The Sony PlayStation VR2 is out this year launched on the market in February 2023. But after it was published, the platform quickly became quiet. While the range of games left something to be desired at launch, hardly anything has changed in the last few months. All sorts of indie games have been released, but you won’t find any real system sellers. With “Firewall Ultra”, a new title is now available that is vying for your attention.
“Firewall Ultra” is the successor to “Firewall: Zero Hour,” which came onto the market in 2018 for the first PlayStation VR. However, I personally can’t make direct comparisons because I never owned the first generation. The game was once again developed by First Contact Entertainment. For around 39.99 euros the title changes hands in the PlayStation Store. The Deluxe Edition with additional content costs even 59.99 euros.
In my opinion, you can expect a lot for these prices. According to the developers, a single player mode is not included. Because you can only play “Firewall Ultra” in multiplayer mode. Of course, for this you need a subscription to PlayStation Plus, which is exactly what it is has become more expensive.
The focus is on a PvP mode (Contracts), in which two teams of four players each compete against each other. The two teams must alternate between defending and attacking. The defenders protect information in a notebook, while the attackers are supposed to steal exactly that data. Since fallen players cannot be revived before the end of the round, victory can also be achieved by felling all opponents.
Alternatively, as an innovation compared to the first release in “Firewall Ultra”, there is also a PvE mode called “ExFil”, in which you work together to finish off bots in attack mode and have to crack not just one, but now three notebooks. You then have to go to the extraction zone to save yourself. Stealing the data and keeping the bots at bay requires some teamwork. How much fun and success you have here depends largely on your fellow players.
There are eight maps at launch, most of which are remakes of the well-known maps from “Firewall: Zero Hour”, with improved technology and a few visual adjustments. Of course this has good and bad sides. On the one hand, this should make it easier for veterans to get started and, in a direct comparison, make the technical leap compared to the debut all the more clear. On the other hand, it is a bit poor that so much content is reused in a slightly modified form at the advertised selling price.
I have to say that I’m not a big multiplayer FPS fan myself, but I’ve certainly done my rounds with titles like “Counterstrike: Source”. But I only had relatively limited fun in “Firewall Ultra”. I just don’t like the controls: For example, you interact with objects like doors or fallen teammates to revive them with the same key (L1) that you also use to raise your weapons to aim. You can also switch to a target mode via L2, but this immediately slows you down and is also a little more fiddly than necessary.
There are also some bugs in “Firewall Ultra” that sometimes lead to clipping or strange poses of fallen players, which at least most of the time make you laugh rather than get angry. The latter happens more through the nested menu system in order to even start a match, where you first have to go to a lobby (safehouse) and invite participants. This would be fine on a PC with a mouse and keyboard, but feels doubly cumbersome in virtual reality.
I’m also critical of the live service elements, where you have to earn tons of in-game currency to unlock something new – or pull out your real wallet for the premium currency called “Shadow Coins”. In my opinion, this could have been avoided completely if you were already offering hefty prices for a game like this with relatively few modes and cards.
As a result, “Firewall Ultra” is a VR multiplayer shooter that is quite impressive in terms of graphics, based on Unreal Engine 5, but in my opinion doesn’t offer anything in terms of gameplay that “normal” shooters don’t do ten times better. The live service elements in particular are too annoying for me to want to make a recommendation.
But if you’re a real VR fan and are looking for a game with visual value, you can take a look at “Firewall Ultra” – which goes double if the first game was received positively. “Firewall Ultra” works best if you have a few willing players in your circle of friends. The developers are also busy patching, and you can give them credit for that too.
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