Shooting galleries seem like a perfect fit for the virtual reality experience. With motion controllers having emerged some years ago, studios have been able to replicate light gun games akin to the original Time Crisis and House of the Dead. Naturally, strapped a VR headset on takes thing to the next level – or should, anyway. Compared to the Vive (for which Lethal VR is also available) and Oculus Rift, Sony’s software catalogue is nowhere as big, though we’ve already seen a number of these games crop up, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood being the most notable.
Lethal VR from Three Fields Entertainment, who also released Dangerous Golf last year, doesn’t rely on jump scares or creepy locales as a thematic crutch. Instead it focuses on the basics, presenting you with a high tech firing range supposedly used by FBI agents. It’s slick yet a little soulless, devoid of any narrative fluff so players can get straight down to business.
Score chasing is the name of the game here as you tackle a series of increasingly tough challenges. Employing a small yet powerful arsenal, you’ll need to gun down targets while complying to certain rules. You’ll be tasked with not shooting civilians or only hitting specific targets, and though they’re not particularly taxing rules, they help add some much-needed variety.
Lethal VR’s default handgun has a nice kick to it, the Move’s mapping and vibration almost making it feel like there’s a real pistol sitting in your hand. Although not as deft, the SMG can mow down multiple targets at once, which is a particularly effective tactic when shooting from the hip. A number of missions will also have you lobbing knives with varying degrees of success. At first my aim was all over the shop but after re-calibrating, dimming the lights, and making sure the headset was positioned properly, I was able to pin targets from afar with satisfying thunk.
Reaching a certain point threshold will open new challenges as you bounce between a handful of difficulty levels. None of the scenarios are particularly tricky, though there are one or two with noticeably tougher score requirements. Once complete, your only reason to go back and play them again is to improve your personal best. Then again, some missions feel enjoyably empowering enough to warrant the occasional return visit. In a Dangerous Golf-esque fashion, there are levels littered with priceless ornaments while others equip you with iconic weapons based on hit films, like Scaramanga’s golden gun and Oddjob’s razor-brimmed top hat.
Overall, Lethal VR is a decent looking game though lacks variety as you gun down the same cut-outs over and over. This absence of character will displease some though I honestly didn’t mind Three Fields’ utilitarian approach. They’ve put substance before style, relegating pretty baubles to focus on sharp and speedy gunplay.
Another potential issue here is longevity or value for money. If you were to simply blitz through Lethal VR, it would take you the best part of two hours. For £11.99 on PSVR or £9.99 on Vive, that might sound a bit steep, though there are bound to a number of players who will dip back in for some gun-toting action.
It’s hardly complex and far from essential, but Lethal VR is a fun and polished romp while it lasts. Shelf life may be a concern, but the minimal setup time needed makes Lethal VR easy to slip into whenever in need of some brief ballistics training.
Version tested: PlayStation VR