Vindicta caught my eye a few months back for making the kinds of promises we all want to hear: a full VR FPS campaign with natural locomotion and no wave shooting. Naturally, I followed up with developer Game Cooks as soon as possible, but my heart sank a little when I learned it had only been in development since the beginning of the year. Still, the team made the right decision to delay the game’s Early Access release by a few more months to flesh it out a little, and now it’s finally here. I’m happy to say I’m pretty satisfied with what’s on offer.
This isn’t going to rewrite the rules of videogame design. Its bare corridors, sewers and labs are easily traversed via a linear path, a little like the simplistic flow of Farpoint, last months’ PSVR shooter with considerably more development time behind it. Its enemies are standard issue, its weapons are carbon copies of any other shooter, and its story is practically non-existent.
But, y’know what? It feels good to play.
Vindicta uses arm swing locomotion, a method of movement that has its critics, but I have to say I’m personally fond of. You hold the Vive’s trackpad and waggle your arms to walk forwards, and all the turning is on you. You won’t find yourself needing to strafe from side-to-side or walk backwards; Game Cooks has cleverly implemented a not-quite-bullet-time approach to incoming fire. Think Superhot but a little colder, allowing you to easily dodge bullets and laser beams so long as there aren’t too many enemies surrounding you. If there are then things quickly get hectic.
This gives the action more of a chaotic vibe as you rush to take out as many enemies as quickly as possible, reducing your chances of being hit. The controls aren’t always perfect; some of the most open areas in the game can be a little frustrating to overcome as you simply don’t have the kind of nimble movement that a gamepad offers. The same goes for aiming, though the game feels purposefully looser in the accuracy department. It favors Kane and Lynch’s trashy weapons over the laser sharp accuracy of a Call of Duty.
Weapons may not be imaginative, but they’re a joy to use. The standard-issue pistol is entirely dependable and often the best choice for carefully aimed shots, but the chunky assault rifle feels great to wield, with a Killzone-esque heft to its model. It’s a shame that the game’s two-handed mechanic is a little buggy right now (I found it impossible to line up my aim properly), as I’d have liked to really feel like I was rooted in the experience using that weapon.
Still, Game Cooks has done well to offer multiple hours of gameplay here, and do its best to keep things varied. Vindicta never innovates, but there is at least a clear attempt to keep things just a little mixed. New enemy types like bugs that spew acid to block your view and exploding spider-bots pop up throughout the campaign and there are some nice touches to the traversal, like vents you’ll need to crawl through and battles that will be fought half way up a ladder. These feel like the same kind of box-ticking switch ups you’d expect from a mid-tier console shooter, but we haven’t really seen that in VR yet.
It might not evolve into anything more than that, but I’d be pretty satisfied with something that offered a good few hours of rock solid shooting as opposed to another wave shooter in which I feel like I’ve seen everything after ten minutes.
Vindicta definitely feels like it’s had a shorter development cycle than, say, Robo Recall, but its core mechanics are still engaging. Like the recent Early Access release of Dead Effect 2 VR, it’s surprisingly fun in its current form and we only hope to see more. The wise move might be to wait for Game Cooks to flesh the game out over the course of Early Access, though there are fully released VR shooters out there right now that don’t offer half as much content as what’s featured here. If you need something to shoot this weekend, you could do a lot worse than Vindicta.
Vindicta is available now on the HTC Vive at a discounted price of $20.09. We’d recommend picking it up before June 26th, when it will cost $29.99.