Bravo Team, the PlayStation VR shooter from Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games, launched earlier this month to a critical mauling and disappointment from fans hoping for another game of Until Dawn quality. Early glimpses looked bland at best, but Supermassive's recent track record suggested Bravo Team could - should - still turn out okay. After all, the studio had turned things around before. But, this time, that didn't happen. Bravo Team launched in a state, and in Eurogamer's review, Ian branded the game "an astonishingly bad VR shooter from a team that should know better".
It's that last part which intrigued me - here was a studio which had form in Until Dawn and other VR efforts like Tumble VR and Rush of Blood. By contrast, Bravo Team arrived riddled with glitches, featuring dull levels, a dreary art pallete and laughable enemy AI. What had gone so wrong here?
Speaking to Eurogamer under condition of anonymity to protect their jobs, Supermassive staff have painted a picture of a project which felt doomed from an early stage, of a studio which feels increasingly overworked, and a management too focused on maintaining the place in the spotlight Supermassive secured with 2015's Until Dawn, still the studio's biggest claim to fame.
In Tumble VR and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, Supermassive Games brought us two highlights of the PSVR's launch line-up . But that was then and this is now and Bravo Team, Supermassive's latest release, fails to impress on pretty much every level.
It comes hot on the heels of The Inpatient, another severely disappointing release from the studio in what's turned into a bit of a stinker of a run. From the very first moments, you sense that something is just off. You feel gigantic inside your virtual body and it takes a good while to adjust to these new dimensions. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many ways in which Bravo Team fails to provide a believable or immersive experience.
As a cover based shooter, akin to a VR version of Time Crisis, Bravo Team offers an incredibly limited range of movement. You can stand up or crouch behind cover at the touch of a button - other than that, though, your avatar's position remains completely static. Whilst hiding behind cover there is a semblance of immersion; you can peek around corners, duck behind cover or hold your gun above your head to blind-fire at targets but all that falls apart once you decide to advance to a new piece of cover.
Sony has announced that two of its Supermassive-Games-developed PSVR titles - hospital horror The Inpatient and co-operative cover shooter Bravo Team - have been delayed.