to take a break.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.