Last year Sony gave us its PSVR showcase title Astro Bot, which led the way for what can be done on the platform. This time around we see a very different style of game, but with the same development philosophy. Sony London has spent two generations behind the scenes doing the hard yards for each new peripheral that has hit the Playstation platform. Can Blood & Truth be the title that launches them back onto the wider stage?
While in the lead up to the release of PlayStation VR two demos were used to get people excited to strap a headset on, both created by Sony London. Upon release most of the praise went to the slice of first person cockney shooting so it’s no surprise to see it spun off into a fully fledged title nearly three years later. 15 years since striking a chord with The Getaway it’s time to step back into that Guy Ritchie style world of crime families and light hearted banter. Mixing Lock Stock with James Bond makes for a really entertaining sequence of experiences that stands out above the vast majority of VR offerings out so far, at no stage over staying its welcome or ending crushingly soon. Sony London has hit the mark perfectly in terms of delivering a ‘game’ rather than an ‘experience’, as is the complaint usually aimed at VR releases. After a particularly fun four hour session I was shocked to find how long had passed and was left wanting to continue on. Unfortunately once the credits roll there isn’t much to return to with only a handful of challenges to try and no multiplayer to speak of which is disappointing considering how fun the gameplay is, even a challenge focused on the puzzle solving would be really interesting but ends up a missed opportunity.
Blood & Truth drops you right in the middle of the action, with your avatar Ryan Marks, being stuck in a bit of a jam. From the moment you pick up your Move controllers the pace flows from one experience to the next without ever giving you enough time to become bored or disengaged from the feeling of being part of the story. The framing device of being interrogated by an unknown captor lets players slowly get to grips with the variety of gameplay available along the sizeable story, while also showing off the well detailed character models and animation which does a great job keeping your attention. I actually found the avatar hands so well detailed that I experienced a ghosting effect in the real world with my own hands. A big problem with games on the PSVR platform is the lack of horsepower to push a level of graphical detail close to those seen in marquee titles such as Days Gone or Call of Duty, so it’s great to see the developers make strides even if environmental textures remain a mixed bag and jagged edges are plentiful. Along with the main characters looking great they are also highly entertaining with the kind of banter you’d expect Tom Wilkinson or Stephen Graham to spout, with the story motoring along at a fast pace without taking itself too seriously.
The main course served up is shooting up a bunch of bad guys and there’s some interesting choices are made in an effort to make the title easier to pick up and play. Movement is restricted to point and walk, no free locomotion. Using this style of teleportation initially feels like playing a rail shooter but due to the large amount of cover points you can move to feels quite natural by the end of your first encounter. Similar to old light gun games like Time Crisis as you move from cover to cover it’s integral to keep yourself out of the firing line, taking shots where possible and avoiding being rushed in the middle of reloading.
The range of guns are fantastic, you can have 2 holstered pistols along with 2 larger weapons on your back. Leaning out of cover to spray dual submachine guns before ducking back in to reload off your chest is a ton of fun and experimenting with other weapons such as double barrel shotguns and long range rifles is surprisingly enjoyable. The standard difficulty threads the perfect line of accessibility without becoming too pedestrian in challenge. In between unloading barrels there is a huge range of micro puzzles to complete as you move through levels, from lock picking to blowing out alarms or stowing your weapons to climb through vents and along scaffolding. Sony London definitely nailed the feel of completing all these actions, making them feel like second nature impressively fast. Interspersed between the action is plenty of interactive cutscenes, always doing something slightly different to those you’ve been through before such as piloting a drone, scoping out an art gallery or even just testing out your weaponry at the shooting range after adding some mods and sprucing up the look a touch.
It’s clear the goal with Blood & Truth was to serve up a cinematic experience best suited to VR while breaking out of the ‘experience’ stereotype that has dogged many great PSVR titles so far. When broken down it still has the clear structure required to ease people in on the ground floor but crafting them into something that flows where you don’t see the edges that have been melded together.
THE PLAYSTATION 4 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED ON A PLAYSTATION 4 PRO FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
Blood & Truth features fun, over the top shooting, an entertaining story that flows effortlessly and delightful characters. It's a fantastic VR experience, that we can't recommend enough.