When you think about Greek gods, gorgons, oracles, and Spartans do you not think of great wars and amazing feats? Indeed that’s what I think about whenever mention of the old myths and stories come to mind. So what would it be like, then, to become one of these great Spartans? As a big Titan Quest fan, I was hoping Spartan VR would be the game that brought that awesome theme to the forefront in VR. Something that shows me how fast I can get my heart pumping while amassing great deeds. However, the gameplay was certainly lacking in that regard.
Spartan VR is an action RPG from Immergity that released on Steam Early Access on August 25th for Vive and Rift. The game, which is going for $13.99 and is also available through Viveport, takes you to four different locations where you – as a mighty spartan – get to defeat hideous creatures in search of glory. I tried the game on the Vive, only, I didn’t feel so mighty and glorious as I’d hoped I would. Spartan VR offers both teleportation and arm-swinging locomotion.
Check out the trailer below:
Long Live the Spartan
First-off, RPG implies that there is some form of exploration, storyline, and looting involved. None of these features are present in Spartan VR, so that left the action. Still, I’m sure the actual story elements are in the making, since the game just released in EA. For its part, the action delivered as promised – in the sense that it’s there.
So there are four areas in Spartan VR, each different from the other, but all of them lovingly crafted. The environments were easily what I loved most about Spartan VR. Starting with a well-designed main menu that you can move around in and a user interface that forms part of the environment in the forms of dials and buttons on a slab of stone. The four arenas available in the game wasn’t closed off so I could visit whichever I wanted in any order I liked. This seemed a bit counterintuitive since I didn’t know if any was harder than the others and there didn’t seem to be any sort of story progression – or progression of any kind for that matter – connected to the arenas. So starting off, I just entered one at random.
The arenas all started out empty, except for myself. Even the one with the ships which seemed strange. Then as soon I picked up a weapon, the enemies would suddenly start appearing. Currently, there are only two types of enemies in the game, minotaurs, and gorgons. They all looked the same, fought the same, and moved the same. When I died and went back to the same arena again, I found that they also appeared in the same places in the same order. So they weren’t threatening after a while since I knew exactly where and when they would appear, and also exactly what they would do.
Something Feels a Bit Lacking
The fighting had some variation in terms of the weapons I was allowed to use. Sometimes it was two swords, or an ax, spears, or a sword and a shield. The minotaurs would all slash at me robotically and all I had to do was try to parry and slash them back. Unfortunately, this didn’t always work since half the time it felt like I was parrying but their weapons just went through me anyway. Other times my weapons would go through them without any damage being done. So, in the end, the best strategy that worked for me was to just blindly swing my arms as fast as I could in the hopes that I would hit them enough before they felled me.
Currently, there’s also no score or otherwise indication of progression in the game. The enemies gave off some sort of energy that I sucked up when they died and this seemed to make my weapon glow every now and then. But I’m still not sure what exactly this did since nothing in my attack really seemed to change. A tutorial that explains this – as well as how to parry and slash – would have been welcoming. What’s more is that the waves of enemies in each arena just went on indefinitely until I became overwhelmed and died. So there’s no sense of accomplishment in the game.
Overall, I would say that Spartan VR has all the makings to be a great title with more content, progression mechanics, better hitboxes, and better enemy AI. For now though, if you’re looking to become a mighty spartan, I’d suggest you either stick to a classic like Titan Quest or burn off some murderous gladiator steam in something like GORN.