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Firewall: Zero Hour Hands-On Preview – Rainbow Six Meets VR

I’ll lead with the obvious. Firewall: Zero Hour answers the question, that admittedly I’ve heard no-one ask. How would Rainbox Six: Siege perform if it were a PlayStation VR title?

While I’ve never wondered this myself, I’m sure glad the team at First Contact has filled this void because it goes without saying that this tactical shooter does what it does very well and it’s damn fun.

With our goggles fixed in place and an Aim controller in hand, we lobbied up. It’s in this strange pre-game space where teams can throw a bit of shade or perhaps sit silently, not willing to give away any of the strategies about to unfold. While I kept quiet out of both anxiousness and pre-firefight shellshock I explored the menu and decided on what Contractor I’d adopt as my avatar. Fortunately, there’s a pretty gruff looking, beard and sunnies ablaze, Australian operator named Skip so I quickly filled his boots and readied up.As a fearsome quartet, we rolled into battle, starting on the attacking side. In the world of Firewall, information is key so our end goal is to hack a laptop for its intel. To discover its location, however, we must first tap into one of the access points scattered on the map. Like Siege, the spawns are random and locations are seldom the same, making for an ever-changing experience that constantly keeps you on your toes.

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Firewall is an unnerving experience for its first couple of minutes. Knowing that you’re one of two squads on the loose is terrifying in those first silent moments, but that first bark of gunfire is like an adrenaline shot to the heart. In our experience, firefights were often quite quick and to the point. Thanks to the game’s heightened level of immersion, there was a weighty realism to riddling a body full of lead. I expect fans of Rainbow Six to adore this game, provided the community exists to keep it breathing.

Team chatter is always the number one facet in any tactical squad-based shooter, and Firewall is no exception. Of course, it’s a shooter but if you’re not chirpy you’re as good as dead. My team learned this the hard way, adapting to the nuance of Zero Hour slower than our opponents as they stormed us in an intense blitzkrieg, managing to hack the laptop with one second to spare in what was a mind-blowing and climactic finale.

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Firewall is one of the very few titles that features full locomotion. This is thanks to the Aim controller and its two joysticks. To repel motion sickness, the right stick offers 30º blink rotation and it works pretty great for the most part. The game will also support DualShock at launch, though I implore people to experience it with the light-gun. Being able to lean and blind-fire whilst feeling the weight of an actual gun makes for the optimal Firewall experience.

I do hope Firewall: Zero Hour launches to the fanfare it deserves. It only took hearing the developers introduce their labour of love to know how much care has been poured into it. If a solid community sticks with the game, there’s no reason it can’t do what very few PlayStation VR game have done before and kick the door in on the Esports circuit.

BRODIE FLEW TO LONDON AS A GUEST OF PLAYSTATION FOR THE PLAYSTATION VR SHOWCASE. FIREWALL: ZERO HOUR IS DUE FOR RELEASE ON PLAYSTATION VR.
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