It’s never a good sign when you’re promised review code for a game that then never appears. Especially when your subsequent emails chasing it up are ignored, even though you can see multiple content creators on YouTube publishing first impressions pieces about the game before launch.
That’s exactly what happened in the case of Bulletstorm VR though. I was down to review the game for the site but without any access to review code, I only got to play the game on launch day after buying it myself. And, by this point, I had already seen some pretty damning previews and reviews that slated everything from the game’s VR implementation and AI through to the graphics and overall performance.
But was it really as bad as everyone was saying? Due to the fact that I absolutely loved Bulletstorm on the Xbox 360, I went into this week’s VR Corner hoping to give it the benefit of the doubt and you can watch me play through the first hour of the game in the video below.
So was it really that terrible? In all honesty, yes. It’s an incredibly sloppy, clumsily produced VR port that just about does everything it needs to do in order to be a VR version of Bulletstorm but, as you will see in my video, none of these things are done well at all.
There are faults to be found everywhere you look and in just that first hour I saw graphical glitches galore, visuals that include some incomprehensibly ugly cutscenes that make me think that noone bothered double-checking the game before it was released, and even a good old, post-cutscene under-the-map spawn ‘n’ die.
It really is quite shocking how bad the VR version of Bulletstorm is, and the PSVR2 launch day build that I played on doesn’t even take advantage of the extra haptic bells and eye-tracking whistles that Sony’s headset offers.
Everything feels so basic in its implementation that honestly, I feel like a Flat2VR mod of the original game could have done a better job here. But even then, I still feel bad for, as Marcus Grayson would say, «kicking this game’s dick off».
The fact that Incuvo and People Can Fly have gone to the effort of porting Bulletstorm to VR in the firstplace is kind of a miracle. So few developers think about doing this that even just attempting it should be applauded in my opinion. I want a future of hybrid flat and VR games and I want more companies to port their old IPs to VR for modern audiences. I was so excited for Bulletstorm VR and it just pains me to see it in this state because after the incredibly negative response that this game is getting, I do worry that these two companies will never bother doing something like this again.
Despite this myriad of issues, being able to see a game that I love through the eyes of its main character as if I was there was still something I enjoyed doing. And this is despite all the issues that plagued my playthrough. I encountered so much jank yet still, I found myself being more forgiving of it than I would a flat game, just because of the magic that VR immersion brings.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to revisit this game a few months down the line after a potential update or two has ironed out all of the problems. But will Bulletstorm VR even get that? I don’t know. But what I do know is that Bulletstorm deserves better and, even though I really do appreciate the fact that this was done in the first place, we as VR fans deserve better than this too.