One thing that is missing in VR, is a decent Mech game that leans more on the arcade elements than realism. This is a gap that World of Mechs VR is looking to breach, so getting the opportunity to take a look at the game with the developers, this was one I could not turn down.
The main component of the game is the competitive online, squad based battles, that take place across of five-maps – that all bring different tactics to make the most of a squad. Outside of this it does have a campaign mode that has twenty-missions, and a bot mode for getting in that practice.
In my preview I was given the chance to jump in with a number of the development team, and learn more about the game, and their history in working on Mech games like MechWarrior 2. With their history in the genre and looking the VR market, they made the decision to bring a more arcade-element to the gameplay, and remove the main simulation you find in other VR Mech games. But, have kept elements like overheating if you are spamming your weapons, jumping and abilities – which is great for that tactical element, and making sure you are working as a team.
When it comes the Mechs, you have plenty to choose from, with eight-classes; medic, scout, vanguard, trooper, sniper, brawler and juggernaut – all that have their own benefits and weaknesses. Each of these classes have four-variants with different stats, and can change up a battle and tactics when needed. These also allow for some customisation in three slots. One that will add extra to your Mechs abilities like shield, extra actions before you overheat and speed increases – getting the correct one for your chosen Mech could cause a massive increase in your effectiveness on the field. Then each of your Mechs weapons have a slot you can customise, adding more ammo, reload speed and projectile travel speed.
Outside of the guns you have on the Mech, you also have some special abilities that charge over time – with each class having their own. This again can turn the battle in your teams favour, be leaving mines, blocking radars or dropping shield for cover – again bringing in that competitive element the team want. Over my time playing with the developers and taking on some bot matches, I got to try out each of the classes available, and found I was quite fond of the sniper class, and taking on the more distanced support.
The progression in World of Mechs VR, is needing to play games to gain money and XP, which are used to purchase the Mechs and perks to get that perfect build for you. This gives you reasons to return and play more as you learn more about your favourite class and getting the blend that works for you and your team.
You will getting your team together and competing in four different games modes, these are;
- Domination: Your usual domination game mode affair, holding more points will generate you more points. The team with the most points wins
- Team Deathmatch: Again what you expect from this mode, the team with the most kills wins
- VIP: In this mode someone is designated as the VIP. You earn points by killing the other teams VIP, and on death it switches to another member of the team – so, the most VIP kills wins
- Assault: This mode it’s a domination-esc style, but you have a spot in each base you need to defend and attack. Having people in the other teams base will generate points, but you also have to defend your own.
These modes work with that the tactical approach the team wanted to create, as in order to be successful at each mode, you will need to work as a team in these 4-v-4 matches. The team also took the decision to make the matches more shorter affairs to keep the game moving, and not getting stuck on set modes and matches for prolonged periods – again being perfect for the arcade-approach. Also, in the matches around the maps there is random generated buffs, like restoring health, your shield, overheating time and then both money or XP, that helps towards the aforementioned purchasing of Mechs and perks.
When it comes the visuals, it was interesting speaking to the team about working with the limitations of the Meta Quest 2, compared to making it for a PC. Eventhough, they have had to work with the hardware restraints they have still managed to make a nice looking game that keeps you immersed in the game. With the mech models looking nice and the maps being well designed in size and populated enough to be able to use them tactically and find ways to maybe swing the game in your teams favour.
The cockpit of your Mech is nice and clear, and has all the details you need on the HUD, from ammo count, your shield and health, your abilities and the score of the current game – and even seeing in-game arms and hands on the controls.
What was important with a game like this, is the comfort for players, and they have included many options to make it comfortable for players of all VR experience. I find with games with a cockpit, the framing of the cockpit can be a benefit for those who suffer, but the additional settings offered in World of Mechs should help further. These are options to remove cockpit way and screen shake, add a vignette cage which will narrow the view point, use analogue aiming over head aiming and snap turn. With how the game plays, it’s not possible to add teleport mode, as this would not work in competitive online play.
From my time playing World of Mechs VR with the developers and running some bot matches, I can say I hope this game gets a player-base and manages to keep active servers. I have really enjoyed going into a Mech VR game that is not fully based on the simulation and understanding all the inner working of the mechs, and feels a bit more arcadey. This allows the tactical approach and team work come to the forefront, and not distracting you with the full on simulation. With a selection of game-modes that focus on team work, making me feel like this could be a great addition to the VR Master League if it takes off with Quest 2 users.