Contractors is a military-themed VR shooter that hit Oculus Quest late last year. We missed reviewing it at launch, but after spending some time with its solo missions, co-op segments, and robust multiplayer offerings we’ve got plenty of thoughts. Keep reading for our full Contractors VR review on Oculus Quest.
Somewhat surprisingly, 2020 was a really good year for shooters on Oculus Quest. From similarly competitive types such as Onward and Solaris, to battle royale rampages like Population: One, even down to more narrative single-player shooters such as Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge and Warhammer 40K: Battle Sister, there is good stuff out there this year. Even Pistol Whips’ 2089 chapter is basically an on-rails campaign that’s pretty fantastic.
Compared to all those others, there’s a lot that Contractors really excels at. First and foremost, I was completely blown away by how smooth Contractors feels and looks while playing on a Quest 2. Textures themselves are extremely flat, much of the environment looks pretty ugly, and the overall quality of the visuals is pretty poor compared to some of the prettier VR games — but those sacrifices have ensured a smooth and fluid playing experience, which is arguably much more important in a VR game for most people.
It doesn’t require a magnifying class to notice just how dramatically the visuals needed to be downgraded from the PC version. Sure, it’s unfortunate, but it’s to be expected. The Quest 2 (or especially the original Quest) just can’t compete on a graphical power level with a high-end gaming PC.
One of the major issues that plagued Onward back at launch was the texture pop-in. You’d approach a building from a distance and, just like any game, the lower detail texture would suddenly swap out for something with higher detail. Virtually every game does this, but usually the swap happens at such a great distance you don’t really perceive it. In Onward, you’d notice it at just a few feet away which altered the way you’d play and experience the maps.
Thankfully, I didn’t notice much, if any, texture pop-in with Contractors on Quest 2. The reason for that is likely due to the fact that the environments, just across the board, are quite ugly looking as mentioned. It honestly looks like buildings are made out of playdough or cardboard sometimes. That sounds like a big negative thing, and it is, but the truth is it’s a better trade off than having pretty visuals with a stuttering framerate in VR.
Gameplay though is where Contractors really shines. Each gun feels wonderful and there is a huge arsenal to pick from with relatively accurate active reloading. That means to reload your magazine you need to eject it from the rifle, grab a new one from your belt pouch, insert it into the gun, and rack the chamber. Granted, this differs a bit from gun to gun, so you just need to make sure you know how to operate your chosen weapon.
There are detailed loadout options as well. Before beginning a solo, co-op, or competitive PvP match you choose which primary weapon, attachments, sidearm, and equipment to bring along, as well as which type of vest to wear that each affect your speed and health. There’s enough depth to give you options worth exploring, although a bit more structure would be nice. You just have everything kind of thrown at you from the very start, but a more gradual unlocking system or at least skins that you could unlock as you play more and level up would have helped instill a sense of gradual progression. Population: One does this very well. Luckily the volume of loadout options does help make up for the flatness in growth. They’ve even got WWII-era weapons in here.
In terms of game speed and feel, it’s much faster-paced than Onward. If Solaris is like sci-fi Quake and Onward is a bit like ARMA, I’d say Contractors is most similar to Call of Duty in terms of pacing which will likely make it the most accessible and easy to jump into quickly.
And something that Contractors does that neither Onward, Population: One, nor Solaris do at all, is employ a playable lobby format. For my tastes, I vastly prefer this to just static menu navigation in VR.
This means in Contractors when you load into the game you’re put into a warehouse map that has target challenge courses, basketball hoops, various floors, and a large explorable building for its main hub region. From there you can invite friends and queue up for any one of the various game modes and match types. It’s so much more welcoming to be greeted by an interactive part of the world rather than just a bunch of menu screens.
Contractors really excels at offering a wide assortment of things to do whether you want to play online or against AI bots. For example, there are multiple co-op or solo game modes such as objective capture-based missions, eliminating high-value targets, and more in addition to the expected multiplayer PvP modes. All it’s really missing at this point is a structured campaign story mode but that’s likely not planned unless in a future sequel.
Although this review is specifically of the Quest version of Contractors, the PC version has the same content. The only differences are smaller lobbies (10v16 players), no mod support, and downgrades in visuals, performance, and flexibility in terms of headset choice, controller choice, and so on. It absolutely looks way better on PC, but I’m always willing to sacrifice visuals in favor of going tetherless personally.
Contractors on Quest Review Final Impressions
Contractors on Quest is my new go-to VR shooter. It’s got the gameplay polish of something like Medal of Honor VR, with the content, game modes, and speed of combat that you’d expect of a non-VR shooter like Call of Duty, all while wrapping it up in a neat, cheap package that’s approachable without being too simple. I’m particularly a fan of the solo and co-op options, on top of the addictive PvP multiplayer.
What it lacks in realism it more than makes up for with its excellent gameplay. My only real gripes are that it could do with more map variety and the visuals are very, very poor even compared to other Quest titles. But if Caveman Studios continues to add updates over time, and build upon this for the future, they may establish themselves as one of the premiere VR developers very quickly.
For more on how we arrived at this score, see our review guidelines.
Contractors is available on Oculus Quest for $20 and features full cross-play and cross-buy with the PC Rift version of the game, but not the Steam version. This review was conducted on an Oculus Quest 2.
For more on Contractors, be sure to check out our old guide for beginner’s tips on the PC VR version. It’s a bit outdated, but most of the tips still apply.
Correction: A previous version of this review neglected to mention the smaller lobby sizes on Quest and lack of mod support.