Raw Data: Hostile Takeover Preview
As VR games continue to mature and expand there has been one conventional gaming aspect that has yet to see much attention so far: Player versus Player combat. A quick search of Steam for VR Only and PvP returns just 3 titles with only one of those, Detached, being currently available to play. Enter Survios’ Raw Data: Hostile Takeover, a free expansion that brings King-of-the-Hill style PvP to the Early Access title. While to date most VR titles have done multiplayer in a co-operative manner, sometimes it’s nice to pit yourself against someone other than the AI. I know I was interested to see how it played out.
The King-of-the-Hill format should be familiar to most players by now, but in case it’s not, each team fights for control of a central point on the map for a specific amount of time. In Raw Data the goal is to hold that central point until either team’s upload completes. Players can choose one of four different characters, each with different weapons, in a 5 v 5 competition. This isn’t a large scale competition, so team work will be essential. While the format may seem fairly standard it is its execution in a virtual environment that really brings it all to life.
“The weapons in Raw Data: Hostile Takeover all felt well balanced between their strengths and weaknesses…”
Part of that execution is getting one particular aspect just right – balance. The weapons in Raw Data: Hostile Takeover all felt well balanced between their strengths and weaknesses so that no single character felt overpowered. This, of course, is in no small part due to some well designed weapon mechanics to begin with. Other than occasionally hitting myself in the face while pulling back the bow string, there were no glaring issues here. The sword swings felt good, devastating up close, and especially brutal from behind. Twin pistols were good at any range but that flexibility comes at the price of stopping power. Shotguns do what shotguns do best, plus as an added bonus you can pump the gun in a one-handed style just like Arnie in Terminator 2. With the aforementioned occasional face smacking aside, the bow was high powered at longer ranges but of course a tough option to use in close-quarters combat.
The action in Raw Data: Hostile Takeover all unfolds over 3 different maps. Unfortunately, for reasons I’ll get into shortly, I only managed to get into full games on 2 of the 3 maps. Both of those maps may have seemed to be on the smaller side, but just remember that it’s 5 v 5 and given that there’s a max of 10 players, they were big enough to keep the action flowing. The designs were also pretty good as well; there were no noticeable choke points to keep a team pinned in one specific area. My favorite aspect was that there weren’t a whole lot of places to hide. The places that there were to hide weren’t very conducive to sniping of any kind, but rather more beneficial to sword users who require getting in close to stand a chance. There were elevated positions as well but they were all fairly well exposed to keep players from getting in a corner up high and just picking people off for too long. As with the weapons, the maps felt good and balanced.
“As with the weapons, the maps felt good and balanced.”
So about that 3rd map I kept missing – that was with good reason. There’s something fairly important in the mechanics that I’ve left out till now and that is the movement. VR users have probably become accustomed to moving through “teleportation.” The PvP mode in Raw Data trades that in for a simulated analog movement. What does that mean? Press the trackpad on the Vive controller in any particular direction and you immediately start moving that way.
I’m sure this will be something a portion of players will love and have been waiting for. For those with a weaker stomach, however, this might not be such good news. I happen to fall into the “weak stomach” category. At first, I could only handle playing in 10-15 minute clips. The trackpad is extremely sensitive. I was not even aware I was touching it at first and would wind up flying off in one direction or the other. The first evening was a bit rough until I got it all sorted out.
The good news is that the next day was much better on the old stomach. It didn’t take long to get used to it, although even then the constant feeling of motion was with me for quite some time after I had stopped playing. Being the first iteration of it in an Early Access game; however, I’m fairly confident that Raw Data: Hostile Takeover can be fine-tuned enough to accommodate the majority of us “weak stomachs” out there. If it can be made palpable for most players then it is a great addition to an already fantastic game.
*** HTC Vive code provided by the publisher ***