Sunday , 19 May 2024
PCVR GamesReviews

Hellsweeper VR Review

Since trying the early demo of Hellsweeper VR in the Steam Next Fest I have been eagerly anticipating the release of of the full game. Having really enjoyed my time in the demo, I have been playing the full game – did it leave me impressed?

GAMEPLAY

The team at Mixed Realms have taken the rouge-like first person action approach with Hellsweeper VR. So, one thing to take into account if this is not sort of genre of game, this might not be for you. But, what it does it brings a fantastic mix of melee weapons, spells and hand-gun together to allow for some visceral combat.

As you would expect with a rouge-like game, you are going to be taking on a number of waves in each run. Hellsweeper VR is make of three sets, which all include five levels and finish on a boss fight. You aim is to make it through all three sets in one run. On death you return to the lobby and will be starting from the first set again.

Across the five levels they mix up the goal to keep it a bit more fresh. These included taking on waves of enemies and killing them all, finding cubes to place onto totems and smashing up certain totems to wipe out all the enemies in that area. The later two do come as time-based challenges, and completing them in the set time with give you better rewards at the end of the level. With that in mind, each level you complete in the set will present you with some upgrade options for that run, which will allow you to add buffs and upgrades to any of your skills or weapons.

You can also unlock some extra buffs by collecting keys in each level and unlocking the chest placed in that area – again these are temporary buffs for that run only. You also collect currency when completing levels, breaking totems and opening chests, that can be spent to unlock permanent items and add buffs at the start of your next runs.

As aforementioned the combat is going to be made up using three skills, that you can mix-up to get a good build that suits you.

The first element being magic, which will let you wield spells around three elements fire, stone and ice. You then get a wide range of melee weapons like swords, scythes and axes and you can also pick up and use the limbs you have chopped of the enemies – all of these can also be thrown at the enemies or even levitated in front of you and spun. Finally you will get your pistol, which can be re-loaded by smacking them together or manually with the later doing more damage each time it’s reloaded. You can also hold the pistol double handed that will also give it a damage buff and combine them with spells. Outside of the weapons you wield personally, you will also get a trusty Hellhound companion, which you can summon to help you in your battles – which is very handy when getting over-run in waves. But, you can also play fetch outside of battles with a squeaky toy, that really had me more entertained than it should have.

Now, for me the games massive selling point in Mixed Realms approach to no-hold-barred movement, something not many studios like to approach (for reasons mentioned later in the review). Outside of your usual free/smooth locomotion, they include jumps, somersault and wall running. Putting these all together smoothly with your attacks and it makes for some fantastic and bad-ass moments – but really is intense for the player.

As mentioned you will get the chance in each level to unlock temporary buffs, and these can be across all your skill and also buffs for your movement for example; more damage when somersaulting. So, selecting the correct buffs for your style is going to just as important as your spells and weapons.

PRESENTATION

Visually I don’t feel like the game used the potential of what PCVR can offer to full effect, but, still offer visuals that and lighting that bring the hell setting to life – and PCVR is certainly the best looking version of the game available. Where it does stumble a little bit, is at first you feel the level design does bring plenty of aspects of hell, but, as you play more and more you start to notice elements do re-appear quite frequently in the level designs. Where this does not take away form the great design of the levels and enemies, it just makes the idea of hell feel less vast in size.

Overall the audio design is done to a good standard, with the spacial audio allowing you to make out were the enemies are and going to be attacking from. The spoken audio is well voiced acted, clear and easy to understand and the environmental audio suit the areas you visit on your runs – be it more closed off or open space design. Although, there was one element of the audio I felt they did not take full advantage of and that was the soundtrack, it feel like it should have been joined by some haunting or even more intense metal music in the boss fights (like In Death’s use of Gregorian Chant music, helped set the tone perfectly).

COMFORT/CONTROLS

Hellsweeper VR can be played seated, standing or using room-scale. When it comes to the movement, this is were people without good VR legs could suffer with this release. The games big selling point it no-holds-barred movement system, which means anyone who suffers from any sort of motion sickness will really struggle with the game. The games does allow you use teleport, but only using this over everything that the game offers is like clipping the wings of the games potential.

TRACKED CONTROLLERS

GAMEPAD

LONGEVITY

At the time of writing this review, I have yet to complete the second run, and have three to four-hours in to the game. But, as with any rouge-like game I do feel like I am getting better in each run, it’s more getting used the bosses over making it through it the levels, that becomes the stumbling point. The big part of the games longevity will come in unlocking everything in the game, and if you take the gameplay I am sure you want to keep returning completing your runs and purchasing all the upgrades that are available.

REVIEWED USING DPVR E4

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 judgment of the product.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Hellsweeper VR full release gave me exactly what I was expected from playing the demo. If you are looking for a VR rouge-like that has no-holds-barred movement, visceral combat with reasons to keep returning this really is a no-brainer. However, it does come with the caveat of needing to have VR legs and a strong stomach in VR, as the freedom in movement is what this game is all about and it does get intense quickly.

GAME DETAILS

Release Date: September 21st 2023
Developer: Mixed Realms
Publisher: Vertigo Games
Price: US $29.99 / CA $39.99 / €29,99 / £24.99

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