RIGs the “competitive VR FPS” will test your skills… and potentially your stomach
RIGs is a VR exclusive first person “competitive” mech shooter game from Guerilla games built for the Sony Morpheus. In my session at E3, two teams of 3 players faced off against each other in a “score through the hoop” game mode. Both sides had one each of the three mech classes, which differed in size, weapon type, and jumping ability. Pressing forward would propel you towards wherever you were looking, and firing with your left, right, or both triggers would shoot your weapons in line with two green laser sights attached to your gaze. In addition to your two weapon arms (which could be fired independently), your mech could be instantly switched between speed, repair, and damage mode via the Square, Circle, and Triangle buttons. The boosts from these modes (moving faster, healing faster, and doing more damage) were permanent for as long as you were in the mode. When your mech was destroyed, you would be ejected above the arena, where you would float on a parachute before looking at and choosing one of the possible respawn locations.
Review and First Impressions
My biggest worry going in to play Rigs was the fast movement of the game combined with a lot of verticality (jumping, going up ramps, etc). I thought for sure the game would be nauseating. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how relatively comfortable playing in the experience was (the only in-game moment that made my stomach slightly lurch was switching to the speed enhancement). After a 5 minute play session, I came away with only a mild headache and very mild nausea. On one hand, playing in the experience was comfortable in the moment, but on the other hand use over time still caused motion sickness. I’m relatively sensitive to motion sickness (I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum), so some people will have no trouble at all from playing, while many others will only be able to last a few play sessions.
Motion sickness aside, the game played fairly well. The art was colorful and on point. Aiming with your head was somewhat difficult since it also affected your motion, but I can imagine them incorporating motion controllers to solve that issue. Even though the game was fun, there were several things I noticed regarding the game mode and balance that seemed off for a game touting itself as a “competitive shooter.”
I played as the flying class, which had the unique ability to hold the jump button to fly, and fired slow-moving rockets. At first I wondered how the ability to fly could be anything but overpowered, but then I noticed the enemy was using machine gun fire that hit instantly while I had to aim where my target was going to be. When the match started and my opponents were still figuring out how to move, this wasn’t a huge problem. However, after the first 2 minute 30 second round, they realized they could simply dodge my rockets, and proceed to do so for the rest of the game. Compared to the machine gun units, I had no offensive power, something the Rigs team will probably need to balance further. But hey, it’s early in development, and balancing a competitive game is one of the hardest things, so they get some slack.
Something I didn’t quite understand though was their choice of game mode. In the mode I played, you collected gold orbs around the map or killed enemies to fill your overdrive bar. When your overdrive bar was full you entered overdrive mode, causing all your passive choosable modes (speed, attack, repair) to become engaged. To score, you had to jump through a hoop in the middle and top of the map while in overdrive. The Rigs team certainly gets points for originality, I’ve never played a game mode quite like it before. However, such a game mode seems to go against their “competitive shooter” label. The metagame of such a mode is fairly obvious. Camp the ramp, then run up it to score. Sure, you can run around the other parts of the map picking up orbs to fill your overdrive, but then when you go to score the enemy that chose to camp the ramp has a good chance of taking you out, and scoring before you can respawn to stop them, since they’ll probably hit full overdrive from killing you. It felt like one of those modes that is novel at first, but will be discarded by most gamers almost immediately.
Overall I enjoyed playing Rigs. I don’t think it will be a competitive shooter, but I think it will be a fun mech shooter for people with VR legs and iron stomachs. I’ll be very interested to see what game modes they end up implementing as well as the final balancing.
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