We have played Blood & Truth a lot over the last couple of years. In fact, this is our fifth hands-on preview of the game (here is one, two, three, and four). Back when it was first announced I got my hands on an early demo that took place in a hotel casino and, to be honest, the movement system was a bit off-putting despite the locale being great. I didn’t like how everything felt on-rails and you couldn’t manually pick where to move around. But now after seeing so many other areas of the world and getting a better sense for the pacing and how well everything flows, I totally get it.
Blood & Truth isn’t a game that lets you go wherever you want because it’s not about that. It’s about delivering a very specific action hero feeling that’s tied to action films such as James Bond, Mission Impossible, and Jason Bourne. You go from point A to point B as quickly as possible, killing anyone that gets in your way, and it’s just a non-stop adrenaline-pumping thrill-ride. After playing it again last week at a pre-PAX East demo event I’m more excited than ever to sit back and enjoy the show.
If you played The London Heist on PSVR Worlds then you have a good frame of reference. That short vignette was only about an hour or so long and was very small in scope, but it was developed by the exact same team at Sony’s London Studio. Ever since then (that’s about two and a half years) their studio of 85+ people has been heads down working on Blood & Truth as a full-fledged spiritual successor.
In it you take on the role of a special agent that’s in the middle of an interrogation. As the interrogator presses you for details on your past, you relive those missions through flashbacks which formulate the actual missions in the game itself. It’s a good format that lets them tell a non-chronological story across various locales without feeling disjointed.
Ian Wright, the Design Director on the game, tells me that you’ll be able to replay missions to get a higher score and you’ll even be able to try them out using new weapons you’ve unlocked later on for more of a challenge or just to blow stuff up even more. Since it’s a linear action game, that sort of replayability will be important for lots of people that enjoy spending more time with Blood & Truth after the credits roll. But since it clocks in at around six hours total from start to finish, it’s got a decent amount of meat on its bones for a game of this type.
The above demo and video interview are from a preview event held in October 2017.
The best thing about the mission I tried last week is just how varied it was. There were moments of stealth where I ducked from cover point to cover point. I picked locks. I set C4 charges and blew up walls before going into slow-motion to clear a room. There was even a car chase scene just like at the end of The London Heist and a rooftop getaway with lots of jumping and midair headshots.
After about 15 minutes of pure action, I was nearly out of breath and I hadn’t once gotten up from my chair. It’s a great feeling that no other VR game has really nailed yet. So many VR games seem focused on letting you do whatever you want and interact with the world in bizarre and often zany ways, but Blood & Truth feels more like a blockbuster film simulator. It totally challenges what I think of when someone typically describes a game as “cinematic” in the traditional sense.
To revisit the point about movement and be more clear if you’re unaware, Blood & Truth does not feature teleportation movement or typical smooth locomotion. Instead, everything is context-based. When you’re behind cover you can look at another cover point, hit a button, and start moving towards in a fashion that’s similar to normal smooth movement. Then when you’re at a wall or barrier you can sidestep to either side to adjust your position. But for the most part, you’re just moving between cover nodes kind of like in Arktika.1 but without the teleportation.
Like I said earlier, I didn’t like it at first, but after spending so much time with over the last year and a half it actually feels great. But even more so than that it feels appropriate for the genre. Wright describes it to me from the point of the view of the character. If you were a soldier on a mission, you wouldn’t move backwards — instead, you’re always moving forward.
Plus, since the Move controllers don’t even have analog sticks, this movement system is sort of a click and forget method so I can move and shoot at the same time. Since the whole game is designed around the feature it works great in practice. Trust me.
Overall I’ve got to say that I really wish there were more games like Blood & Truth in VR with clear, deliberate pacing, great action set pieces, and insanely good voice acting performances. The facial animations are great too. This may not have the massive world and interactivity that VR gamers have come to expect from so many other titles, but it delivers such a pure shot of focused and intense adrenaline at every step I don’t even care.
Blood & Truth comes to PSVR very soon next month on May 28th, 2019. We can’t wait to dig into this action-packed thrill-ride. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!