Supermassive Games made an okay debut on PlayStation VR with Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, but it was clear that the studio was working with new technology. That hasn't stopped the developer from trying to show what Sony's virtual reality headset can do with The Inpatient. That game didn't take the world by storm, though, so we had hoped that the Until Dawn creator had listened to feedback and made some improvements in time for its latest attempt, Bravo Team. Unfortunately, it seems as though the studio has done the opposite.
Let's start with the core concept. You're trapped behind enemy lines trying to complete your mission, working with either an AI partner or another player online. Supermassive has already shown that it can make clichéd stories work, but that's not the case this time around. The story is extremely predictable and our partner's personality is drier than the Sahara desert. This made it very difficult to care about the story and characters, so our big hope was that the gameplay would make up for it.
That hope developed a crack the very second we entered the fictional Eastern European city Bravo Team takes place in. Everything just seemed a little off. The Inpatient had problems with the sense of scale and controls, but Bravo Team takes it to another level. We're like giants in this world, which makes it all the more strange that the hundreds of enemy clones barely, if at all, react to our shots. One of the reasons for this is that it feels like someone has sabotaged our crosshairs. Having an enemy right in the middle of our sights didn't necessarily mean that our bullets would hit home, nor that actually hitting them would feel impactful. There are four different weapons in the game, and the shotgun is the only weapon that even gets close to feeling good. Immersion is pretty much everything in virtual reality, so this lessens the experience a lot.
The presentation and artificial intelligence don't exactly do anything to change matters either. Do you remember the grey and brown games we got in the mid to late 2000s? Bravo Team looks like it would have fit right in back then. Making our way through dark and dreary streets and hallways for three hours isn't fun, especially when we're standing still and shooting most of the time, as this is a cover-based shooter where we can't move freely, and instead of running and gunning you'll instead select one of the marked areas near cover. This also introduces an interesting design decision; many similar VR games just teleport us to the chosen area, but Bravo Team has another solution. Selecting an area takes us to a third-person view where we can see our character automatically running towards it. This might be an attempt to avoid the nausea that some players feel when playing in VR, so it's rather unfortunate that it also removes the last feelings of immersion we had (and it's also prone to different glitches).