Our very first appointment at GDC 2018 earlier this month was to see a brand new, unannounced, VR game from one of the market’s original wave of developers: Final Assault from Phaser Lock Interactive in partnership with Smilegate. The developer is of course the same one behind Final Approach and Twisted Arrow, so they’ve put in their time with crafting engaging experiences for early adopters and are now setting their sights on delivering something that offers fast-paced competitive multiplayer thrills as the focus.
During our demo I faced off against UploadVR’s own Senior Editor, Ian Hamilton, and came away victorious just like I always do. You can see an example of how much better than him I am here, from when we played Brass Tactics. Luckily with this game though, Phaser Lock is doing something that mixes up a few different concepts into something that feels fresh.
Final Assault is unique in that it feels like a combination of an RTS with a MOBA, all wrapped up in a VR package. The developers got rid of base building entirely since that slows the game down in favor of getting players into combat immediately. As soon as the match starts, each side will spawn “minion” troops that automatically run down pre-defined lanes.
From here players get to make some choices. Over the course of the game you’ll slowly accrue resources that are spent on larger, more powerful units. This includes your gunner jeeps, tanks, planes, anti-air convoys, and others. Some units, like the plane, will let you draw their path through the air or even along the ground for dropping bombs, while others, like the heavy tank, will let you assign waypoints and targets on the battlefield in real time. Some of the smaller units, like the gunner jeeps, will follow your minion troops along the defined lanes.
The demo we played only had a single faction for us to both use in a mirror match, but there will be more variety in the final release. Our demo map was very simple with two outer lanes pepped with guard towers and a blown up church wasteland in the middle — you can see it in the screenshots here.
Since the action starts immediately and continually increases in speed, intensity, and ferocity, Final Assault is a relentless VR RTS. You rarely have more than a few seconds to regroup and decide on a new approach since units are spawning and attacking with such frequency. It eschews the slow-paced methodical warfare of Brass Tactics for what feels like an utter blitz of controlled chaos. It was extremely satisfying.
The balance between ground troops, aerial forces, and anti-air vehicles evokes a familiar circle of RTS life and the visual style is reminiscent of a three dimensional Advanced Wars, or Nintendo’s oft forgotten Battalion Wars franchise.
If you want, you can save up resources for one of the big attacks like dropping a massive bomb on your enemy’s base, which is what I did to slowly chip away at Ian’s structure. By the end of the game I knew I had him dead to rights so I abandoned my defenses to focus on two back-to-back bombs and finished him off just before his forces overran me completely.
The final release will have a campaign mode packing 6-8 hours of content, as well as PvE and PvP skirmishes on 12 different maps. Launch will include two factions with different unit trees (USA and Germany) with plans to incorporate more with future expansions and updates. You’ll also be able to rank on leaderboards and customize units and your avatar for more personalization.
Final Assault is due out in late Summer 2018 for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PSVR. For more details you can visit the official website (when it’s live) and let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!