Bravo Team, the new VR co-op shooter from Supermassive Games, was announced at Sony’s E3 Press Conference on Monday. The game is now playable at the PlayStation VR area of the Sony booth on the E3 show floor, letting teams of two players play a short demo together in which they must fight their way across a bridge loaded with hostiles. I got a chance to play through the demo with a friendly stranger and found Bravo Team to be much more challenging than other similar VR shooters I’ve played, but still a good time overall.
Bravo Team plays as a cover-based shooter that is “on rails” like a Time Crysis or Resident Evil arcade game; you post up behind cover with your big PSVR Aim Controller, lean in and out of cover by holding a secondary trigger (or by just moving your head in real space), and fire at enemies through your rifle’s red-dot sight. When it’s time to advance, you can stand up and look ahead at different points of cover ahead of you, and when one lights up with a glowing shield icon, you can push a button on the controller to initiate a move forward.
During the move, you’re pulled out of the first-person view, while you watch a brief “cut-scene” of your character advancing to your new position from a stationary 3rd-person perspective. This helps to avoid the motion-sickness you can experience in VR when your characters makes moves that you’re not making yourself in real life, although it does also keep you out of the action and unable to control for a few precious seconds.
If I had to describe my short gameplay experience of Bravo Team in a single word, it would be “unforgiving”. In our first attempt at the demo, my partner and I tried to operate mostly independently and hastily make our way down the bridge; we quickly overextended, got surrounded by enemies, and were overwhelmed. We were surprised to find that we could still be shot by the enemies, even when ducking behind cover as low as physically possible, if we had moved to a poor spot and enemies had an advantageous angle on us. Without the ability to get a brief respite from the fire, my teammate was downed in the chaos and I was unable to revive him before I was killed as well. The PlayStation representatives in the booth with us reminded us to focus on cooperation and teamplay, and let us try again.
In our second attempt, we found that slow and steady was definitely the trick. We remained in near-constant communication using the built-in microphone in the PSVR headset as we slowly advanced, making callouts on enemy locations and advising when it was time for one of us to dash to a new spot so that the other could cover their movements. The game took on a slow, methodical rhythm, as tactics and strategy started to play a bigger role in our success than just the ability to run and gun. By the time we reached the final section of the demo we were truly in sync, operating together as a well-oiled machine. After the demo ended and headsets came off, we met face-to-face outside the booth, clasped hands, and celebrated a job well done as new brothers-in-arms.
The slow, tactical nature of Bravo Team definitely carried a different feel from many of the other more chaotic-feeling VR shooters I’ve experienced. For those who like to run and gun as a lone wolf, it might not be the best fit, but for fans of more strategy-based team shooters like Army of Two it’s definitely worth a look.
Bravo Team does not currently have a specific release date, but is expected to become available sometime this year.