Defector Hands-On: Becoming Jason Bourne In VR Is A Blast

by David Jagneaux • September 26th, 2018

When I was younger, I wanted to be a secret spy. I’d imagine a lot of former young people would say the same thing. The escapades of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt just seemed like such amazing and heroic jobs to have. Clearly I went down a very different path professionally, but the fantasy is still there in the back of my mind. After playing the latest demo for Defector, it’s not just a fantasy anymore.

I’d imagine Twisted Pixel’s pitch for Defector was pretty straight forward: let’s make an action-packed VR game in which you play as an international super star spy with fancy gadgets and smooth talking skills. You’ll travel the world, scale skyscrapers, and jump out of airplanes doing action hero stuff — all in VR. And there’s branching dialogue trees, multiple ways to solve missions, and it’s full smooth locomotion. Easy, right?

Obviously these are all comparisons I made back when I first played Defector at a pre-E3 event. My feelings on the game haven’t really changed much, but based on the OC5 demo I tried before the event last week, they’ve strengthened.

The main highlight of the demo was a chase sequence through a town in India. As is standard in this type of setting, obviously I had to chase someone through alleys and across rooftops. Every now and then the man would throw boxes down to try and disrupt me or I’d lose track and have to stop to scan a scaffolding in the distance.

Defector is at its best when it doesn’t slow down to let you try and think about what to do next. I’d run across a rooftop, fall down through a crumbling ceiling, get up and keep right on going. At one point, also shown down in the trailer at the end of this post, you can see the player running and then jumping across an entire alley several stories through the air, crashing down on top of the target, and then smashing through a door into a hotel room. Moments like that are what Defector is all about.

In past demos I’ve jumped out of an airplane only to then grab onto the exterior of another airplane and scale it with enemies falling around me. I’ve driven a sports car out of an airplane, shot enemies while falling through the air, and then crashed it into the side of another airplane in slow motion. I’ve even shot down fighter planes using machine guns from an exit door of another air plane.

I can’t wait to see what kind of other trouble I can get into.

Since this particular demo was so focused on the chase scene, I didn’t see much of Defector’s other game systems. There are branching dialogue trees (shown above) that can alter the path of a mission, resulting in varying events that up the replay value. Plus you can play as either a male or female agent depending on your preference.

Defector is a few steps below the polish and depth of something like, for example, Deus Ex or Alpha Protocol, but it’s pretty close. The game is structured with singular missions that are tied together through an overall narrative, but then each level also has specific objectives and branching points within to explore. It’s far from an open world game, but the levels themselves seem to be quite large.

After seeing what Twisted Pixel can do with animation and a good story in Wilson’s Heart, we’re eager to get our hands on the full version of Defector hopefully very soon. Defector is slated to release exclusively for Oculus Rift in 2019.

Let us know what you think of the game so far down in the comments below!

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