Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)

Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Optional
  • Move None
  • PS VR Aim Controller Recommended
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Title: Firewall Zero Hour
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (21.66 GB)
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: First Contact Entertainment
Original MSRP: $39.99 / $79.99 (US), £34.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I’ve got to hand it to the VR medium once again for making me not only enjoy, but become addicted to a gaming genre that I am normally not remotely interested in.

Games like Rainbow Six do not interest me. I have played them in the past and the time I spent with them was enjoyable, but overall I prefer science fiction shooters like Killzone and Destiny, or just straight up adventure games.

I was incredibly excited for Firewall Zero Hour because it was another game that took advantage of the PlayStation VR Aim controller, and I was already a part of a slowly growing VR community that was excited to play it online.

I can only imagine the elation that someone, who is a fan of the genre, would feel playing Firewall Zero Hour, because I was hooked. I even enjoyed the training mode for a few hours, until I was ready to jump online and play with some of the VR community.

The development team at First Contact Entertainment knew exactly what they were doing when they created this game. What would be a mark against any other shooter is actually a logical decision for Firewall Zero Hour.

As of launch there are only nine maps but there’s plenty of diversity in their style. Furthermore, there are only two game modes, and one of those is a training mode that can be played solo or co-op.

Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)

While that low number of game modes might sound absolutely atrocious, one must consider that VR is still relatively new, and the number of gamers who own a headset is not even remotely close to that of PlayStation 4 owners overall.

Couple that with the fact that some of those owners still have no interest in online-only FPS games and you run the risk of dividing your users into multiple game modes that could already suffer from player shortage.

The game mode that is included pits you and three buddies against another team of four. After picking from one of twelve contractors, you are thrust into one of the nine maps with one of two tasks:

1) Locate and hack a laptop in the environment before you and your team are taken out.
2) Protect the laptop and deploy jammers that make it difficult for the opposing team to discover the whereabouts of the laptop.

Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)

Matches are slow-paced, more like Rainbow Six than Call of Duty, with the sprint button speeding you into a fast walk and the regular walk mode feeling more like a crawl. This fits perfectly with the type of gameplay here because once you’re killed in a match, that’s it. There is no respawn so you’ll be a spectator until the match ends. Because of this, careful traversal helps.

Aiming works wonderfully, particularly with the Aim controller – which is also where I encountered one big conundrum with my review for this game. When the Aim controller works as it was meant to, there is very little in the gaming industry that could compare with the feeling of wielding these rifles in VR. It’s the closest thing to doing so in the real world.

That is, until the dreaded Aim drifting occurred. I will not fault Firewall Zero Hour for this issue, because I have experienced this problem with other Aim titles and I have ensured that every possible suggestion for fixing the issue was attempted.

The Aim controller simply has a gyro issue that is not being addressed by Sony and I heard other players dealing with it during matches. It’s an immersion-breaking disappointment that should be dealt with before more titles release for the otherwise amazing controller.

Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)

When everything is working as it should be, matches are intense and everyone is having fun. The few times when I experienced a lack of players, I’d hop on training mode and play against the AI. The game does not contain a campaign, but the AI is decent enough to enjoy matches when your friends aren’t online.

Playing private matches doesn’t grant you the EXP that you receive from playing in public games, and you really want that EXP for purchasing new weapon packages since there are no loot boxes here, everything available is earned in the game.

Visuals:
Factoring in the expected dip in visuals that current-generation VR experiences, Firewall Zero Hour looks pretty damn great on Sony’s headset. Environments contain excellent detail and immersive lighting.

Character models also look high-end and the inverse kinematics work well when you’re not doing something unnatural in the real world like putting the gun down on the couch which will make your character contort into awkward positions.

It’s risky in VR to include full body for this reason, but it works fantastic here and even allows for players to signal each other with motion instead of talking.

Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)

Audio:
Wear headphones with this baby. More sim than run-and-gun, Firewall Zero Hour has some realistic sound design, and under a good set of headphones, the dynamic sound compliments the immersion that VR brings.

Online/Multiplayer:
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the online component is still marred by host drops, though this appears to be an issue that the developer is looking to fix in the near future. As it is now, a great game can go sour if the host drops off.

That aside, matches run smoothly, and teaming up with a group of players that know what they are doing can make for some of the most immersive player-bonding that I’ve experienced in a long time. While there are only a few maps and even fewer game modes, the community kept me coming back for “one more match.”

VR has a way of sucking you in. You feel like kills are your own, and your team member, standing across the hall, is moving the way the player at home is moving, heightening the level of connection between you and your team.

Review: Firewall Zero Hour (PSVR)

Conclusion:
It would have been so easy for me to dismiss this title, due to its military-style shooter nature. But I found it to be some of the most fun I’ve had in VR. The Aim controller, when it works well, is something that should absolutely be experienced.

If you’re an FPS fan and own the VR headset, this one is a no-brainer. If you’re not an FPS fan and own a VR headset, you should really give this a chance. The online community is great, and pretty friendly too. If you don’t own the headset and you’re waiting for that one game to win you over, this may actually be the one.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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