Back in the days of arcade games, one game seemed to be the most popular by far, and the lines to play it were always so sizable that I didn’t even bother most of the time. This game was called Time Crisis and the big selling point of the game was the implementation of the Light Gun and the cover mechanic. These two things came together to create an action experience that overwhelmed arcades and soon consoles alike. So, years later, Crisis VRigade came along with a name just a little too familiar to be oblivious to what they were going for here. Imitation is the finest form of flattery, and in this case? It’s an absolute tribute to what that game so magical many years ago. Crisis VRigade 2 improves upon the original’s success in every conceivable way and it creates one of the most satisfying VR shooters out there with a challenge that will make any player sweat to reach the finish line. If you thought that VR was going to be perfect for a Time Crisis clone, you were right and we’ve got it.
Crisis VRigade 2 starts out with you at the start menu, given a gun to get you into the game and things are pretty straightforward from here. There is a manual reload mechanic that is used by VR games all over, but it feels just as good here. The most startling thing you’ll notice from this sequel is that the graphics have been amped up considerably and instead of the cartoony, blocky characters, you get some serious, realistic graphics in comparison. While the initial Crisis VRigade was not a graphical marvel by any stretch, there was a certain amount of charm to their violent little block characters. It does lose a bit here by changing the graphical style and it starts to feel like a lot of other VR shooters by losing this piece of their identity. Currently, there is only one campaign mode and then the multiplayer mode in which you can take on levels with a friend.
What does it feel like to play?
Like most VR shooters, you’ll be doing a whole lot of aiming and shooting here. Where this game differs though is it forces you to utilize cover wherever you can find it. Unfortunately, you are kept to a static spot the entire game, so while you teleport from place to place, in each level, you’re only able to move where the game dictates and although this goes with the idea of recreating a Time Crisis style game, it feels strangely limiting for a current-gen VR game. The cover mechanic is great though and I’ve rarely found experience like in VR where the physics impact how safe you feel. Enemies can’t shoot you behind cover and you can’t shoot them behind cover. This creates a pretty engaging game of who is going to look first and surprisingly, the enemy AI is incredibly intelligent regardless of difficulty setting and if you poke your head out too much, you’re going to get lit up as your reward for doing so. To keep the experience fresh, each time you complete a portion of the level, you’re going to accumulate coins that you can use to purchase various items. You’ve got everything from dual-wielding guns to riot shields here and each one becomes a unique twist on the established gameplay formula. During gameplay, there are powerups that keep the playing field even as well including the ability to slow down time which creates a Max Payne type of effect. Many of these powerups considerably change the way you approach a situation, so it’s not just some arbitrary powerup, these things matter big time to the way every combat scenario goes.
What will Keep you Playing?
I have played a lot of VR games, but few give me the challenge that Crisis VRigade 1 gave me and the sequel is pretty much the exact same level of challenge which means it’s as hard as it gets from second to second gameplay. Adding to this, you’ve got the absolute rush of being in an intense firefight, and the physics at play make it seem far more than just an arcade type of experience. The multiplayer is a great experience too and whether it is with a friend or on your own, you will get tons of fun out of this immense challenge. The developers at Sumalab seem very dedicated to keeping the game updated too and so far, there has been added multiplayer, 4 new difficulty modes, and refined stages to keep you coming back for a fresh experience.
Crisis VRigade 2 has a unique setup in that the main point of the game is to hide behind cover before taking your shots, so depending on your set play area, those obstacles can be right on top of you, in which case you don’t have to move at all, or they can a couple of steps away with larger defined play spaces and this definitely adds to the immersion. Just be aware of your balance and surroundings every now and then as the action can make things a bit disorienting.
I recorded my 30-minute workout with a Fitbit and played on an Oculus Quest 2 Headset.
Calories burned: 313
Calories burned per minute: 10
Average Heart Rate: 128
Max Heart Rate: 150
Active Minutes: 29
Intensity is something that’s in the eye of the beholder before, but honestly, in all of the VR shooters I’ve played, I’ve never felt intensity like Crisis VRigade 2 delivers. Whether it’s the pulse-pounding soundtrack, outstanding sound effects or just straight up devilishly strategic and aggressive enemies, the culmination of it all makes you feel like you’re in a real shootout and where other games might give you a health bar or other unrealistic things to add to it, here it is maybe two shots before you see game over. It’s not the most physically demanding game out there, but trust me, you will sweat and you will get that heart rate up if you put some time into this, and to me, that defines intensity more than any random pushup or squat would.
