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18th Jun - Blood & Truth (PSVR)
21st Jun - Watch Dogs 2 (PS4)
After playing and loving Astro Bot recently, I decided to pick up Blood & Truth. It was getting some pretty-good word of mouth, and I was up for another VR game.
Turns out it is
pretty good, I think. The story is a collection of action scenes strung together by some tried and tested plot beats, but it's really all about the action. The problem is that PSVR tracking can be a bit iffy, I've found. So Blood & Truth, in theory, allows you to hold a gun in two hands and look down the sights. When this works I felt like I was in a ridiculous action film, taking out enemies with unbelievable speed and precision. More often than not though the rifle would jump from my hands, backwards through my head, making aiming more of a guessing game. It was bad enough that I decided instead to resort to holding whichever gun I had at full arms length and pointing it in the general direction I wanted to shoot, with kinda decent-ish results.
Throw in a bucket of gangster cliches and Colin Salmon inexplicably putting on an American accent that I just couldn't get on board with, and it's an odd experience. A full, narrative-meets-action experience like this in VR is quite impressive when it works, but PSVR's tracking and resolution issues (the game is quite blurry in the middle-to-long distance) hold it back. Oh, and the vehicle chase sequences were endlessly frustrating for me. Probably my fault, but I died way too often in those sections to have any fun at all.
On the other end of the spectrum is Watch Dogs 2. I heard good things about it back in 2016, but the marketing of the game had kinda put me off. Now, nearly three years later, and egged on by the announcement of Watch Dogs: Legion, I decided to pick WD2 up for under a tenner. It's very
Ubisoft open world (no towers to climb though), and enthusiastically adopts the pop-culture hacker aesthetic.
But I really enjoyed WD2. The story has been a little surpassed by some of the events of the past few years, which gives the game a weird hopeful atmosphere; yes, corrupt politicians and privacy-ignoring corporations and election fixing and racist police, but the game presents a group of individuals coming together to counter all of this. That I was able to play non-lethally was a nice surprise, and there were plenty of "hacking" skills to keep the gameplay varied throughout.
A really-enjoyable reminder that Ubisoft's open worlds don't have to be endless to be good value. And whatever they may say, their games won't ever be apolitical.