While still in its infancy, Virtual Reality has had its share of experimental artistry bringing new ways to play video games. For every handful of great story experiences you’ll get in VR, there’s one game that comes out which raises the bar in the genre of making you feel like a badass action hero. Survios have given you such a time with their cyberpunk flavored action shooter, RAW DATA.
Published by: Survios
With VR in the consumer market for over a year, early adopting developers to the tech are just turning into their stride on pushing immersion boundaries. Raw Data is an example which nearly perfects the high tech shooting gallery. Players step into a futuristic world to fire a variety of weapons at wave after wave of increasingly aggressive and powerful robots.
Shooting is the bread and butter of this game. A mechanic so refined it’s artistic. Players can choose one of four characters with different weapons and abilities. Bishop, a dual pistol wielding merc also has the ability to use Max Payne like bullet time or hyper fire dozens of rounds a second. Boss is a shotgun pounding machine who can dismantle multiple enemies using a special grenade launching type sub-weapon. Saija is a cyber Ninja who slices and dices with her sword while Elder uses a pretty sweet futuristic bow to take out targets at a distance. Each of these characters makes players utilize different movements of either your move controllers on PlayStation or touch controllers on other VR platforms. While playing as the ninja you need to reach over your shoulder to draw your sword as you would if you had a sword in real life and combining your controllers lets you two-hand your sword for better defensive control. In another example, using a pistol with two hands lets you aim down the sight but in order to reload you’ll need to physically reach towards your hip to grab a new clip.
The control style is similar to what we experienced in John Wick VR but a bit more intuitive. For example, I couldn’t just simply pull my hands apart while using the bow-and-arrow to have the game overcompensate hit the target for me. It required me to use my left hand to aim my weapon carefully and if I drew my hands crookedly then my shot veered. They aren’t frustrating mechanics to learn but do require some practice to get the hang of. Thank you, Cal State Long Beach Archery club.
Raw Data’s main campaign is wave after wave of fending off killer robots. Fortunately, before the game can wear thin, it mixes up the action through different types of tension. One of its ten levels had players in near total darkness shooting at the glowing eyes of robot husks that leap out at you while another put everyone in danger as lightning randomly strikes the ground annihilating enemies or players if they don’t move fast enough.
Perhaps the only real weakness of Raw Data is the game’s story. As a resistance soldier in the city of Neo-Shinjuku, you’re tasked with stealing crippling data from the overlords of Eden Corp in order to rescue humanity from their evil plans. While Survios put an admirable level of detail in writing a lore of resistance against a corporately controlled world, most of it plays out in things you’ll read or hear from allies; never during your own actions which doesn’t give you a reason to care about these characters. During actual gameplay, there’s not much story unfolding, just an intense fight for survival.
Balancing the game’s average length campaign is how much there is to unlock with each character. You could easily complete the campaign with just one then go back to unlock hidden abilities by playing through again as the other characters. There’s also a more competitive element to multiplayer as you can challenge others in score-based competition. You’ll also be able to team up with a friend in co-op, but as of writing this, I haven’t had a chance to try it out.
Overall, Raw Data has more to offer than reasons for players to complain about. Survios have gone above and beyond translating the 2-D idea of Duck Hunt or Time Crisis. The studio has brought the unapologetic hostility and heart-pounding thrill of being in the bullet-riddled scenes from films like The Matrix and Kingsmen into as good an experience as you can play on the market. It’s one of the few VR games that treat the medium, not as a gimmick but the beginnings of a new way to play video games in a rare title that easily converts VR non-believers.