There are a few ways to go about playing Crisis VRigade 2. You can go the straightforward route with a single handgun, possibly using an actual obstacle in front of you to peak over to simulate the objects you’ll be ducking behind, or you can use one of the many powerup features in the game to change your weaponry. You can opt for using a gigantic Riot shield to block the oncoming bullets, though you need to keep your arm steady and aimed carefully because you can still be hit if your angles are off in this regard. To get both arms in the action, you can choose to dual wield and live out your John Wick fantasies here which is really the preferred way to play if you ask me. If you’re set on playing with just one gun though, you can opt to grip that gun hand with your other hand for improved aim and this will keep both arms working hard as these levels can go on for a while.
Theoretically, you could play Crisis VRigade 2 sitting down, but man, would you be missing the point here. Half the joy of this experience is getting a real behind cover experience that you’ve seen for years in flat screen games but really haven’t seen much of in VR. The mechanic is built on this kind of action here and it works phenomenally as long as you’re ready to work. And work you will as the equivalent of my workout in just 30 minutes with this game had to be something like 100 squats. While you can dictate the speed at which you do this, considering there is no time limit, you’re often going to be rising and ducking at least a dozen times per minute during your playing time. A lot of times, you’re going to be half ducked down just so you can line up the perfect shot while not getting hit yourself, and keeping in this position for an extended amount of time adds a lot of stress to the legs, so expect to be bit sore the next day after giving some time to this game.
Core/ Balance- 8/10
With all the ducking, reaching, twisting, and shooting you’ll be doing in Crisis VRigade 2, it is no wonder you’re going to feel the burn in your core after a while. Your core will dictate most of your actions here, so having a strong core beforehand will actually make you a far better player than those who have been avoiding that type of workout. Balance wise, this game will challenge you to not fall over many times as you’ll be thinking there is a solid piece of cover in front of you and at times you might want to reach and touch it and use it to rise up only to find that there is nothing there. I negated this by putting a small ottoman in front of me, just so I had something to hold onto when I wanted to vault up quickly. It’s a bit disorienting at times though, so make sure you know your place in your play area before the action gets too intense.
Time Perception- 9/10
Crisis VRigade 2 isn’t made for those looking for a casual dip-in and dip-out experience. I guarantee that once you get into the thick of things here, you’re going to be dying to jump in for just one more try. The graphics are solid and the sound and atmosphere will definitely keep you invested. I was totally absorbed into the action around me during my time with the game and I’m not sure to put it properly, but this is an experience that can feel. The action, the nerves, it’s all very real feeling here in a way that other VR shooters tend to miss the mark with.
I’m sure that the action going down here might not be for everyone, but for those who enjoy a challenge and some realistic type of shootouts? Crisis VRigade seems like it has a lot of longevity to it and the developers are consistently adding content and it is the type of game where you really only need to keep adding levels and people would play it forever. With different weapons, powerups, and other interesting items to choose from, you can make each playthrough feel completely different from your strategic standpoint. There are several modes as well and each tweaks the gameplay just enough so that the experience remains fresh.
Fitness Scalability- 8/10
You’re fully in charge of how hard your workout is here. Depending on your difficulty mode choice, the weapons you use, and just how overall aggressively you choose to play, you can have a slow and methodical playthrough or a face-paced experience that will have you sweatier than you might expect a VR shooter to cause.
Dizziness/ Nausea- 8/10
If you’re irked by constant movement in VR, I can tell you already that this will be slightly difficult to get the hang of because movement is not an option in Crisis VRigade, it is a requirement. Unless you want every run through here to last about 3 seconds, you’re going to have to respect the duck and pop gameplay if you’re going to have fun here and while it was okay for me, some of the less VR acquainted might find this a bit of a jarring experience at first.
Social Competition- 9/10
Despite Crisis VRigade 2 releasing initially without multiplayer, a recent update has given us just that and if you ask me, this is the way the game is to be played. Coordinating your shots with a friend in this mode is thrilling and while the gameplay doesn’t change all that much, like most games, it’s just more fun to go through with a friend.
VR Score- 8.3/10
Fit Score- 9/10
Crisis VRigade 2 is one of the most fun and energetic shooters in all of VR and the quirkiness and attitude it spits at you every time you play is just begging for multiple playthroughs. The graphics are nice enough and the sound effects and atmosphere just completely immerse you in the action. The multiplayer leads to double the fun as well as you and a friend or a stranger can take on all the levels together if you so choose. The ongoing support of this game will keep it relevant for years to come just as its predecessor was.
Hard to find much bad here. The gameplay is repetitive, but you know what you’re buying into here, so the shooter experience should be expected. It’s not the longest game in the world, but it’s for such a low price that you will get your money’s worth and then some.
Crisis VRigade 2 is available on Steam The Playstation Store and the Oculus Store for $19.99 and is playable on Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive, Valve Index, Oculus Rift, PSVR and Windows Mixed Reality Headsets.