We were fans of the original Crisis VRigade, and where the difficulty curve at first could be frustrating, it soon became one of the favourite features of the game. So, when Crisis VRigade 2 was announced we knew we had to get ourselves prepared for another round of difficult action-orientated shooting goodness.

Please Note: This hands-on was created with the game still in early access, so changes could be made as the game continues development.

Gameplay

One thing you need to understand about Crisis VRigade 2 is this made by a small development team of five people. Meaning you will not get any story, cinematic cut scenes or arcing backstories for your character… the game is all about action-filled fast paced gameplay.

When first looking at Crisis VRigade 2, you might look at the game and think another wave shooter in VR, but, do not be fooled this is much more than that. With the game bringing the old school light-gun game feeling back, and not skipping on the difficulty of those coin-guzzling machines either.

In the gameplay itself, you are going to be taking on a wave of enemies in each segment of the level, with Time Crisis type gameplay coming to mind – but, the beauty of VR having you ducking behind the cover yourself and not with a peddle. When taking out the enemies they might also drop weapons and power-ups, to get these you will need to shoot the icon. Doing this will see you provided with automatic weapons and things like more health, timed slow-motion and more – all that could become important in helping you clear that section.

Once you have cleared that section you will get signs to shoot to move onto the next section. In some cases you will be presented with a multiple choices on what way to go. When shooting these it will take you to the next section with fading between scenes of the route taken. So, there is no manual movement with the controllers required in the game.

In the game you are given three lives, once you’ve been hit three times (which might not take long with the deadly accuracy of the AI) it’s game over. But this brings in the final element of the gameplay; as you play it you will be rewarded with bullets that work as a currency in game. These can be used in the main menu to buy consumables like up to five extra lives and starting the round with an automatic gun, which you will loose as soon as you run out of ammo, but gives you a good stating point. These can also be used to buy more permanent items like skins for the weapons or continues in the game – with a maximum being available two.

Presentation

One thing we were happy to see an improvement in was the visual presentation. Where this worked in the original the more realistic visuals really suits what Crisis VRigade 2 aims to be. Really giving off that aforementioned light-gun feeling and especially Time Crisis. Everything in the game looks nice graphically from the level designs and the character models, keeping you immersed in the game.

When it comes to the sound design, expect to hear a lot of gun fire with each of the available guns sounding like the real-life counterparts. Outside the constant gun fire between you and the enemies, you will hear communications from your captain, who usually only berates you for doing things like missing shots and reloading to quickly. You will then also get a slow down in audio as you are hit and some music as you move through your chosen path between the action.

Comfort/Controls

With the game needing you to duck in person the game has to be played from a standing position and will require you to be crouched down for a good percentage of your gaming session – so this will need to be considered if you will have issues doing this.

The controls will have you using the grab and trigger buttons as you would in other shooters. But, you will use a button to release the magazine in order to reload – and with the manual crouching for cover, there really isn’t much more you need to remember.

Longevity

It’s really hard to put a longevity on Crisis VRigade 2, as the difficulty curve means different people could get through it quicker or take longer. Either way you will find reasons to playthrough the three levels again, given the multiple path choices and the fast paced, challenging and fun gameplay that will keep you returning.

Also, although it is not currently available, the team will be bringing co-op back into the game throughout the development in early access. The co-op element was not only a great part of the original game. but also a great help when getting through the levels.

bHaptics Support

The team at Sumalab have already added native support for the bHaptics products, and we have tried it out with the Tactsuit Vest for part of our playthrough. From the testing we can say the way they have implemented the support for the vest works well for the game.

With the haptics pulsing as you shoot your weapon and the enemy fire is either hitting you or your cover. This does not only add to the immersion as the more enemies the more feedback you are getting, but also gives you an idea when it’s safe pop-up and take your shots and when the enemies numbers are dwindling.

If you have the bHaptics Tactsuit, we would certainly recommend suiting up and testing this out yourself, as it does bring a new level of immersion with it.

For the purpose of transparency, this hands-on was completed using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a free code does not affect my judgement of this product.

Crisis VRigade 2 has taken all the things great from the first title and then improved on them with the sequel. Bringing with it a similar experience, but one that is more polished. We are glad to see the team at Sumalab have not budged on the difficulty curve as well, as this is one thing that keeps you going back for more. If you have never played Crisis VRigade before we would highly recommend not passing it off another VR wave shooter and give it a go as it offers so much more.