Multiplayer-only titles can often be a bit hit-and-miss, with them often relying on a dedicated community of players if they want to stay active for more than a few months. It’s something we’ve seen quite a lot of in gaming, and it’s something I’ve actually noticed a lot more on PlayStation VR – I’ve struggled to find players in the likes of RIGS, Starblood Arena and Smashbox Arena at times and they base themselves almost entirely around their online offerings.
Firewall: Zero Hour looks to change this though. It’s a multiplayer team-based shooter that pits players into two teams of four as they face off against each other in action-packed ‘attack or defend’ showdowns. The best part? It feels a hell of a lot like the brilliant Rainbow Six Siege. I’ll admit that when the game was first revealed I was a little dubious about how good it’d actually be – fortunately, I’ve had an absolute blast with the game and enjoyed every minute I’ve spent with it so far.
The core gameplay experience is simple enough: there are two teams of four, with one team having to hack their way through the enemy firewall in order to find a laptop, and the other team having to stop them. How? By either killing all of the attacking players or by ensuring they don’t reach their goal before the timer ends.
It’s the kind of thing we’ve seen in team-based shooters for years (especially in the likes of Rainbow Six Siege) so gamers should be able to click with the formula quickly. It’s a lot of fun though and makes for some pretty intense showdowns where you’re constantly on edge and scoping out each and every inch of the map as you either plan out a stern defence or hunt enemies down. There’s something incredibly satisfying about peeking out of corners to shoot at foes, especially when using the Aim controller, whilst the tension of knowing you’re facing off against real-life players just makes the whole thing all the more exhilarating.
Firewall: Zero Hour is a team-focused experience where those who work together properly will find the most success. If you’re defending you’ll have to carefully defend targets and cover all exits for example, whilst attackers will want to co-ordinate with one another to provide cover fire and even act as distractions. However, Firewall: Zero Hour is not a ‘run and gun’ game where you respawn instantly following a death, with just a few hits from an enemy resulting in your quick demise – your allies can revive you if you’re not injured by an explosion, but if they don’t it’s the end of the round for you. Eliminated players do still come in handy though, since they can observe the rest of the match from the view of multiple cameras and pass on information to the remaining players. It’s a little cheap, but it won my team more than a few matches so I’m not complaining. Still, it’s always more fun to be in the action and shooting at enemies, so it’s better be to try and be careful, work as a team and ultimately try to survive to the end of the round.
Whilst multiplayer showdowns are the focus of Firewall: Zero Hour, you can take part in single player training missions as well as battles against waves of AI enemies. It’s not the most exhilarating way to play the game, but it will give you a chance to get to grips with its mechanics and even sharpen your skills a bit. You can actually take on AI foes in co-op with friends too which could be a bit of fun, though it’s in the competitive mode where you’re going to have the best time with Firewall: Zero Hour.
Whilst Firewall: Zero Hour feels immersive as heck thanks to the fact you’re playing in virtual reality, it also does a few neat little things that help make it really feel like you’re there in the action. One of those is the game’s lack of a HUD, with things like your remaining ammo displayed on your gun as opposed to being displayed a static image on the screen. Even looking at your mini-map feels more realistic, with the player having to look at a device on their wrist rather than pull it up on screen. These are all small little details, but they go a long way in helping immerse you more in each showdown and making you feel like you’re right there in the action.
So I’ve had a blast in the ten hours or so I’ve put into the game so far, with Firewall: Zero Hour providing more than enough to keep me wanting to come back for more with its gameplay alone. Sure, there might only be one main competitive mode to play right now, but each of the game’s nine maps feel distinct whilst each character you can use in-game plays a little differently too thanks to their varying abilities. Best of all though, there’s a levelling-up system and currency to be earned that acts as a neat little incentive to keep you playing. With the currency you can purchase things like new weapons, attachments, and cosmetic gear for each character – It’ll take a fair few credits to get some of the good stuff, but it’ll motivate you to keep you coming back for more.
One thing I will say though is that the game will need to keep introducing extra content in the future to keep people playing. I’ve had a lot of fun so far and can see myself continuing to do so for some time, but if we don’t see additional maps or modes in the future I’m not sure how long I’d stick with the game. Other titles like Rainbow Six Siege have thrived by giving gamers new characters to play as and maps to battle across, so developer First Contact Entertainment will want to be on the ball if they want to keep the fairly active community thriving for a long time.
I’ve played Firewall: Zero Hour with the Aim controller and it’s been a blast. It feels good, adds a sense of realism to the game, tracks well throughout, and it’s definitely the way I’d recommend playing the game. However, those who don’t have the fancy gun accessory will be able to play with the DualShock controller and it’s actually decent enough – sure, it might not feel as immersive, but it does the job if it’s your only option.
PlayStation VR has struggled to find that killer multiplayer title that’ll keep gamers hooked in so far, but with Firewall: Zero Hour it has something really special. Each match I’ve played has proven to be hectic, action-packed, and incredibly tense, whilst the progression system and variety of maps on offer will do more than enough to keep you hooked in for hours on end. Add to that the brilliant use of the Aim controller, and it’s clear that Sony are onto a winner.
First Contact Entertainment will need to keep bringing additional content to the game if they want to keep the community thriving, but if they do I really think that Firewall: Zero Hour will continue to stand out as one of PlayStation VR’s best titles and one that gamers will be kept playing for quite some time. If you’re looking for a slick fix of multiplayer action on PlayStation VR, you’ll really want to give Firewall: Zero Hour a purchase.
Developer: First Contact Entertainment
Format(s): PlayStation VR