When are we going to get Call of Duty VR? Or Halo VR?
Trick question: we already got them.
As the VR industry starts to gain traction and we finally start seeing some big-name franchises and developers get involved, the days of VR ties-ins and optional modes are beginning to subside. It was an unusual and often frustrating era for VR gaming where few of these spin-offs actually lived up to their full potential. In fact, you may well have forgotten about some of these huge gaming names already showed their support for the VR industry. Most of the time they had their heart in the right place, at least.
It might not be the juggernaut it once was, but Halo remains a tentpole franchise for the entire gaming industry. People have been pinning for a Halo VR game since the early days of headsets and, in 2017, Microsoft gave them what they asked for. Well, sort of.
Halo: Recruit was a rare exclusive for Microsoft’s line of ‘Mixed Reality’ VR headsets, but anyone that bought such a device for this game alone was bound to be disappointed. In the roughly five-minute experience players were taken to the frontlines not of Reach nor the iconic titular ring world but instead… a shooting range. And then you shoot 2D holographic targets representing the villainous Covenant. We’d love to say it was short and sweet but, in reality, it was just short. Maybe Recruit was simply a test for something bigger to come, but we haven’t seen it yet.
Call of Duty: Jackal Assault
If Halo used to be the FPS top gun, it was almost certainly replaced by the Call of Duty franchise. For many people, a Call of Duty VR game would signal that VR gaming has truly gone mainstream. Sadly, Call of Duty: Jackal Assault was anything but that indicator.
Tying into 2016’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Jackal Assault traded in the staples of the franchise, namely the high-octane, on-foot shooter action, for cockpit space battles. Again, it was free and over in a matter of minutes but, whereas similar experiences like Star Wars Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission made an impact in their limited runtime, Jackal Assault was forgotten the moment you removed your headset. It didn’t really have much to do with Call of Duty at all.
At Paris Games Week 2015, Sony announced that the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport would support PSVR. The end result was a rather meager VR mode, but compared to the PSVR support for Tekken 7, which was also announced during the same show, it was decidedly quite generous.
Tekken 7’s PSVR support manifested itself as a blurry training mode for one player where you could hone your skills. That was it; no two-player mode, no support for the wider story, nadda. The end product reeked of a game that had promised VR support too early and then discovered it couldn’t really be done very well. Maybe one day we’ll get a great VR fighting game, but Tekken 7 wasn’t it.
No, we’re not talking about Batman: Arkham VR, which has actually stood the test of time pretty well, all things considered. There is, in fact, a second Batman VR game (three if you count the equally-bad Justice League VR tie-in). But Batman VRSE is a strange one; it was actually made specifically for a uniquely themed mobile VR headset sold more as a toy than a new platform. And, instead of a first-person adventure like Arkham VR, this was actually closer to the original Arkham games, played from third-person.
That doesn’t mean it was actually good, though. While we liked the art style, Batman VRSE was played using a wonky motion controller that just didn’t afford the level of finesse you need to become the Dark Knight. It’s always tempting to take on the Joker but, if you fell for this trap, the joke was sadly on you.
The Last Guardian VR
As you could probably tell, most of the games on this list were actually best forgotten. But The Last Guardian’s VR experience actually remains one of our favorite PSVR apps to date (if you couldn’t tell by the reactions we mistakenly left in the video above).
Released a few years back, this gem took a few sections of the original game and adapted them to VR. There weren’t any puzzles or platforming sections, instead the app focused on the connection between you, a young boy, and the mythical creature he befriends searching some ancient ruins. Again, it’s free and very short, but if you haven’t tried this one out yet and you have any love for the work of Fumito Ueada, it’s an absolute must.
Are there any gaming franchises with VR support even we forgot about? Let us know in the comments below!