There’s no denying that PlayStation VR 2 is a very impressive virtual reality headset, but must-play titles have been few and far between so far. Sure, there have been some exceptional releases, but there hasn’t been a lot of consistency when compared to other platforms. Fortunately, we’re only a few weeks into 2024 and the headset already has a banger, with Vertigo 2 offering a first-person shooting experience that’s exciting, colourful, wacky, and a TON of fun to play.
Check out some screenshots down below:
I didn’t play the original game so some details of Vertigo 2’s narrative might be lost on me, but the fact that it doesn’t try to overcomplicate things too much throughout its robot and alien-slaying adventure does makes it easier for players to jump in fresh. The core tale revolves around leading protagonist Sonja on a journey through Quantum Reactor VII, where she has to work upwards to escape and find her way to safety. Of course, these things are never straightforward, and with plenty of unique characters to encounter, deadly threats to face off against, and unusual environments to explore, the trip won’t be an easy one.
I’m probably underselling the storytelling of Vertigo 2 a bit there, because I loved seeing the tale unfold. Not only is it full of comical moments and quirky surprises, but it also ties a lot of its narrative details into the gameplay to ensure the story is constantly pushing forward as you play. I’ve seen a lot of people compare the game to Half-Life, and whilst that might seem somewhat laughable on first glances alone, it’s actually an apt comparison – both with its narrative and how it delivers it. I didn’t expect the storytelling to stand out as a highlight when I started playing, but it’s actually one of my favourite things about the game.
That’s not to say that the gameplay isn’t impressive though, with the gunplay some of the best I’ve seen in virtual reality for a long time. You’ll use a typical range of weaponry including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and so forth, but each one has a sci-fi twist that makes them feel more befitting of the game’s unique vibe. Gunplay is quick-paced and gives players plenty of freedom to quickly fire bursts of rounds at surrounding enemies, but there’s also room for a more meticulous approach if you decide to aim down the sights to nail the perfect shot. With enemies flooding the screen and a wide range of foes to face off against, each shootout is ALWAYS a lot of fun. Plus, you can upgrade your weapons to make them pack more of a punch, so there’s a continual sense of progress even when you’ve filled up your arsenal.
“Gunplay is quick-paced and gives players plenty of freedom to quickly fire bursts of rounds at surrounding enemies, but there’s also room for a more meticulous approach if you decide to aim down the sights to nail the perfect shot.”
There’s not just exciting gunplay, with plenty of creative puzzles to solve, varied areas to explore for secrets, and challenging boss encounters that really put your skills to the test. The game perfectly balances out some of the slower explorative moments with bombastic set pieces, with thrills and spills aplenty as you journey further through the game. Enemies bring with them different attack types and weak points too, so it’s never just a case of shooting them until they die… well… that CAN work, but more efficient players will exploit their weaknesses to maximise their damage output.
As mentioned, there’ll be occasions where an area will be packed to the brim with enemies, so you’ll certainly be kept on your toes as you play. There’s a big focus on manoeuvrability and keeping out of the way of threats or projectiles, all whilst putting yourself in a position to exploit enemy weaknesses. It’s very quick-paced, and if you’re not on the ball, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed. Thankfully, the controls are intuitive and make it easy to keep on top of things, whether that’s when using teleportation movement or, my preferred option, the smooth controls. Admittedly, the manic nature of the game may make smooth movement a bit rough for those who are inexperienced with virtual reality, but those that can handle it will definitely prefer the freedom that it offers.
I’ve got to give a shout out to the game’s reloading mechanics too, which sees your weapons’ ammo clips re-filling when not in use. It’s a small detail, but it’s one that ensures that the game never slows down the pace by forcing you to seek out ammo, whilst also encouraging experimentation when switching around your loadout whilst you wait. I’ve often found myself sticking to a shotgun in first-person shooters and not using much else, but Vertigo 2’s intuitive take on ammo replenishment pushed me out of my comfort zone. It’s incredibly effective design and ensured I made the most of my robust arsenal.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Visually, Vertigo 2 adopts this colourful aesthetic that takes a more cartoon-like approach than realism, but it looks wonderful. The more alien-like environments are especially impressive to look at thanks to their surreal flora and fauna, though the more ‘normal’ (and I’m using that term loosely) offices or lab spaces were always a treat to explore too. The standout aspect of the visual design comes with the enemies, which all look like they could’ve come out of an array of different sci-fi movies. Some are monstrous, some are creepy, some are very robotic, and some are… well… just plain weird, but they’re all a treat to encounter and add even more character to what is already a very bizarre experience (and I mean that in the best way possible).
I just REALLY enjoyed my time with Vertigo 2. It’s surprisingly meaty too, with the campaign easily taking around twelve hours to beat – I did scour every part of each environment, but even if you just follow your objective you’re in for a long ride. It never outstays its welcome though, with the action-packed gameplay always throwing out plenty of surprises to keep players fully engaged in the adventure.
Vertigo 2 Review
Vertigo 2 easily stands out as one of the most impressive releases on PlayStation VR 2, with its action-packed adventure offering a wonderful world to explore, zany storytelling, and thrilling shootouts. I’ll admit, I didn’t even know the game existed before playing, but it didn’t take long to hook me in with its intuitive design and exciting gameplay mechanics. It’s really, REALLY good.
I mentioned that PlayStation VR 2 didn’t have many must-play games at the start of this review, but believe me, Vertigo 2 is one title you won’t want to miss.
Developer: Zach Tsiakalis-Brown
Publisher: Perp Games, Zulubo Productions
Platform(s): PlayStation VR 2 (Reviewed), PC VR