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Hands-on PSVR preview: Blood & Truth

20 May 2019
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PlayStation Australia chose The Lord Dudley, an unashamedly British pub in the heart of Sydney, in which to show off their upcoming London-based VR extravaganza, Blood & Truth

A doorman straight out of a Guy Ritchie movie provided the security for the event, upstairs at the venue. I quickly dodged around him, trying to avoid the theatrics Sony had laid on. He collared me on the stairs, “what’s the password”, he requested in an accent not unfamiliar to me. “Apples and pears, me old china”, I replied in a similar East-End accent that comes embarrassingly easy for someone born sixty-old miles south of the sound of Bow bells.

PlayStation VR fans who picked up a copy of VR Worlds with their headset will have had a taster of SIE London Studio’s Blood & Truth. The game is an extension of The London Heist VR mini-game included in the package. Got a PSVR but not played VR Worlds? Go out and get a copy now.

Fans of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snath are going to be right at home with Blood & Truth. Chock-full of Cockney geezers, their almost comedy dialect complemented by guns and violence. And of course, swearing. Nobody swears better than an East-Ender. Four-letter words and expletives role of a Cockney’s tongue like nobody’s business. If you are shocked by a potty-mouth, be warned, Blood & Truth turns the air blue.

Headset on and Move controllers in hands, I was really to take a trip to London town. Blood & Truth casts players in the role of Ryan Marks, a former British SAS soldier with a shady past and a family that doesn’t exactly walk the straight and narrow. Back home from the battlefield, Marks is out of the frying pan and into the fire. The proverbial fire being London’s notorious (but mainly fictional) gangland. 

Starting with a short tutorial, the game’s semi-on-rails movement system was explained. Players move through environments point-to-point, effectively cover position to cover position. The movement system works perfectly with the Move controllers and the VR environment, allowing you to concentrate on the shooting rather than dealing with immersion-breaking teleporting or whizzing about till you go green with VR sickness.  

The shooting aspect of the game is a refined version of that found in The London Heist. Your hand-guns slip into holsters strapped to both sides of your waist (yes, you can dual wield), whilst your larger shooter can be reached for, or stowed over your shoulder. I’m left-handed, and it was easy to pick-up, and/or pass a pistol from my right hand to my left. Reloading is carried out by reaching for a clip strapped to your chest and slotting it in the bottom of your pistol, rifle or SMG. Reloading your saw-off shotgun has you loading two shells into the barrels and cocking the gun.

The demo started with me moving between cars in a back alley towards a demolition site. In the way, a group of loud, tooled-up ne'er-do-wells wandered about just asking to be filled with a bit of lead. The gunplay works a treat, which is handy, as the game likely features quite a bit of it. A careful aim took out my targets nicely.

The already satisfying shooting mechanic is further augmented by activating your focus mode. Pressing both Move buttons triggers slo-mo action very similar to that of the god of VR games, SuperHot. With time slowed, you can quickly reload and take out multiple targets like a proper action hero. Feels great, I can tell you.  

Taking down unsuspecting cock-sure sweary, swaggering London geezers is, unsurprisingly, a lot of fun. Your opponents’ curse like troopers as your one-man army advances through their manor (by manor, I mean territory, not an actual manor).

Someone, foolishly left a grenade lying about, allowing me to add some fireworks to the proceedings. I was also able to warm things up by shooting welding tanks and other conveniently red, colour-coded incendiaries.

Not all the bad guys were bullet-sponges. A few bright sparks had the sense to wear bullet-proof vests and motorcycle helmets. A few rounds of shotgun pellets to the kneecaps sorted them out.
I headed towards a tower block. In my way were particularly flammable geezers, unfortunately perched on some unstable scaffolding next to an Acetylene tank. It was here that I was confronted with a new game mechanic. A locked security door. 

Screwdriver in hand, I unscrewed the panel by twisting a Move controller, inserted a fuse and flicked the switch. Open sesame. The demo had a few more locks that needed open using a locking picking kit. By rotating the Move controllers, I had to physically lift the pins and rotate the barrel to unlock doors. These little mini-games likely serve as nice little diversions between gunfights in the full game. 

The best bit about the demo was the sense of immersion. Blood & Truth puts you right there, in the heart of a VR gangster movie. The environments look like film sets. If they get the in-game acting right, SIE London Studio are likely to be onto a winner and if The London Heist is anything to go by, chances are that they’ll have it sorted. 

The fifteen-minute demo ended with Ryan reaching his goal- his imprisoned mum. Handcuffed behind an electrified cage, annoyed that he came to rescue her, she had no problem with Ryan’s huge body-count, but took exception to his bad language. These Cockney gangsters, bless ‘em, they love their muvvers.

With solid gunplay, an impressive sense of immersion and an excellent setting, Blood & Truth may just be the PlayStation VR action game that we’ve been waiting for when it releases on 29th May.