While it’s taken time to refine them, two genres that have come to suit VR very well are first person shooters and real time strategy. You could either be in the mix of the action firing off rounds against enemies, or view a whole map below you and command your units to build a base and ambush the enemy. Out of Ammo is a game that looks to mesh those two genres into one package, but it does so with mixed results.
Out of Ammo offers up this genre mash-up through three missions and a bunch of survival maps. It’s the survival maps where you’ll get the full brunt of what is on offer in the game, where you can switch between tactical and first person views, with the simple aim of trying to survive as many enemy waves as possible for as long as possible.
As the rounds start and at regular intervals a helicopter will fly in and bring supplies for you to make use of. These could be units that include riflemen, rocket launcher troops, engineers and medics, or defensive structures such as sandbag barricades, watchtowers, machine gun nests, medic tents, and engineer tents. However you’ll have no idea what will be made available to you, which means you can’t really employ long term tactics due to the random nature of what is dropped.
On one hand, this really does put you into a survivalist mentality as you make do with what is given. Get a watchtower when you wanted a machine gun nest? Tough luck, just get on with the job. On the other hand, a separate sandbox mode could have been good where you could trade points for units allowing you to play around with different tactical layouts.
As the items arrive you pick them up and place them where you want them constructed, which is what your engineers are for. After the structure is built you assign a soldier to man it. Snipers are best suited for watchtowers while riflemen can sit behind sandbags. There’s only brief respites to decide what to do, with most of the construction and assigning of troops going on as your base is already under attack. It’s really at these moments where the first person section comes into play.
You can pick any friendly unit of the ground and possess them to switch into first person mode. If there’s an enemy way off in the distance, you can possess a sniper at the press of a button, line up a shot and fire. There’s a good physical design to the first person interactions, so as soon as you’ve fired the bolt action rifle, run the clip of your assault rifle dry, or whatever, you need to use your other hand to reach out, pick up a fresh bullet and slot it into place.
The issue is that this all becomes very repetitive very quickly with no real deviation across the maps. Some may have tanks rolling while others don’t, but once you’ve beaten a couple of rounds you’ve seen pretty much everything that Out of Ammo has to offer. The shooting is fun, but the tactical nature of the game could be expanded.
Maybe the decent first person shooting is why the three missions on offer are first person affairs. One is an overwatch mission where you provide sniper cover for a group of soldiers as they wait for extraction, another sees you stealing data and holding off enemies, while the third casts you as the sole survivor of a crash behind enemy lines where you have to wait for extraction. While they each have a solid set up, the missions do feel a bit tacked on as an afterthought. There’s a co-op mode in the game too which adds another player to the survival modes.
Visually the game does look a bit like Minecraft with blocky units that are a bit reminiscent of Steve, which then fall apart as little blocks when killed. The environments themselves are a little more textured and detailed, but you’ll still draw comparisons. The sound work is generally good with weapons sounding decent and a small amount of voice work to go alongside.
One of the main issues I found was with the controls. At points the game wouldn’t register grabbing a clip or bullet from the side, even if the action had been performed in the same manner moments previously. The accuracy of some guns felt off especially in the overwatch mission where bullets seem to glance passed stationary enemies, even if the shot was lined up perfectly. With more robust tracking available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and with room scale VR, these issues might be lessened on systems other than PSVR.
Out of Ammo is a decent experience that blends RTS and FPS together, and if can be fun if you want something quick and not too taxing. However, it’s a game that shows its hand very quickly and doesn’t offer much beyond that.