Winter Fury: The Longest Road from developer SpiderMonk Entertainment and publisher 10th Reality is set in World War II and puts you in the boots (on the ground) of an allied soldier attempting to help bring the fight back to the Axis in an attempt to overcome a truly great evil.
This isn’t new territory for games, after all, we’ve gone through multiple eras of gaming that focused on this war and all of the horrors that it contained. It is one of the few chances to play it in VR though, so it stands as something a little more unique in this theater as a result.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Winter Fury is in its design. The designer of the game, Scott March, has said that the on-rails sections of it were made for those gamers who suffer from motion sickness when playing VR games. Meanwhile, the tank sections are for those of us who have found our VR legs and are looking for something a little bit more involved.
As such, the game can be pretty handily split into these two sections, and that’s what we’re going to do here. So, first up, let’s talk about the on-rails sections. These are all handled within The Longest Road campaign which sees you making your way through a few short levels to try and take out the baddies. The story isn’t going to win any awards here, and neither is the gameplay.
Shooting works most of the time, but there are some strange glitches that can occur while holding a two-handed weapon wherein said weapon will simply disappear completely for some reason. There’s also an issue with the weapons you use; while you’ll often be manning a turret of some kind, you’re nearly always better off just using the rifle strapped to your chest instead. This is because you need to be more mobile than a turret allows, and that’s the case throughout the game.
Part of this is due to the fact that you need to have 360-degree tracking. If you don’t have this, you’re going to be turning around a lot to take out the enemies that try and sneak up on you. Unfortunately there’s no stick-based turning at all so if you don’t have a good 360-degree setup then you’re gonna have trouble here.
There are other weird elements too, like enemies simply popping up out of thin air, or appearing in places where they simply shouldn’t be able to be. I’m happy to suspend my disbelief for games, but this random Nazi just literally teleported into cover before firing a rocket at me, and that feels cheap. It is, quite simply, not fun. It would be fine if it felt good to shoot things, but it doesn’t.
All of this is exacerbated by the announcer/narrator/poor-man’s Serious Sam voice over randomly trying to drop dull one-liners on you or warn you about “enemies on your left” only for you to get shot from the right.
While a lot of these issues are inherent to the game itself, the Tank Commander mode is definitely more enjoyable than The Longest Road. For one, you can actually use stick turning in this mode, so that’s nice. This mode places you in control of a tank and has you completing objectives like capturing flags, all while shooting other tanks and enemies.
It feels pretty good to drive the tank, and the aiming is aided massively by the infinite stream of machine-gun fire that your tank can produce to help you line up your turret. You get a few shots before you have to reload the turret, but the machine gun never needs reloading. You can also flick a switch to bring up the targeting reticle, which is largely useless, and another switch to point your tank in the direction you’re looking, which is very useful.
As well as this, you can exit the tank to get on top and use the machine gun or your own weapons while you’re up there. Once again, the turret isn’t anywhere near as useful as your rifle, so it all feels a bit odd. You’re generally better off just staying in the tank, but you’ll have to hop out whenever someone is too high or low for you to hit while inside. It’s a lot better than the other mode, but it still lacks the feedback and feeling necessary to make it enjoyable. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the whole experience is quite dull.
Winter Fury: The Longest Road Review Final Verdict –
I’m not sure how I’d have felt about Winter Fury: The Longest Road if it was the first VR game I’d ever played, but I think it might have been more enjoyable in that case. The fact is this, we both deserve and have received far better games, and it’s important to keep that in mind whenever you play something new. The lack of proper feedback, the strange glitches (including the ability to shoot through scenery sometimes) and the graphical fidelity simply aren’t good enough to make this game worth your time despite the handful of bright spots. The game is, at the very least, true to its name, it certainly feels like the longest road, despite the incredible short playtime.
Final Score: 2/5 Stars | Disappointing
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This review of Winter Fury: The Longest Road is based on the Steam version using an Oculus Rift. The game is available on Steam for $19.99 with official support for Rift, Vive, Index, and Windows headsets.