Remember when The Prestige and The Illusionist, two movies about magicians, both released the same year? Or when EverQuest 2 foolishly released the same year as World of Warcraft? Or that other time Gearbox decided it made perfect logical sense to release Battleborn in literally the exact same month as Blizzard’s Overwatch?
Pop culture is full of weird situations like this where movies and games that seem too similar to be coincidences are developed and released alongside one another. I’ve got a feeling we might have another scenario just like that in the VR market right now with Blood and Truth versus Defector. Both games want to tap into that visceral excitement that’s all-too-often associated with spy action movies by making you feel like a James Bond-esque hero and both games are exclusives for their respective platforms.
The below video was captured at a demo event last October.
In the case of Defector on Oculus Rift, we’ve got something that features full locomotion via the Oculus Touch controllers, branching decisions and dialogue trees, as well as roomscale support with lots of set piece action scenes. PSVR’s Blood and Truth, by comparison, is starting to feel a bit anemic.
I got the chance to go hands-on with both last week almost back-to-back and it really drove the point home for me. In Defector I jumped out of an airplane, climbed on the side of a disintegrating jet, got in a fist fight, shot up a ton of thugs, and sweet-talked my way into a crime boss’ private vault. In Blood and Truth, I progressed from cover point to cover point shooting enemies and watched a few slo-mo explosions. That’s it.
Admittedly, my first demo with Blood and Truth several months ago was much more promising, but it’s a bit baffling that the new demo just a month away from E3 feels so bare bones and empty. Last time there was an exciting chase scene, a bunch of stealth, and a whole slew of environments as I scoured the floors of a casino. This time I just ducked behind boxes and air vents while waves of enemies attacked me.
After trying Firewall: Zero Hour at the same preview event on the other side of the room, Blood and Truth’s lack of locomotion really stood out. Given that this is basically an expanded version of The London Heist, you do have a bit more control here. During a level you can look around the environment and see pre-determined nodes pop up on the ground. With a press of a button your character will slowly slide over to those spots, as if he were walking, and you still get full control of your head and hands during this process.
This is a stark contrast to Bravo Team, a game in which you lose all control of your character when moving to a new node. During gameplay in Blood and Truth you’ll also have moments where you can strafe from side-to-side between cover points with the press of a button as well.
The game is played using two PS Move controllers so you don’t have an analog stick or d-pad of any kind. I’d love to see what a developer like Sony London Studio could have done with proper VR controllers like the Oculus Touch or Vive wands. I imagine we’d have gotten something similar to Defector as an end result.
It’s not fair to compare two unfinished games to one another that are on completely different platforms, but they feel like they were both based off of the same brainstorming session in which a wide-eyed game designer dreamed up what it would be like to play a Mission: Impossible VR game.
If I’m basing expectations off of my original Blood and Truth demo, I’m imagining a game full of varied missions that mix fast-paced action, stealth, hacking, and a litany of other game mechanics together to create something consistently interesting. But if I’m basing my expectations off of the most recent demo, I’m anticipating a wave shooter that’s wearing a very thin coat of spy-action paint on top.
Let’s hope the most recent demo I tried isn’t representative of the final game’s content focus because multiple hours of that would get very boring very fast.
During my demo a developer told me that at E3 they’ll have an even newer demo for Blood and Truth that lasts upwards of 25 minutes, which sounds quite extensive to show at an industry event. Hopefully that demo will leave me with a more promising impression.
Let us know what you think of Blood and Truth so far down in the comments below!