Announced during PlayStation Experience 2017‘s opening presentation, Firewall Zero Hour will deploy 4v4 tactical FPS action to the PS VR battlefield. My hands-on demo pointed to an extremely promising game — in fact, perhaps the most promising and exciting VR game I’ve played.
If you’ve ever loved a Rainbow Six or SWAT game, you’ll immediately understand the appeal of Firewall. The pacing is deliberate and methodical; the action quick and decisive. It’s a tense game of cat-and-mouse between two (human) teams. Player communication is paramount, and quick wits will get you further than a quick trigger finger.
I played a series of matches set in a shadowy mansion. I quietly crept from room to room with three teammates en tow. Our objective: a laptop hidden somewhere in the house. The other team lay in wait, ready to spring an ambush or ward off our attack.
We activated our flashlights, the beams casting realistic-looking shadows on the walls, and slowly navigated the darkened rooms. As we inched our way closer to the objective, we kept up a stream of tense chatter, speculating where the opposing team might be lurking and calling out safe zones.
While passing through a gloomy hallway, a burst of gunfire roared from the top of a nearby stairwell. The guy next to me dropped like a rock. I spun to my left, raising my PS VR Aim Controller at the shadow I spotted at the top of the stairs, and let loose with my shotgun. I clipped him, but he slipped back around the corner before I could finish him off.
I tossed a grenade up the staircase to buy some time, then turned to move quickly towards the objective. Being in PS VR expanded my sense of spatial awareness, and I found myself carefully checking corners and blind spots.
Ahead, our point man traded shots with two hostiles who were holed up in a dining room. Instinctively, I went for the flank, slipping around the corner and making for the back door I had noticed. I pushed through the doors, tossed a frag grenade, and hip-fired until both figures crumpled to the ground. We pushed on to the objective and the win.
We’ve all played games like this before. But in VR, the experience feels completely fresh and exciting. Pinned down by enemy fire? Peek out from behind the corner — or over a countertop — to trade shots. Fleeing some determined pursuers? Slipping into a sneaky hiding spot or ambush position feels far more intuitive.
The build I played was still early: just one map, three character classes, and three weapons (rifle, shotgun, silenced SMG). The good news is, developer First Contact Entertainment has confirmed that the final game will have more weapons and maps, as well as weapon attachments and character progression as they prepare for launch in 2018.
The game technically supports both DualShock 4 and the PS VR Aim Controller, but if you’ve got the choice I strongly suggest going with the Aim Controller for a more immersive feel.
The controls are well laid out: the front analogue stick handles movement and sprinting; the rear stick handles quick-turns. Frag and flash grenades map to the front two triggers, while reloading, crouching, weapon swapping, and interacting with objects are assigned to the traditional face buttons on the stock of the Aim Controller.
As in Farpoint, you can raise the Aim Controller up to aim down the sight, or fire from the hip. I generally opted for the latter.
Firewall Zero Hour is shaping up nicely — I’m eager to get more hands-on time and learn more about the final game, so stay tuned to PlayStation Blog for more updates.