There are many different avenues that developers can take with VR technology, but a competitive online multiplayer shooter is likely not one of the first genres that too many would see as built for the device exclusively. However, Guerilla Cambridge decided to go with a pretty risky play and that has led to the PSVR exclusive arena shooter RIGS: Mechanized Combat League.
RIGS: Mechanized Combat League is billed as an eSports-esque experience on the PSVR that is built around mech based combat. The game manages in some ways to capture a bright and colorful world with a lighthearted tone that is reminiscent of Overwatch, though the visuals are held back a bit due to the limitations of PSVR right now. Not only does the design feel familiar in some areas to Overwatch, but also in the way that each match is as fun as it is competitive. This definitely works to the game’s advantage, as players can jump in and play without being experts at the game and still have a great experience, though the gameplay itself is very different from Overwatch.
RIGS: Mechanized Combat League utilizes the PSVR headset quite well, as you essentially are viewing what your character in the game is seeing as they are inside their mech. This is what the power of VR can do to improve your typical FPS, as you feel like you are right there in on the action. By tilting your headset from left to right, the target on the screen will move so that you can look in that specific direction. While you can’t obviously make full 360 turns due to the cords from the PSVR headset, the game instead automatically starts to track to the left or to the right if you are pointed in either direction too far, which allows you to turn around completely in the game.
There is only a single reticle on the screen for you, but you have two weapons that can fire at that single spot by pressing the two triggers on the required DualShock 4 controllers. Due to needing to move your mech with an analog stick, RIGS requires the use of a DualShock 4. The pretty simplistic control scheme on the DualShock 4 meshes well with the movement controls through the headset, making RIGS a pretty easy game to get used to. Even if the movement of the camera via the headset is a problem for you, the game also allows you to change the control to where the right analog stick controls the targeting reticle, even if it takes away some of the spectacle of the game that way.
Mixing the movement of your mech with the headset and the left analog stick can potentially make it a little difficult for some gamers to play due to motion sickness. What could potentially be the worst issue for players is when you eject into the air after your mech is destroyed and then can fall back into a new one to keep playing, but thankfully the game offers an option to leave this animation out entirely when this happens. There are definitely some players that could be effected by RIGS just due to the nature of the fast paced action and movement, so it is definitely worth trying out the game on the launch PSVR demo disc first just in case.
Beyond your primary weapons that you’ll be using, there are other parts of your mech that you can utilize in battle, such as a dodge and melee move. On top of these abilities, you can also change your mech between one of three different forms at any time by pressing one of three different face buttons. This allows you to change between a form that heals over time, one that speeds your mech up, and one that allows you to deal more damage. Rather than making these a loadout of some sort, being able to change these on the fly adds a different layer of strategy to the experience entirely.
While these features are available across the board in RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, there are four different mech types that you can use in the game, but the game makes the weird decision to require you to unlock them as you play more of the game beyond the first mech. The four mech types, the Hunter, Sentinel, Tempest, and Mirage each bring a different play style to the table, such as the Hunter’s more speed based approach and the Sentinel serving as a tank. There are even some areas that only certain types of mechs can access, which adds more strategy to each match. Depending on your style of play and even the game mode you are playing, having the different options to choose from definitely enhances the core gameplay quite a bit, even if the method of acquiring them is somewhat odd.
Definitely worth trying out
Unlike many of the other PSVR launch titles that felt a little too bare bones, RIGS: Mechanized Combat League features one of the most robust lineups of content at your disposal across both single player and multiplayer game modes, which both revolve around completing a season of games against a variety of different teams. On top of that, there are also three different match types, Team Takedown, Endzone, and Powerslam, which each offer a very diverse experience.
Team Takedown is your typical team deathmatch style mode where the goal is to destroy the opposition as much as you can. Endzone is as the name suggests, where a football appears in the middle of the arena and your goal is to have someone on your team pick it up and score it through a goal, which is essentially a capture the flag mode. While these two modes are pretty standard in these types of games, the Powerslam mode is much more unique. Powerslam has players focusing on destroying opposing players, in which you will earn orbs that fill your Overdrive meter. Once you reach Overdrive, you must find a ring in the middle of the arena and go through it to earn points for your team. This game type mixes standard gameplay, but gives it enough of a twist to really make it stand out from the rest.
RIGS offers you the ability to play both with and against AI or real players online. Finding a match can sometimes be a problem, but having live players definitely provides the best overall experience. Playing against the computer is still a lot of fun as well, but the questionable at times AI can hamstring the experience quite a bit.
The PSVR launch offered an array of different titles for players to experience with their first foray into the world and VR and RIGS: Mechanized Combat League is definitely one of the better options thus far. The game offers not only the very fun multiplayer options, but also a similar single player experience provides plenty of content in the game across the few different game modes. Even though the style of gameplay is one that definitely qualifies as one to try before you buy due to motion sickness, RIGS: Mechanized Combat League is a very enthralling experience that PSVR early adopters should definitely check out.
RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
- Available On: PlayStation 4
- Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developed By: Guerilla Cambridge
- Genre: FPS
- US Release Date: October 13th, 2016
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Quote: "Even though the style of gameplay is one that definitely qualifies as one to try before you buy due to motion sickness, RIGS: Mechanized Combat League is a very enthralling experience that PSVR early adopters should definitely check out."
- Ease of jumping in
- Bevy of content
- Unreliable AI
- Potential for motion sickness