Imagine, if you will, a world in which the Roman Empire never collapsed. Hannibal never marched on Rome, barbarians never sacked it, there was no split leading to the Byzantine Empire and its eventual collapse. Instead it continued to expand and conquered the entire world, making vast technological advancements along the way. But not everything has changed, with a penchant for brutal violence and gladiatorial contests. This is the world Telefrag VR builds for its 1v1 virtual reality arena shooter.
The Coliseum in Rome doesn’t play host to these futuristic battles. Instead there are five arenas built around the concept of impossible space. You can teleport and stand on any surface you can see, meaning that there’s no defined wall, floor or ceiling, and that your opponent could be anywhere. You need to be fully aware of your surroundings as you hunt… or desperately try to escape!
You are armed with two weapons at a time, which can consist of rocket launchers, plasma rifles, and pistols to deal damage. In addition to these weapons, your teleporting ability can also be used offensively. If you time it just right you can teleport into your opponent and rip them apart as you displace them. Telefragging like this is, after all, the name of the game!
Movement in Telefrag can be done either smoothly or through snap movement, and on PlayStation VR you can choose between DualShock 4 or the Move controllers. Snap movement may be more comfortable for a lot of people, but it can get a bit dizzying when trying to quickly find your opponent. Personally, I prefer a smoother movement to look around and move, but this and your other comfort settings are up to you. Telefrag VR has an option to play with bots so you can get a handle on everything, and you can adjust their difficulty to ease you in. The tutorial mode is also rather robust and gives a proper look at how each of the weapons works.
Telefrag VR feels a bit light on content. There are a total of five weapons and five maps to fight across, and there’s nothing here beyond online 1v1 deathmatches and fighting AI bots. It does try to keep you in the action when you head online to play, with bots filling in the gaps when you can’t be matched to another player. The post-launch community already seems small, as both matches exceeded my battles with other humans. You can tell the difference, which almost makes it worse. Bots can be quite predictable compared to never quite knowing what to expect from another player.
Rounds won’t last long if you quickly run into your opponent, even with the ample health and armour buffs dotted around. On the other hand, you can often be searching for a bit too long, hoping to cross paths as the tension builds.
The game itself is nicely styled with each of the five arenas all having distinctive layouts for you to teleport around and battle. The game is billed as being about quick and deadly attacks while hunting, but tracking your enemy can feel really disorientating when you’re playing in a full 360 degree arena and can be attacked from any angle. There’s a lot to focus on and not really enough time to do it.