New content for head-mounted displays (HMDs) is essential for the success of virtual reality (VR) as a medium, so VRFocus welcomes any new addition to the videogame catalogue for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. However, it seems clear that while many are embracing the technology, few are able to master it in the same way as Epic Games’ Robo Recall or Valve’s own The Lab.
Puresurface Inc.’s debut title, Master Shot VR, is an attempt at upping the bar for target range experiences. However, while the fundamentals are all in place – appreciation for the limitations of the hardware, sound mechanics and reliable input/output interaction – Master Shot VR falls short in many areas when aligned with the competition.
One of the most widely respected target range videogames in VR right now is Lethal VR, published by Team17 Ltd. late last year. The brightly lit environments and steady difficulty curve set a precedent for the genre that, although failed to set the world alight, demonstrated exactly how to bring new players into the world of VR through real-world familiarity. Master Shot VR takes itself too seriously for this, and fails to convince that newcomers to VR who don’t care for realism will be able to get past even the second mission.
Upon beginning the videogame the player is confronted with two gameplay options and a tutorial. There’s target practice or survival mode, but before entering either of those it would be good advice to suggest a visit to the tutorial given Master Shot VR’s efforts to create realistic simulations of a wide variety of firearms. Sadly, the tutorial is merely a video showcasing the functions of reloading weapons, not actually giving you the opportunity to do so unhindered. The result will likely be a fail on any mission that offers up a new weapon due to the complicated reloading mechanics without any opportunity to practice.
What makes this worse is that the above mentioned second mission in survival mode seems to either have some serious issues or poor visual design. While the Steam Early Access page for Master Shot VR highlights ‘night fights’, this mission is almost impenetrable due to the heavy darkness. It’s not that you can’t see the enemies – they are well lit even at a distance – but that you can’t see your own hands and equipment. Aiming is difficult, but reloading is simple impossible. Shells for the shotgun are highlighted when in grabbing range, so once empty you’ll be simply waving your hand around hoping to come close enough to an unused shell while the enemies are constantly encroaching on your position.
All this being said Master Shot VR isn’t without positive attributes. The realism of the weaponry will surely be an attractive proposition for many and the proposed variety of target ranges is commendable, it’s just a shame that, in its current state, many will never be able to experience all that Master Shot VR has to offer.
It should of course be noted that Master Shot VR is a Steam Early Access release, and thus Puresurface Inc. are more than likely aware of the flaws in the videogame. Offering the developers feedback on the issues mentioned above and guidance for what fixes are required will likely result in a polished, realistic shooting range experience, but as of right now Master Shot VR feels like little more than a prototype of a much better videogame.