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Bravo Team is a Step Backwards for PlayStation VR

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Bravo Team

A great deal of amazing and innovative games have been released for VR. However, Bravo Team is not one of them. When PlayStation VR was announced in 2015, under the name Project Morpheus, developers seemed to have a seemingly limitless amount of potential to stun gamers over the coming years. With Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Tumble VR, Supermassive Games quickly become known for engaging with the fledgling medium, even if those efforts were only lukewarmly received. With the upcoming release of Bravo Team, the quality of Supermassive’s VR games has dropped from mediocre to abysmal.

Bravo Team is presented as a tactical cover-based shooter that relies on a squad dynamic. In reality, the game is little more than an expensive round on a Time Crisis arcade machine. As a member of Bravo Team, the player is tasked with a series of missions that ultimately results in ‘go here, shoot bad guys’. During a gameplay demo, players were put into a co-op session that tasked them with reaching the end of a war-torn bridge similar to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge as enemy soldiers scurry around abandoned cars. Before even starting the game, players were warned by staff about using the PlayStation VR’s new gun controller as it was not yet properly integrated. The lack of proper integration caused random tracking issues and the need to aim the controller at deformed angles to hit a target. The various issues made Bravo Team’s early development stage clear, including the fact setting up a co-op session took just as long as completing the demo.

Despite gamers being able to physically move up and down to avoid fire,  Bravo Team uses a similar mechanic to arcade shooters where the player steps on a paddle or presses a button to get in or out of cover.The only real use of VR in this game is the 360-degree vision as players are forced into a stationary position with a point-and-click system for movement. While many VR titles have adopted similar ideas, the way Bravo Team implements movement shatters the immersion, as the camera is pulled back to a third-person view while the player-characters shamble behind cars.

The crux of the matter is that Bravo Team is shaping up as a disappointment for any individual who bought a PlayStation VR expecting an immersive boots-on-the-ground experience. When VR titles such as Onward and Pavlov are being created from independent developers, the lacklustre experience offered by Supermassive Games is unjustifiable. However, the recent delay of the game from late 2017 to March 2018 leaves one hoping the developers address and fix many of the issues plaguing the current build.

Despite Bravo Team’s many failings, gamers can still look forward to the titles announced for PlayStation VR during Paris Games Week. While only be a few titles are currently available for PSVR, Sony promises multiple new projects ranging from whimsical adventures to bone-chilling horror in the near future. However, the questionable quality of Bravo Team may be enough to turn some players away from purchasing VR headsets at all.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019

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Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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