Funny things, bullets. In VR, they have a tendency to be a bit, well, weak? I’m not talking about the rattle of gunfire that erupts from the barrel when you squeeze the trigger of a rifle in, say, Boneworks, but more the visceral panic of being under fire instead. In most VR games, there’s no deafening clang of metal mercilessly catapulting itself into slabs of concrete, nor the genuine pang of panic that should come with being pinned down.
Crisis VRigade very much has that sense of urgency intact.
Don’t get me wrong, this free Oculus Quest shooter — currently the most popular on the SideQuest platform — is a fairly simple one. It’s a stationary shooting gallery in which you gun down comically large gangs of criminals. Visually it’s quite simple, too. But Crisis VRigade’s hard mode offers one compelling rule that twists the game on its head; one bullet will kill you.
Suddenly an otherwise fairly standard shooter is morphed into anarchic exercise session in which you’re throwing yourself behind cover with force and slowly emerging from behind it with the greatest of care. Not only that, but a level timer piles the pressure on to perform. Even though there’s otherwise very little to separate Crisis from a deluge of other VR shooters — right down to the boxy art style — this one twist gives the game a welcome spark of variety.
In one level, for example, you’re tasked with stopping a bank heist in its tracks in a scene similar to something like Heat. At first you find yourself pinned down behind the safety of your police car. Slowly picking enemies off becomes a methodical game of finding the right angles and daring to take the chance. One enemy unaccounted for and you’ll find a one way ticket back to the start arriving directly in the middle of your face.
This is a game that pushes you and wants you to replay over and over. It’s a demanding bit of VR arcade action that wants to take full advantage of the physicality of cover-based shootouts.
Crisis VRigade isn’t a stunningly innovative or even especially deep Oculus Quest shooter, but its demanding rule set gives it a touch of challenge and threat. That’s something a lot of other titles are sorely lacking. If you’re looking for a Quest game that will put your shooter skills to the test, you could do a lot worse.
Crisis VRigade is available for free on Oculus Quest via SideQuest and is also available for purchase on PC VR and PSVR headsets.