There are lots of really, really good VR shooters on the market. From Onward, which offers extremely realistic simulation-style gameplay, to Pavlov, which is a bit of a Counter-Strike clone, and even War Dust, which delivers Battlefield-scale 64-player matches there is something for everybody — even fans of zero-gravity environments via Echo Combat. Now the latest offering to come out and find success is Contractors, from Caveman Studio, which offers something that’s sort of a middle-ground between Onward and Pavlov with a mixture of realistic gun mechanics and fast-paced gameplay.
Admittedly after spending a lot of time in Firewall Zero Hour on PSVR using the Aim controller lately, it took a bit of re-learning the PC VR ropes when I first jumped into Contractors on livestream. I’ve got a Pro Tube now, which should help, because trying to aim steadily with two disconnected VR controllers isn’t easy.
The first thing that really helps set Contractors apart is the polish. For a game that’s only been out in Early Access for less than a month it already rivals other VR shooters that have been on the market for literally years. Visually it looks excellent, especially inside the headset, with great production values like reflections and shadows and high-quality textures. Mechanically it feels good to manipulate guns and the variety of loadout options is really satisfying.
On a pure gameplay level it’s so much faster than the other well-known VR shooters out there. Not only can you enable always sprinting, but if you crouch in real life while sprinting your character will slide across the ground for some really stylish take downs. The sound design is lacking a bit in comparison to non-VR shooters like Battlefield and Insurgency, but on the VR front it doesn’t get a lot better in terms of presentation right now for a modern-style military VR FPS.
The last time I played there was only a single game mode that played out similar to a variation on the classic Control game type. On each of four maps a waypoint spawns that your team needs to hustle to and camp on while you claim it. Once claimed, you get points for your team. If another team takes you out and claims it instead, they get the points. The waypoint will shuffle between three or four different spots on the map and the first team to claim enough waypoints is the winner.
It’s a good game mode that keeps the flow of battle moving around the map rather than getting congested at just a single choke point as you see often in Team Deathmatch or static Control game modes. Since then they’ve also introduced a Team Deathmatch mode as well, which should be great for a shooter with this level of speed and intensity.
Other than that it’s all about the little details. Reloading feels really good and satisfying, aiming down sights and scopes is immersive, and there is a litany of options to adjust gameplay features and comfort in the settings. In terms of pound for pound value, Contractors is near the top of the pile right now.
Most matches are 5v5 affairs and games are always filling up at all hours which is a very good sign. You can play with just bots as well if you want to practice solo. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be any co-op game modes or single-player mission-type options. It’s all just variations of the same multiplayer modes, so maybe they can expand that in the future.
Contractors is currently available on Steam for $19.99 with support for Rift, Vive, and Windows PC VR headsets. Support seems strong for the developer as they’ve already started releasing content updates such as Christmas-themed maps and decorations.
Let us know what you think of the game down in the comments below!