Hands-On: Evasion Wants To Be Your Go-To Co-Op Bullet Hell VR Shooter

by David Jagneaux • October 24th, 2017

I’ve started to notice a bit of a trend within the VR gaming industry. At first there was an obsession with wave shooters, mostly of the single player variety. And now we’re starting to see cooperative arcade-style shooters becoming more and more popular. Evasion, from Archiact, is an upcoming cooperative shooter in that same vein that wants to draw you in and grab you by the neck for intense action.

The team is billing it as a hybrid of a cooperative shooter and a “bullet hell” shooter, which is a term typically reserved for top-down 2D shooters. But in the case of Evasion, much like Blasters of the Universe, players will have to stay mobile as they dodge bullets and fight off enemies from all sides.

Gunheart, which released into Early Access earlier this year, is very similar to Evasion. Both games have you taking on the role of a mercenary-esque character charged with plowing through dozens of enemies across relatively linear levels. The big difference between the two is that in Evasion you’ll spend just as much time dodging bullets as you will shooting them.

Levels are littered with destructible cover points so you need to move around often to stay alive. Poking your head out from behind a wall is a great way to shoot enemies without getting blown away and chipping away at cover while they’re hiding is super satisfying. The short demo I tried at VRDC also had a great amount of enemy variety already.

Each character has a shield in one hand and a gun in the other. My character’s shield was a bit smaller than my partner’s shield, but I did a bit more damage and had a more powerful special. When you kill an enemy there’s a chance they can drop an orb that charges up your special, or an orb that creates a healing aura, so that helps keep the action pumping in every fire fight.

One of the most ambitious things that Archiact is doing with Evasion is getting rid of teleportation movement entirely. It won’t even be an option. Instead, they’ve got smooth movement, a stutter-step style movement system, and an arm-swinging movement system, with more to come. For any movement system you can choose to narrow the FOV when moving to help as well. Personally, I just use smooth movement and never have any issues.

It’s hard to really communicate why Evasion feels so much more intense than other similar games, but it’s noticeable very quickly. If you’ve ever played a top-down bullet hell shooter then you know the screen is often painted with projectiles and almost resembles an art exhibit with all of the waves and colors on-screen. Now imagine that, but in three dimensions an in VR. Dodging and shooting while physically moving around is super exciting to experience.

I don’t know that I’m convinced Evasion will be able to provide enough content to keep players coming back for weeks or months, but it’s certainly nailed the core gameplay enough to be a fun distraction. I just hope that, upon release, there’s enough here to make players want to play missions more than once and actually feel a sense of progression.

The team alluded to some progression mechanics, but declined to discuss them at this time. Evasion is currently slated to support both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with a release date TBD. We’ll keep you updated with more information about Evasion as we find out.

Let us know what you think of Evasion down in the comments below!

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