We’ve all had our Grandfathers tell us stories from their younger years and thought that they might be exaggerating a little, right? I think that’s the case in Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof VR – the Western virtual reality shooter from the team at MiroWin where you re-live the showdowns of an old gunslinger as he tells his tales to his Grandson. Sure, that might not sound too unbelievable in itself, but his tales also include guns that shoot electric and airborne drones… yeah, I’m sure they weren’t around in the old days.
The game consists of wave-based shooting as you work through nine different levels, with each one offering different locations, weapons to use and foes to take down. In fairness there’s a decent range of weapons on offer too, including the likes of standard pistols, machine guns, crossbows, grenade launches and the aforementioned electric-firing gun. The assortment of enemies is also decent, with some protected by armour and others having more deadly weaponry at their disposal – it can certainly add a tactical edge to proceedings where you have to prioritise who you take out first. There’s a little bit of storytelling going on in-between and during each level too, whilst the occasional boss encounter gives you an exciting showdown with a foe that requires a bit more of a strategy to defeat.
Of course, whilst there are plenty of enemies for you to shoot down, you’ve also got to be aware of any incoming gunfire. Luckily, there are multiple options as far as keeping yourself safe is concerned: you can either move out of the way of bullets coming your way, shoot them out of the air, or even hit them with the side of your gun. Whilst hitting and shooting them is feasible though, it doesn’t take Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof VR long before the screen is flooded by enemies and bullets, so sometimes you’re just better off trying to pull off some Neo-like manoeuvres and avoiding every bullet you see. One thing is for sure, though; I’d definitely recommend standing up when playing the game because being fixed in one spot can make you an easy target on some of the game’s higher difficulties.
There’s plenty of personality on show in Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof VR and I appreciated the way the narrative tired it all together (especially since I’ve been craving a Western fix following my time with Red Dead Redemption 2), but there wasn’t a whole lot on show from a gameplay perspective that felt particularly special. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun little game, but I’ve played through plenty of wave-based shooters in virtual reality and there was nothing that I hadn’t seen before here. It’s a saturated genre in the PlayStation VR catalogue and I feel like wave-based shooters need to offer something unique to really stand out – unfortunately Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof VR doesn’t do that.
I have to reiterate that it’s still a fun game to play though and there’s a decent selection of stuff on offer once you’ve cleared the main campaign. There’s the Arcade mode that allows you to play through all of the levels again with any weapons you choose, there are multiple difficulties to tackle, whilst each level has a set amount of stars to unlock based upon your performance too, so there’s plenty to keep you coming back. There are even some bonus levels that offer something different, with each one putting you in a quirky scenario that you don’t see in the main campaign. Sure, they don’t change the gameplay up all that much, but they still manage to be a fun addition to the game.
Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof VR sees you dual-wielding weapons, so you’ll need two Move controllers to play the game. For the most part they work well too, with the tracking on point and the accuracy of the weapons pretty consistent – you’ll be shooting a lot of enemies from afar and I never found myself in a situation where I didn’t feel like I couldn’t take them down. The only real issue I came across was with the two-handed weapons, with the camera sometimes struggling to track both Move controllers individually when they were held so close together. When shooting at left or right angles it wasn’t a problem, but when going face on I noticed that the gun would seemingly lose its position on more than a few occasions – it could definitely be frustrating when trying to react quickly to incoming enemies.
Visually, Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof VR isn’t the prettiest game you’ll play thanks to some sketchy textures and the jagged edges of character models from over a distance, but it still manages to offer a neat Western world that’s fun to be a part of. I really liked the environmental design and felt like I really was a part of one of these old-time shootouts, whilst the visual design itself had a cartoon-like look that was full of character. As I mentioned earlier in this review, Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof VR certainly has a ton of personality and a lot of that comes down to the creative and fun aesthetic.
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift