You’ve got to applaud virtual reality (VR) developers for continuing to support PlayStation VR, seven years after the headset’s launch. Especially when PSVR 2 is so close to launch. Mirowin is still doing just that, having released Desperate: Vladivostok this month – a PSVR 2 version is also in the works. With the old VR device fading out for the next generation, can this latest game give it one last hurrah? Erm…no not quite is the honest answer in our Desperate: Vladivostok review.
It is always best to start from the beginning so let’s be perfectly clear, this Desperate: Vladivostok review did not begin well. Quite literally at the menu screen, trying to pick up a cassette to activate the game was more hassle than it should have been. Giving me that ominous feeling that I was about to endure a VR experience rather than be immersed in it.
Pure hell, not just bullet hell
Desperate: Vladivostok is a bullet hell action game, where you fight through 50-odd scenes, blasting the shit out of everything. Well, I would’ve done it if things worked correctly. Because unfortunately, even playing this a week after launch the main campaign is unplayable. I get through the training section (more on that later) only to be introduced to the loading area of the first level. This hub is supposed to be interactive, with a Nintendo light gun-styled weapon available to shoot the next screen. Alas, it does nothing and hasn’t done anything for the past week I’ve had the review copy. So this review is “in progress”.
That’s also because Desperate: Vladivostok is already available on Steam and Meta Quest’s App Lab, where the game has received reasonable feedback. Now it isn’t a particularly expensive game at $15 USD, however, if most of it is currently unplayable, I wouldn’t advise buying it.
So how much of the PSVR version did I manage to play? Let’s go back to that training level I mentioned. This is where you learn to shoot, throw items and generally get to grips with the clunky controls. They’re mediocre at best, nowhere near the fast, fluid response a game like this needs. There’s no reloading, simply use a gun, discard and grab another from an enemy. I really hope the main campaign has a bit more dexterity to it as there’s very little strategy involved.
You’ll also need to decipher the tutorial windows. They’re not very clear and can glitch out so they don’t disappear. Quite frankly an awful introduction to what looked like a half-decent VR game.
The visuals are punchy and comic-bookesque. There’s a lively, zany quality to the whole presentation, and the timed levels with headshot tracking scores could’ve offered some passable replayability.
Desperate: Vladivostok for PSVR did manage to offer up The Arena mode, however. Fixed to one position, the aim is to score as many points as possible by killing as many enemies as possible before dying. It was enjoyable for all of five minutes, picking up the odd beer bottle to smash over someone’s head. Before switching to dual-wielding guns and then over to a crowbar when the idiotic opponents charging at me got too close.
Desperate: Vladivostok is the kind of videogame I’d imagine a 12-year-old would want to make. Yes, there’s action but it has very little focus. Heck, even John Wick looks like a more refined piece of entertainment against this. Okay, sure, I’ve not played the entire game so I’m going to reserve final judgement. Yet, on Desperate: Vladivostok’s current merits I might not even want to. In any case, in its current form don’t buy the PSVR version, you have been warned.