E3 2018: Firewall: Zero Hour Brings Tactical FPS Action to PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR appears to be at a crossroads of sorts. While Sony continues to sell the headset, its presence at their events has been on a steady decline. Where the headset once had a dedicated section during PlayStation press conferences, it now receives just a scant few announcements. Still, that hasn’t stopped third-party developers from working with the headset. First Contact Entertainment is one of those devs and working to bring a tactical first-person shooter to PSVR. We got to go hands-on with Firewall: Zero Hour to see how well a tactical shooter translates to virtual reality.

The demo focused on the multiplayer mode, which pits two teams of four players against one another with one side defending and the other attacking. For the match, the team had us play with the Aim Controller, though did confirm you’ll be able to use other controllers in the full game, including a standard DualShock 4.

Like many other first-person shooters, Firewall has its own version of Create-a-Class. Before each match, players will be able to choose their avatar, customize their weapons, and select various pieces of equipment. Though we only had access to a few guns and attachments in the demo, it did appear that there will be quite a large selection of firearms when the game launches. There also seemed to be a lot of different attachments for each weapon.

The bigger question is the role the different avatars play in-game. As the game appears so much like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege on the surface, we wondered whether each character in Firewall would service a unique purpose. However, First Contact wasn’t ready to discuss this yet. The game does manage to differentiate itself from its peers through its weapon customization. While Siege focuses on variety through its operators and their unique abilities, Firewall presents variety through its various weapons.

The Aim controller, as silly as it looks, remains a reliable accessory for first-person shooters. At E3 2016, Farpoint proved how effective a VR first-person shooter could be by having a gun-shamed accessory like this, and Firewall is attempting to mimic its success. So far, it’s doing it very well. Pulling up the Aim controller to ADS, quietly peeking around corners, and ducking feels natural. The only part of the combat that feels awkward with the Aim controller is throwing grenades, which feels unnatural while holding the accessory. Nor does controlling the camera feel as smooth as in Farpoint, which tracked the movement of the Aim controller. It’ll be interesting to see how other controllers work with the game.

PlayStation VR may be slowly losing its place at Sony conferences, but developers like First Contact Entertainment are working to keep the platform healthy. VR has always felt like a natural fit for first-person shooters and Firewall: Zero Hour looks poised to give players a solid VR multiplayer shooter. The game feels good with the Aim controller in your hands and the quick matches provide plenty of moments of excitement. It remains to be seen if Firewall: Zero Hour will be a killer app for PS VR, but current owners should have a blast with this shooter.

Firewall: Zero Hour is out later in 2018 on PS VR.

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