In many ways, Lethal VR feels like the perfect palette cleanser for all the ‘experience’ focused PSVR efforts that we’ve had to date. Both mechanically and ambitiously lean, Lethal VR transplants the shooting gallery of old into a VR setting, casting the player as an FBI recruit embarking on a variety of different weapon testing scenarios and providing one of the better arcade blasters that we’ve seen in a good while.
Accurate and enjoyable shooting
In terms of challenges and modes, Lethal VR is as wonderfully straight forward as you thought it would be considering its developer pedigree (Three Fields Entertainment being the same folks behind Dangerous Golf which released earlier this year). Split into a series of themed challenges within its virtual target range setting, Lethal VR has you using the weapons you have at hand to blast the targets as accurately as possible in order to get the highest score you can before proceeding onto the next stage. Each level also takes full advantage of the first-person VR perspective too, as you’ll need to look all around you to nail targets that appear in front, to the side and also those that appear from above and below as well.
And that’s pretty much it; Lethal VR is an arcade shooter yarn that offers up a simple concept without any additional distractions, and welcomes players, both experienced gamers and non-gamers alike, into its fold. Naturally by relying on such a lean concept and meagre set of mechanics, you’d hope that the accuracy and feeling of control is spot-on, and thankfully I can happily report that this is absolutely the case.
Playable only with the PlayStation Move controller (you’ll need more than one for the guns akimbo challenges), aiming in Lethal VR is sublimely accurate. In the complete absence of any kind of optical aiming enhancement, players are instead required to use old-fashioned iron sights and it’s really here that the pin-point accuracy of Lethal VR shines through since every shot fired feels fair and never the victim of some poorly coded bullet physics shenanigans. As such, when you find yourself properly handling a firearm, looking down the notch at the top of the gun and squeezing off a perfect shot, there are fewer more satisfying gaming moments than that.
Speaking of satisfying, all the guns sound and feel absolutely wondrous, with each pull of the trigger causing a momentary explosion of thunder that rattles all the way down to the grip as the round escapes the barrel of your firearm and immediately slams into its intended target with gusto and aplomb. Firing guns, any guns, in VR, has never been this satisfying. Relatedly, there’s also something really cool about wielding two handguns in VR, if only because it’s currently the closest I can get to starring in my own John Woo movie.
What fares less well in the accuracy stakes however, are the various thrown weapons which the game lets the player get their mitts on. You see, one of the cool things that Lethal VR does is that it allows players to use a variety of weapons that have been inspired by classic Hollywood movies, such as the massive hunting knife used in Crocodile Dundee and the razor tipped Bowler Hat used by Oddjob in the classic Bond movie Goldfinger.
Landing hits on a target with these kinds of weapons is one thing, trying to do so accurately to get the maximum score is quite another. Not only do you not get the same feeling of feedback that you do with the firearms, but using the PlayStation Move controller to throw these objects just feels far more imprecise than it should; making such challenges much more frustrating than they otherwise should be. Something else that detracts from Lethal VR is that there isn’t quite enough of it. While the game boasts thirty or so challenges, there isn’t really anything to do outside of those levels except for chasing Lethal VR’s fourteen different Trophies, so here’s hoping for some future DLC to fatten out the offering somewhat.
Clearly though, the beating heart of Lethal VR is one that speaks most loudly to its classic arcade origins. This is a pure score chaser, so every shot that you fire and every dangerous object that you throw is done so with the intention of getting not only the highest score possible, but the highest rank (‘Lethal’ being the uppermost) available on every challenge. And just like those halcyon, coin-guzzling efforts of old, Lethal VR proves similarly irresistible; the need to better both your score and rank on every stage proving to be a compelling pursuit that easily saps the hours from the day.
Though there doesn’t seem to be a lot to Lethal VR on the surface, repeat play soon reveals a fiendishly entertaining and blissful score chasing blaster that provides a great alternative to the many gameplay light PSVR titles out there. Though meagre in concept and ambition, Lethal VR more than makes up for it with satisfying arcade shooting and an ease of accessibility that lends itself extremely well to both non-gamers and newcomers to VR alike.