Review: Blood & Truth

With every PlayStation VR sale, no matter what else is included you’ll always get a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds; a collection of mini-games of sorts, one of which is The London Heist. Created by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) own London Studio, this was a gritty, story-based shooter with plenty of action. If you’ve been wanting more of the same – and got your headset at launch – then the long wait is finally over, as PlayStation VR returns to London’s dangerous criminal underworld in Blood & Truth.

Blood & Truth isn’t a sequel to The London Heist merely taking inspiration from the title, offering players a chance to dive into a Hollywood action movie that sits somewhere between Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Bad Boys 2. Right from the word go London Studio skirts the line between videogame and the growing virtual reality (VR) genre of interactive experience, endeavouring to immerse you into the role of hero, as you become more and more invested in the plot (no matter how outrageous) to protect and save the lives of those around you.

The storyline is just as important as the gameplay in Blood & Truth as there are significant moments spent inside of cut scenes – whether you like them or not. You’re cast as Ryan Marks, an ex-soldier who has come back home, and like any good gangster related script, family is revered and most sacred above all else. So when a ruthless criminal overlord decides to take what Marks’ family has built, it’s up to him to put things right.

Once the story foundations have been set it’s time to have some fun. Blood & Truth is all about intense set pieces, with lots of guns and nifty little nods to the action movies we all know and love. Get the calibration set right for the PlayStation Move controllers and you should have very little issue dual wielding weapons or holding some of the larger guns two-handed. At either hip are your trusty pistols which can be customised and upgraded with attachments such as iron sights and a suppressor. There’s a gun range to test out mods should you need it. These can also be swapped on the fly mid-level, with revolvers and other pistols becoming available. The same goes for the bigger guns (assault rifles/shotguns) which appear across certain areas and attach to your back.

There never really seemed to be an issue when grabbing for any weapon, and accuracy even at long range was always spot on. The same goes for reloading. All ammo is kept on your chest, so all you need to do is grab it and bring the clip/shells near the gun the rest is automatic; allowing for quick reloads when under fire.

Because of the linear nature of the gameplay, London Studio has managed to employ a super comfortable system of movement which should suit most players. Actual level exploration is fairly limited, with Blood & Truth employing a sort of point-to-point teleportation system. Locations are highlighted by a white arrow and there can on occasion be two or three points to choose from, giving the illusion of multiple routes. Locomotion between these points is very smooth and steady – no blink teleportation – plus there’s also the option to strafe left or right if a point is available nearby (imagine being behind a desk and moving to either corner). Actual movement options beyond the standard configuration is fairly limited, with a ‘Comfort Mode’ available which adds a vignette should you need to.

Rather than fall into the trap of making a pure first-person shooter (FPS), London Studio has done a decent job of mixing up the gameplay as often as possible, adding in little puzzle elements like picking locks and breaking through security devices, to more high-octane moments like car chases or escaping crumbling buildings. Thankfully, gunplay was always quick and fluid, with explosive barrels always setting off a nice little slow-mo moment if an enemy is caught in the blast.

There are a decent number of chapters to play through offering several hours of gameplay on the easier modes. As Blood & Truth is a single-player experience to keep you coming back once the story has been completed, a hard mode will really test those skills, while challenge modes will unlock with online leaderboards to compete against friends. Also included is a Game+ mode so you can go through the story again with everything you’ve unlocked, plus there are plenty of little hidden extras to find if you love gaining 100% on a title.

Blood & Truth has some great voice acting and the motion capture is some of the best seen in a VR experience. If VRFocus is to be really picky then some of the scenes do feel like they drag on a bit too long, when you just want to get stuck back in, and there were a couple of glitch moments that were both funny – a gun was still in hand during a cut scene which meant a handshake couldn’t be interacted with – and game stuttering – an overhead rail section just didn’t want to work. Nothing too OTT.

While you don’t have the freedom of Borderlands 2 VR for example, with Blood & Truth you have a far more focused videogame that knows what it wants to achieve, and that’s put a smile on your face. From start to finish Blood & Truth is one hell of a ride, a finely choreographed John Woo movie that’s all about sheer entertainment.

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