Hands-on With Contractors VR (HTC Vive)
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.
Please note this hands-on was created using a product that is currently in Early Access, meaning some of the issues could be resolved over time.
There is a number of shooters trying to make an impact in the VR medium at the moment, and Caveman Studio have joined in this with their title Contractors VR. I did enjoy my time with the beta leading to the launch, but what do I make of the early access release?
Firstly, this is a team based multiplayer game, so you are not going to find any sort of campaign. But, this is not a bad thing as the team have been able to concentrate on the multiplayer aspect of the game. This has allowed them to produce some fantastic maps to keep you entertained as they add to the game over the early access period.
At the moment they have included one game mode, which is all about capturing points and holding them as it transmits data. The way it plays out the best comparison I can make is Headquarters on Call of Duty. Once you or the opposition have taken the point and it’s transmitting, the other team needs to neutralise that point. Once it has been neutralised it will stop transmitting and a new point will be activated. Rinse and repeat this until someone reaches to the points cap. As well as capturing the points when players are killed they will drop ‘data’ and if you go and collect this it will add to transmission amount. Working together will allow you collect these and bring your team more points towards the 1 gigabyte total needed to win. In really tight games this can become a really important part of your victory.
The game has launched in early access with four maps, all offering something different in relation to tactics and team work. One thing the team have done well is made sure each map feels different, meaning it stays fresh if you are switching the maps after each game… but this is decided by voting. Although at the moment each game I have been in a new map is normally voted for, only in one occasion have I seen people vote for the same map.
As previously mentioned the game is a squad based shooter and working as a team with friends or strangers is going to play a big part. You will sometimes get into teams when players don’t talk or work together, but I have found the community can be very talkative and wanting to work as a team. It is really easy to notice the advantage you gain in the game when working as a team to when not, so maybe this is why people are keen to do so. Especially when getting into the game with a group of friends you can soon dominate teams, as you are working together as a unit.
Outside of the multiplayer games you are placed into a lobby area, this includes some neat little extras. It includes an assault course you need to make you way around shooting targets, a shooting range with paper targets which you can bring close to see where you were hitting, some missions that will see you shooting targets as they pop up with weapons you are given, and then some more buttons you can press one releases zombies to and one release soldier to take out. The final part to this release is a bot mode, so you can practice the maps and also test your guns and everything out without the need to do this in the live games.
Visually the game is really strong, as well as each map playing differently they are all in different locations. These are all well designed in both layout and in visuals. One issue I find is the lighting in some of the maps is very vibrant at times, and it seems a little fake, however this is not game breaking. The game does not come with any jaggies around the environments and the textures are all of a high detail.
When it comes the audio design, this also of a high standard. Then have the background noises to set the tone for each maps location. The guns all sound great, and one of the snipers is so beefy sounding, you will certainly know when one is being used. Overall the visuals and use of audio make sure you are immersed in this shooter, and keeps you in each map they have created.
The game can be played standing using room-scale at the moment, but the team are bringing in seated option with a crouch button. The game is played using the tracked motion controllers, with each one representing the corresponding hand. The touch pads are used for movement in the game, and you can use them to turn or turn physically if you prefer that for the extra immersion. The grips are used to grab the weapon and the clips when reloading the gun, and of course the trigger on your dominate hand to shoot the gun. Other than these you can use up on the touch pad on your dominate hand to switch the fire mode. The team have used the controller mapping we see in a lot of shooters, but that is not an issue because they all use them because it works.
ProTubeVR /Gun Stock
With this being a shooter, of course you can bring more immersion and accuracy using a gun stock. I use the ProTubeVR when ever I play shooters and Contractors brings a great level of support for these. Caveman Studio’s have brought an option that I have not seen in any other shooter. You active the use of a gun stock and then you can calibrate you gun to fit perfectly to your setup. At the start this could be done for multiple guns, however, with the last patch this got a bug – but of course this will be ironed out in the next update.
Over my time playing the game for this article I have come to get a real love for Contractors VR. With the people I have been jumping into the game with, I have expressed that it’s the first shooter for a while where I want to jump back into and play more each night. Now of course with this being in early access I think the game will need to bring more content over it’s development to make sure it stays fresh and keeps the user base it is already growing. I would love to see them bring more game modes, which one is listed in upcoming patch notes – so if looks like we will already be getting that. Then of course new maps will also become an important addition, because although each map plays different, after playing them over a prolonged period people will want something fresh to learn. With all this in mind, if it continues to develop at the level shown so far, this could easy become the best shooter available in the VR medium.
Also available on Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality
Developer: Caveman Studio
Buy Contractors VR on Steam