Announced at Sony’s annual PlayStation Experience, Firewall: Zero Hour is Sony’s answer to the booming genre of tactical team-based multiplayer shooters with a virtual reality twist.
Firewall follows in the vein of games like Ubisoft’s popular Rainbow Six: Siege, pitting two teams of four players each with contrasting goals against each other in tactical combat. Teams can choose to win a match by stealthily achieving their goals or they can win bloody, seeking out and flushing out enemies toward a grisly end.
The concept is simple: both teams of mercenaries have been hired by anonymous contract holders that either want to steal data or protect their own data. The contract holders act as an eye in the sky for your team and tell you about changing mission objectives or, as I became very used to hearing, express their disappointment in you.
What separates Firewall from the herd, however, is leveraging VR for the gameplay. The game uses the PlayStation VR headset and Aim controller to create an experience that feels a bit more real and tense than other games in the genre. There is no auto-aim or aim-down-sights mechanics because the game wants you to feel like you are physically holding the gun, an experience Sony pushed with their previous VR shooter Farpoint. Similarly, your HUD is on your wrist, which makes checking the map as simple as turning your gun slightly.
My first match was uneventful, my team failed to find the other team until they mysteriously and silently achieved their goal without us realizing it. Aside from accidentally throwing my grenades out due to the button being awkwardly placed on the Aim controller, the match saw little to no weapon use.
My second match, however, began with a bang as both teams met up in the stage’s building mezzanine and engaged in a firefight. The rifle and grenade aiming made total sense at once and I genuinely felt that every missed bullet was my fault. I died, but not before taking someone down with me, and my time rode the confusion to victory.
First Contact Entertainment’s Firewall: Zero Hour can be played with either the Move or a DualShock 4, but is exclusive to PlayStation VR regardless of control method. The game is scheduled for release in 2018.