After releasing on Early Access in July 2016, Raw Data became not only one of the first commercial VR shooters, but it quickly grew to become known as one of the best. This is not only because of the way it pleases you visually, but also because of the rewarding battle mechanics and satisfying fast-paced shooting.
Now, after more than a year in Early Access, Survios finally felt confident enough in Raw Data to release the game fully on Steam. The game is now available for $39.99. We reviewed Raw Data back when it was still in Early Access, and felt that we needed to review the game again now that it’s seen its full release. I played the full game using Vive and was awed with how polished certain aspects of the game is, while also being left confused with the lingering bugs and unfinished (or at least left forgotten) parts of the game.
Check out my gameplay video of the first mission below:
Let’s Get This Story Started
Starting off, I have to reiterate what everyone else is saying – Raw Data is an extremely impressive title, visually. Story-wise it also succeeded in keeping me entertained, the main interaction being between a non-present Syndik8 hacker and an AI companion. The story is also told through the data you gather during your missions. Though Survious has drawn quite a bit of attention to the lore of the world that Eden Corp has created, I found that the story wasn’t as much of a main feature as I would have liked. It seemed to be more of an optional feature that you could dig into if you wanted than a big part of the game.
The humor, on the other hand, was not so subtle, but it did help to offset the game’s dark theme. Although gameplay-wise the narrative did get a little stale during missions when the hacker that was helping me kept getting control of the system then losing it, round after round. Meaning that I had to fight off robots while she tried to wrestle back control of the system. This in itself isn’t a problem, but hearing “I’ve lost control of the system!” for the fifth time in the span of a few minutes gets old pretty quickly.
Replay Value Included
The game has four unique playable characters, each with their own fighting styles and special abilities. I enjoyed trying out each of them and finding those that fit my playstyle a bit better. Though the weapons are pretty basic in terms of generality, such as pistols, a shotgun, katana, and bow, the developers have made it fun using them through special abilities. These include being able to throw the katana and have it come back to you, boomerang style, or punching enemies with a supercharged fist. These are only the base abilities of the individual characters, however, and more can be unlocked as you progress through the game.
Something like jumping into the air to come back down with a shockwave is commonplace after a while. But it still feels amazing to do. Partly due to the merits inherent in VR, and partly due to the great forethought and care that had to have gone into formulating and developing these abilities.
The game adds a lot of replay value due to the different characters and their abilities, even though you’ll be doing the same missions. I’ve found that facing off against the same bots can still be a lot different going from one character to another. The gameplay is also kept fresh with different types of enemies coming for you from all directions at any given time. Even the environments helps to keep you on your toes, for example, there’s one mission where lightning randomly strikes and you have to act fast or get singed along with your enemies.
No, Your Gran Won’t Be Able to Keep Up With This Game
The gameplay in Raw Data is very fast-paced, which can be quite overwhelming at first. Though luckily the game has a great tutorial system to get you into the flow of things. The game also does a great job of giving you a “break” between missions by letting you rest in a safe zone while you upload the ‘raw data’ you’ve uncovered and go through the content. Not to mention the great voice acting of the previously mentioned characters.
Overall though, the gameplay simply consists of facing off against waves of increasingly aggressive robots while performing some simple interactive actions such as pulling a lever. Or sometimes moving an object. For the most part, however, this game is a wave shooter through and through. Which might make some people go “Aw, hell nah!”, but before you do, just make note that what this game does is set the bar for all other wave shooters out there.
That being said. It’s not without its faults. I noticed that the hitboxes were quite faulty, especially when playing with the katana. The teleportation locomotion, which is the only option during campaign mode, was also buggy at times. Which is strange for a fully released title after more than a year in EA.
Multiplayer Your Behind Off
While the ten campaign missions do a great job of entertaining you through flamboyant fight scenes, it’s the multiplayer that really closes the deal on this game. Having someone else to fight off the robots in the co-op mode is extremely fun. But the even better adrenaline-pumping experience is the 5v5 PVP mode in king-of-the-hill battles on various maps. What makes the multiplayer even more compelling, though, is that here you can switch from teleportation to free locomotion with the trackpad. Which offers a much smoother and immersive experience.
In the end, Raw Data is a prime example of what a wave shooter should be in VR and it sets the standard for the genre. However, in the end, it is still just a wave shooter (PVP mode excluded) and with that comes certain limitations and repetitive gameplay mechanics that will put many off. Still, if you’re looking for a memorable experience with great visuals and dynamic gameplay, then Raw Data is what you need.