I was left impressed with my first look at Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom on the Meta Quest 2. Now, I have played through the full game was I still as impressed with what the team at Maze Theory have done with the licence?
You start the game being snuck back into Small Heath by your Aunty and being given a protection letter from Arthur Shelby and informed to go and see Tommy Shelby in The Garrison. Once you meet Tommy, you are given a mission to go and retrieve Winston Churchill’s Red Box, which contains the identities of British Agents around the world. The question is can you retrieve this box and make amends with the Shelby’s after deserting them?
As soon as you start the game (outside of the tutorial), you know the game is going to be a great fan service for those who liked the TV Show. As you will find yourself walking down Garrison Lane and the intro music from the show starts – giving you that feeling of being in the TV series.
Once you have had your conversation with Tommy in The Garrison, gaining your trust back is started instantly and drags you straight into the criminal underworld and dealing with someone who has upset the Peaky Blinders. Which raises the question can you kill someone at the demand of Tommy Shelby?
After doing this, the game then opens up to the few gameplay elements it offers, from set objectives like disarming bombs or finding documents and the all out action of shoot outs between the Shelby’s and the communist workers that want to see the end of the Shelby’s reign of controlling Birmingham and the Chinese.
The main element of the gameplay is the shoot-outs between you and the Shelby’s enemies and the gunplay is handled well, although you only have a pistol and petrol bombs in your arsenal. When it comes to ammo and the petrol bombs these are always laid around the area and cover points when in these battles, and not something you will find and store for use at a later time.
Other than the all the action you will find a large number of collectibles placed around the game and collecting them will unravel hidden stories that are outside of the games plot.
Overall the gameplay does not offer a lot of variation, but it is kept inline with what you would expect in an episode of the show and does not step outside of the comfort of the shows roots – but, this is what you would expect from a game based on a TV series.
Maze Theory have done well in recreating the gritty locations of the show with you visiting important settings like the Shelby’s Betting Shop, Charlie’s Yard and the aforementioned The Garrison, along with the docks in London. You will also be joined by key characters throughout the game with Polly joining Tommy and Arthur – these character models and detailed and look great. Considering this has been achieved on the standalone device, they have done well in making you immersed in 1928’s Birmingham.
A nice little touch to the immersion and presentation is allowing you to take out a cigarette and light it at anytime while in the game, which will either exhale a puff of smoke or sometimes see you blow a ring of smoke. It is little touches like this can sell the immersion of the games setting.
The team have got Cillian Murphy and Paul Anderson to voice Tommy and Arthur Shelby giving that extra immersion and making you feel like you are in an episode of the show – and although Polly is not voiced by Helen McCrory, her replacement does a solid job. Outside of these characters all the voice acting is performed well and the sounds of 1928’s Birmingham is portrayed well in each setting keeping you inside the world of Peaky Blinders.
Maze Theory have made sure they have included all comfort options, from standing or seated play, teleport or free locomotion and smooth and snap turn – and the option of adding a vignette and control your movement speeds.
They have also implemented the controls that are associated with this type of game, with the analogues being used to move, grips to pick up items and triggers to shoot/use items. With pressing in the analogues ducking (for those who do not want to actively do this) and the buttons being secondary action – like releasing the clip from your gun.
My playthrough of the game lasted around one to one and a half hours, but this was without looking for the games many collectibles and only collecting the ones I came across naturally while playing. The game has plenty of different collectibles to look for and when completing the game it opens up the areas to explore freely to look for them. But, I feel only the completionists will find the reason to look for them all.
reviewed using meta quest 2
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product
Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom makes you feel like you are involved in an episode of the TV show – and really does feel like a fan service for those who enjoyed the TV series. But, unfortunately this means those who did not watch or did not like the show wont really get much from it. The reason for this is the gameplay and story really doesn’t do enough to sell the game on its own merit. Its being in these locations, meeting characters and liking the TV series that is the main selling point of the game for me – meaning to get full enjoyment from the game you have want that feeling of being in your own episode of the show.
Release Date: March 9th 2023
Developer: Maze Theory
Publisher: Maze Theory
Price: US $29.99 / €29.99 / £24.99