Archiact had one goal in mind with their VR shooter Evasion – to create a 3D, bullet-hell VR game. Which is a pretty niche area for a video game. It also sounds like as much of a challenge to make as it was. 3D bullet-hell games are hard enough on their own, to make one in VR just adds a few extra layers of complexity, which explains why VR bullet-hell shooters aren’t exactly common. If that wasn’t enough, its even got bit of an RPG element with different hero classes for you to choose from.
Archiact built Evasion ground up for VR multiplayer, and it plays pretty smoothly. Of course, being that they partnered with Intel on the project, the game is designed for the Vive which means its mostly intended for ambulatory controls. Which is fantastic, because in a bullet-hell game the last thing you need to do is strafe, get motion sickness, and then die in a very glorious way.
Did I mention its a multiplayer bullet-hell game? Because yeah that’s also a thing. You make a group with up to three friends to hit up extinction-level combat against an enemy known as the Optera. Basically they’re just your prototypical alien race you expect to find in every sci-fi shooter.
Evasion wasn’t built for strafing or teleporting, which means to play it, you need some serious dedicated VR space. Ideally a whole room free of any obstacles you might trip over so you can properly experience the game. Which is ideal for a shooter, as teleporting and strafing aren’t the friendliest to your center of balance, but can be a hard sell for gamers. However, if you do have the dedicated space for it, Evasion does live up to its promise of authentic, over-the-top FPS combat. That is an entirely accurate depiction of what the game is like, and while the combat might not have been completely tuned when I checked the game out at GDC (a few weapons seemed a tad over-powered), the feel of the game was solid and enjoyable.
Part of that comes down to the game’s controls and design which are intuitive and feel natural, but quite a bit was down to the enemy “Swarm AI” technology which made the combat much more tactical than you’d expect from a bullet-hell game.
It is games like Evasion that make VR multiplayer shooters just so damn fun to play, and really do give me hope that the genre will do well despite its obvious problems.