Battlezone from Rebellion was absolutely one of the best PlayStation VR (PSVR) launch titles when Sony’s headset launched late last year. It combined the immersive power of sitting in a cockpit in VR with the thrill of engaging in intense combat all wrapped up in a retro-futuristic vibe that bled 80s nostalgia. The original Battlezone was re-envisioned through the lens of a Tron-like dystopia.
When we heard that the tank combat game would finally be making its way to the more powerful PC-powered Rift and Vive headsets, we were excited to take it for a spin. The beta has been running strong for the past week (it ended yesterday) and after spending some time with it, we’re coming away very happy with where the title is headed.
Fundamentally it’s the exact same game. You still sit forward-facing in a chair with no need to move your head more than 180-degrees. You still have a controller in your hand (I played on an Oculus Rift mostly using an Xbox One controller, although there is motion controller support) and you still play through a semi-randomized assortment of levels for each campaign. But it just feels better to play this time around.
The PSVR is the least powerful of the big three VR devices and a side-by-side comparison of Battlezone on Sony’s headset and then Oculus’ headset really proves that point. Textures are much higher resolution and everything from shadows to lighting are improved. The feeling of reaching out and interacting with the console inside a futuristic super tank via motion controller will be surreal for players, but I think the most reliable and effective way to play the game will still be with a trusty gamepad.
For those that passed on following Battlezone since it was only on PSVR previously, the game lets you play with up to four total other players. You can play alone with AI partners, search for people online, or play with friends, but no matter which you pick communication is extremely important. Combat is fast and intense, but also incredibly tactical. Maneuvering the battlefield and knowing when to use your turbo to slide out of the way of enemy fire is extremely important.
Instead of playing through a series of predefined missions, the game is actually procedurally generated as well. You can adjust the game length and difficulty before starting, then a board is created with various missions, events, and objectives spread across. This way no two games are ever the same. As you play you can unlock new weapons, customize your tank, and take ownership of your journey to topple the enemy.
What we played felt about as close to finalized as you can get for an unreleased game. For more information about Battlezone you can read our original review here and look forward to a release on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive very soon.
What do you think of this game finally making its way to PC VR headsets? Let us know down in the comments below!