First-person shooters are like the caviar of gaming. They’re held in high regard and partaking makes you feel a step above the rest. But there certainly are people who aren’t going to like them. Even so, if you’re not into those types of games, you can play an FPS game and still enjoy yourself because they’re generally easy to pick up and play, and in most cases award instant gratification. Which, I guess, brings me to my point – Front Defense: Heroes epitomizes the feeling of a classic FPS, without making you feel like you’re at a complete disadvantage if you’re not a hardcore run and gun player.
Front Defense: Heroes from Fantahorn Studio, a Vive Studios a partner, has been around since December 2017, and since then it’s racked up some positive reviews from players and critics alike. While still in early access for HTC Vive, the game already offers polished gameplay with easy to learn mechanics and fast-paced, smooth action. I got the chance to try Front Defense: Heroes out this week, since the developers have now added smooth locomotion to the game – something that definitely felt missing before.
When the game first released last year, it only had one form of movement called V-movement which lets you press down on the trackpad to see your character move in the direction you’re pointing at, and as soon as you let go you’ll be instantly teleported there. I tried this form of movement first to get an idea of what Front Defense: Heroes was like before, and it definitely lent a halting, unnatural pace to the gameplay. Especially since the game reminded me of the early Call of Duty titles which offers fast-paced action where your sole concern is racking up as many kills as you can and deaths are a minor inconvenience. There’s definitely also some CS:GO influence here, since you’re trying to get your team to win the round and there’s at least one mission where you have to plant bombs in order to win.
Check out my gameplay video:
Right now, Front Defense: Heroes offers seven maps but only one main gameplay mode – try to get the most kills for your team or kill the whole enemy team before anyone can respawn. There is one map (the Armored Train map) that has another mode where you have to either try to blow up the train with three sticky bombs or try to defend it. Both are quite fun and fast-paced though. Especially now with the smooth locomotion, which adds a whole new feeling to the game. Instead of small long-winded encounters that has everyone moving around like old people at the mall, the gameplay now has a more natural feel to it that mobilizes you to play the way you want to.
Which could involve running around like a hooligan, gunning down anything that moves (like me) or sticking to the walls and camping it out. Either way, it was fun to experiment with the different guns and ways of approaching a fight on each of the maps.
The gameplay in Front Defense: Heroes is quite simple. You have one main gun that you manually reload with an infinite supply of ammo from a pack on your side. The reloading system is quick and painless and the magazine lights up whenever it’s empty which could be helpful but most of the time I just reloaded after firing a couple of shots anyway. There was also a pistol on my side which I rarely used but it was a nice to have I guess – though it can’t be reloaded as far as I could tell. Besides those, you also have access to grenades on you and other weapons like bazookas and turret guns scattered throughout the environments.
Overall, nothing felt complicated and even though I didn’t do the training (tutorial), everything was easy to understand and felt intuitive. There are also a few customization options like seeing enemy life bars and having crosshairs on or off.
I liked the simple mechanics of Front Defense: Heroes because it’s an easy game to get into for people like me who aren’t generally into first-person shooters. Plus it offered a hell of a lot of fun in short 5-minute rounds – which is perfect for VR parties or arcades.
So, hopefully, this game will get even better as it runs the early access course towards a full release. For now, it definitely shows promise for anyone who’s not looking for a serious FPS game or for when you’re in the mood for an alternative to the more involved VR shooters like Onward or Pavlov. Front Defense: Heroes is available now on Steam and Viveport for HTC Vive at $7.99.