Downpour Interactive's Onward takes VR to a whole new level
Onward - A Tactical VR FPS Game that we've been waiting for
Dante Buckley didn't see it coming. The creator of the newest VR hit, Onward, dropped out of college so he could have the time to teach himself how to create video games. He had minimal programming skills and a lot of ambition. He watched tutorial videos, read online articles, and put his entire being into creating the game. He never expected his first game to be a hit. Now, almost two years old, Downpour Interactive's first game has over 2300 reviews carrying a Very Positive rating on Steam.
Onward, still an Early Access game, is a gritty tactical multiplayer shooter that simulates infantry combat with stunning accuracy. While many games have dynamic time of day, weather effects, and various environments, this game takes simulation to a whole new level. There are no Heads Up Displays, crosshairs for weapons, or other in-game systems designed to make winning easier. In order for your team to survive, everyone must work together using coordination, communication, and marksmanship.
In order to coordinate and execute strategy, you and your team communicate via radio by reaching up to your shoulder. It's not a free-for-all where you run in shooting with the hope of a lucky shot. Teams will advance towards the enemy, use their wits to decide the best tactics to proceed, and then do your part to take down your opponents. This can involve searching a building, laying down suppressive fire while your buddy advances to a closer point, or going on a recon mission to report enemy movements.
The combat action is as real as it gets. You physically raise your weapon, slap a magazine in, load the chamber, and operate it like the real thing. If you manage to get close to your target, you have a knife ready to go. That small structure you need to search might be a trap so you may want to pull the pin on a grenade and toss it inside before going in while your teammate covers you. When you are being shot at, prepare to duck and cover.
All of these movements are done with your hands just as if you physically possessed these items. Movement in Onward doesn't rely on teleportation like other games use. Instead, you use the touchpad to run or walk while having the freedom to physically move in a room-scale setup that the HTC Vive supports. If you have an Oculus Rift, or use the VIVE sitting down, you can still play but you lose some of the immersion.
Onward is priced at 24.99 on Steam. Other than an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift, you'll need at least an NVIDIA GTX 970 and 8 GB of RAM. They developer recommends an Intel i7-4770 and an NVIDIA GTX 980 for the best experience.