If terrorist paranoia is your thing, Fox TV has you covered. Their reboot of the 24 franchise, 24: Legacy occupies the prime slot after Sunday’s Super Bowl LI. But if you have Samsung’s Gear VR, you won’t have to wait for the game to end to dip your toes into Fox’s make-believe war on terror. The event that serves as the launch point for the series can be experienced in virtual reality.
24: Legacy features Corey Hawkins in lieu of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer. Viewers may be familiar with Hawkins from his portrayals of Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton and Heath in the AMC Network’s The Walking Dead. In 24: Legacy, Hawkins takes on the role of ex-Army Ranger Eric Carter who is at the center of the action in an “adrenaline-fueled race against the clock to stop a devastating terrorist attack on United States soil”.
Carter led a team of elite Rangers on an intel-gathering mission that resulted in the death of a terrorist leader in Yemen. The leader’s followers swore vengeance on Carter’s squad which forced the Rangers and their families into the federal witness protection program. 24: Legacy is about what happens when the terrorists uncover the Ranger’s new identities.
The special ops mission that triggers the events of 24: Legacy is the subject of a six-minute VR episode called “The Raid”. The episode puts you in the middle of the action in both Carter’s squad of Rangers and the command center where Rebecca Ingram - played by Miranda Otto - is directing the operation. “The Raid” takes place six months before the 24 hours chronicled in the TV series and if the Super Bowl is as tedious and boring as most of the NFL playoff games have been this year, watching the game may feel like those six months are crawling by in real time as you wait to bridge the gap between the VR and TV portions of 24: Legacy’s story.
I enjoyed “The Raid” but was surprised to find one aspect of it particularly frustrating. If you play military shooters such as the Call of Duty series, you're familiar with fictional raids like the one depicted in the episode. You’ve been there and done that with the critical difference that in the game you controlled your character. That control is missing in “The Raid”; you’re an observer that’s along for the ride. You move with the team but you have no control over where you move. I repeatedly found myself abusing my controller’s left joystick as I tried to move to a location that offered a better chance of survival.
“The Raid” is well done and easily worth your time if you are interested in this stuff and have access to a Gear VR. Whether the TV series is as entertaining remains to be seen.