While I might not be the best shooter around, I do love a good sniping game. Hell, I probably sank enough quarters into Silent Scope that I could have bought the cabinet outright. So yes, I will jump at the opportunity to spend countless hours sniping in VR. As luck would have it, Sniper Rust VR offers just that opportunity.
Brought to you by Zaturn Game Studio, this VR sniping game is an 18-chapter campaign against a rogue militia. As the most-skilled gun for hire around, it is up to you to take them down a peg. This game promises cutting-edge weaponry, a wide range of enemies, photo-realistic environments, and a killer soundtrack. Today, we are going to take a look at why none of those goals were achieved, due to a lack of fundamentals.
The core concept behind the game is pretty simple. Some bad dudes are up to no good and you’re just the sniper to end it before it gets out of hand. Mission intel is sent to your hideout, you pick the best tool for the job, and get to work.
Your hideout has a nice little shooting range for you to test out your weapons, a dog that barks at you, and a computer terminal. That terminal is where you get your mission brief, choose the weapon you want to use for the chapter, and start the mission.
You do get a little background for each chapter on your hideouts massive computer screen. It does manage to add a little flavor to the game but is ultimately forgettable. Unfortunately, no other story elements come into play at any time during the game. Just a blurb on a screen that reads like the back of a cereal box.
Into the Action
Sniper Rust is a stationary shooting gallery style game. Each chapter is broken down into a handful of levels and each one starts with a screen that tells you your objectives. It could be to kill a VIP, find and kill a sniper, or just kill everything. Actually, every level requires you to kill everything.
You load into the level, already in your shooting position, and gameplay starts when you take your first shot. The name of the game here is speed. You will need to take out all the targets as fast as possible because once the shooting starts, you will die pretty quick. For some reason, the world greatest sniper does not believe in using cover.
You do have an opportunity to locate some targets before taking your first shot, but most respond and come out of hiding afterwards. This does play out well in some game types, like eliminating a VIP. Unfortunately, no enemy locations change, so once you know where a guy pops out from, it can never be unknown. This and the lack of cover turns the game into a very basic shooting gallery with very little replay value.
All About the Guns
As a stationary game, all of our controls really revolve around interacting with the guns. You pick up and hold your rifle with both hands and look down the scope. Once you fire off all your rounds, the magazine ejects and you press a button to spawn a new one in your hand. To reload you just move the magazine to the well and it jumps in. After that you move over to your bolt and press another button to load the round.
Overall, the process of reloading feels awkward. Instead of using grabbing mechanics found in most VR games, we have buttons to press that perform the actions. It is slow, feels unnatural, and gets you killed. Worst still, is actually trying to use the rifles scopes to look down range.
Out of five rifles, only two had a scope that didn’t dance all over the place. I am not talking about the drift you might see in some shooting games. I mean the darn thing acts like it’s trying to adjust itself right out of your hands. I placed my controllers on the ground so they would be perfectly still, and the scope still seemed to want to move itself all over the place. Sad time to be a sniper.
Photorealistic Pig in Lipstick
Sniper Rust VR promises photorealistic graphics. This term is used very loosely here. The textures are low quality at best and looked to be ripped right out of a texture pack from 1995. The guns do look good, but that amounts to a pig in lipstick seeing as how they function so poorly.
The sound is not much better. You get very generic gunfire and ambient sounds. The soundtrack for the game is a strange choice as well. It is listed as being “orchestral” and does hold true to that. However, it is overly loud and loops a lot. It is like being stuck in a map loading screen for a Battlefield game.
Sniper Rust VR breaks one of my most fundamental rules here. They give the player absolutely no control over the experience. No sound options, no graphics options, you cant even select the chapter you want to play. Being forced to hear music in a game just sucks. Using fancy terms like photorealism to sell poor graphics is also kind of lame.
The Mission is Over
I am coming in pretty low on this one, but I feel like I have made my case as to why. This game fails to deliver on several fronts and results in an enjoyable experience. I will acknowledge that their is a downloadable demo, so players can see what they are getting into, and that is definitely for the best. However, this game demonstrates bad design, low quality finish, and questionable marketing.
Sniper Rust VR is available on Steam for $9.99 but is only playable on the Oculus Rift. Be sure and check out the demo before you buy and let me know what you think about the game. Happy hunting VR gamers!