Echo Combat E3 2018 Preview
Ready At Dawn’s latest foray into VR is the follow-up title to Lone Echo and Echo Arena. The first title of the series, Lone Echo, placed players into a zero-gravity single-player adventure that requires the use of intricate movements and skills. From there, Echo Arena utilizes the same primary gameplay mechanics and placed players into a multi-player, team-based competitive mode again in zero-gravity, with full-contact and goals galore. From there, it was only natural to add guns to the mix, culminating in the hectic, team-based gunslinger, Echo Combat.
While I have played first-person shooters before, I have only dabbled with them in VR. With relatively limited experience, adding in some crazy movements in zero-gravity surprisingly did not go very well for me at first. In the match I played, two teams fought to move or stop the movement of a payload. On the attacking team, it was my objective to move the payload forward. While this was the only mode I had attempted, Design Director Dana Jan from Ready At Dawn did say that other modes were in development, but that they were not yet ready to be revealed. To push the payload forward, players must be in contact with it, and in zero-gravity while firing blasters, this requires players to hold on to the payload.
By holding on to the payload, and by extension everything else, players will be able to prevent themselves from flying backward due to the recoil from their blasters. Besides grabbing onto various objects, character movement as a whole is vital to a player’s success in the game. In addition to guns, players will have access to grenades and shields, among others. While most of my issues came because of being unfamiliar with the movement scheme, I found that my skills improved relatively quickly by the end of the match. However, as Jan mentioned in conversation, the movement is just the first step as it is quite intuitive, but strategy, weapons, off-hand abilities, and distinct roles make the game as a whole a deep, rich environment.
While a basis for Echo Combat had been established in Lone Echo, Jan revealed that in early focus tests, players had already been asking for more action, and specifically guns. In my time with Echo Combat, I can safely say that the gun mechanics in-game was not simply tacked on but felt as though it was built alongside the rest of the game. Despite floundering in space combat, I had a fun time in Echo Combat due to its movement aspects, intuitive controls, and combat mechanics, and feel as though the title is a great way to showcase how far VR has come since its rise in popularity.
For those interested, Echo Combat’s open beta will begin today (June 21)! Let us know what you think if you give it a try.