Hands-On: Zero Killed Is A Firewall-Esque Tactical VR Shooter

by David Jagneaux • September 17th, 2018

PSVR’s Firewall Zero Hour wasn’t the first tactical VR shooter ever made, but it’s certainly had the largest splash in the market to date. Games like Onward and Pavlov paved the way for Firewall, which we praised in our review, especially when played with the PS Aim Controller. Fortunately for fans of the genre, PC headsets are getting their own new shooter to sink their teeth into very soon called Zero Killed — and the similarities don’t just end with the name, either.

Zero Killed is being touted as a “tactical multiplayer VR shooter” with a mixture of solid PvP gameplay, tons of equipment choices, and an assortment of characters to pick from. Each of the 10 characters have different potential weapon loadouts, a unique gadget, and unique perk. For example, Big Foot, the one that I gravitated towards, has the best armor and is a heavy weapons specialist that also carries a gas mask and door breacher. On the flip side there’s also Ghost, who excels as a marksman and wears AR glasses that allow him to see tagged objects for much longer than other characters.

So yeah, there’s a lot of similarities to both Firewall Zero Hour and (as a result) Rainbow Six: Siege in that you’ve got various characters, multiple load outs, and even a focus on no-respawn game modes. During my play session with the developers from Ignibit, they showed me two different game modes on one of the three maps. First up was Data Steal.

In Data Steal you’re either on the Attacking or Defending team and as an Attacker you must track down and secure access points spread across the level. It plays out almost just like a typical round of Contracts in Firewall Zero Hour. The major difference I spotted is that the level I tried was very, very large and open. The teams are still 4v4, but there were tons of tunnels, passageways, and a variety of elevations to mix things up.

Gameplay feels about like something in between Onward and Pavlov. It’s not quite as fast-paced as Pavlov, given the lack of respawns for most game modes, but it’s also not as hardcore and realistic as Onward. I played on Rift which meant miming a gun in my hands by holding them out in front of me as if I were holding an invisible rifle. The variety was nice and switching around between different contractors actually did seem to yield meaningful differences in gameplay style and strategy.

A lot of thought went into each of the characters, but the demo I tried was noticeably unpolished. I played it only a week ago and the Closed Beta testing is supposed to start today, but honestly it didn’t feel ready yet unless there was a much farther along build I didn’t try. There were no hit marker visuals or sounds to show when you’ve shot someone and there is no way of knowing when you’ve done damage or killed another player. The UI could use a lot of work and it all feels very rough around the edges with incorrectly labeled menus and other visual elements.

Those are all minor things though and should be fixed easily with some time.

The other game mode I got to try during my play session was Tournament, which was basically Last Man Standing. Instead of being on teams all eight people are dropped into the map and it’s a battle royale to be the last survivor. I preferred this game mode since I didn’t know the maps well enough to play Data Steal appropriately and enjoyed the tension of slowly creeping around corners in an attempt to not get ambushed.

According to the Steam page, Zero Killed will also feature Domination, which is likely a point control mode like in Destiny and Call of Duty, as well as Hunt, which I don’t know any details about yet. Whereas Firewall Zero Hour launched with one game mode and nine maps, Zero Killed is aiming for four game modes and three maps.

There’s certainly a lot of content here at first glance, but I’m not sure how well the progression and pacing will hold up. I didn’t get the feeling that there were any meaningful ways of editing or changing loadouts and it seemed like most everything would just be unlocked from the beginning. Maybe that’s not the case for launch because even though that’s been fine for games like Onward and Pavlov, in the latter half of 2018 when a new shooter comes out I’d expect to see a bit more in the way of pushing the genre forward.

For a chance to join in on the Closed Beta today, you can check out the details here. Zero Killed is slated to launch on Steam with Vive and Rift support on September 26th, 2018. A PSVR version is planned for a future date. Let us know what you think of Zero Killed so far down in the comments below!

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