EVE: Gunjack PlayStation VR Review
Publisher: CCP Games Developer: CCP Games Genre: Shooter Players: 1
Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
Set in the popular EVE: Online universe, EVE: Gunjack is an arcade action shooter in which you are positioned in the cockpit of a space shuttle manning turrets, and it is your job to defend your space station shooting anything that is a threat, from enemy space ships to asteroids. The controls here are simple – you use the VR headset to look around, moving the cursor to aim at whatever you want to shoot, and using the DualShock controller to shoot. Smaller enemy ships will fly about in formation, bigger enemy ships will launch missiles at you and the action is very frantic. Explosions look volatile and intense and you do feel as though you will be hit by the debris that falls towards you once a ship has been blown up.
On the PSVR headset the graphics are good enough and it does make you feel as though you are out in the vastness of space with enemies ambushing you from all angles, though this game didn’t impress me on a scale that other games have so far. There’s an area inside the space station you can see before you are launched into space that looks impressive, and the outer space environment initially looks limitless, though once you are settled into the game and the grandeur of the VR’s 3D capabilities wear off, you are left with a linear and repetitive shooter that looks rather uninteresting.
I started to find myself not as immersed in this games world as I have other games – with other games they have made me feel emotions in a way I haven’t felt in years. I’ve played games that have managed to scare me, make me laugh, have made me feel cautious and wary and games that have made me feel awe, though here I didn’t really feel anything. Of course I was impressed upon being launched out into space – currently anything 3D on the VR is bound to impress, no matter the environment – though once I got into the gameplay I never truly felt under any real threat. Here the environments feel quite flat and lifeless to me; at one point there was a cluster of asteroids in the background that didn’t even move, set against a glowing backdrop, with there being nothing else but blackness. Of course I wouldn’t expect to see much in space, though having played games that have made me feel as though I could travel to the ends of the universe, this did feel a bit disappointing. The action also goes by so quickly that it never gives you the time to take in the 3D effects of other enemy ships – you’re shooting them down before you can take a good look at them, though it is exhilarating to see them zip by so close to your face.
Part of the problem is that you are stationary in the cockpit. With another EVE spinoff, EVE: Valkyrie, you get to explore the far reaches of space and flying between asteroids and spaceships and whatever other debris and space objects are floating around makes it feel endless; you are on the move and so it feels extensive. In EVE: Gunjack you are stationary in the cockpit, looking at the environment and this gives you time to notice that it doesn’t look quite as good as you initially thought. The aforementioned space station you are defending does look enormous when you look back towards it, though everything else around you can feel flat.
However, despite the lull in its graphics, that’s not to say there’s no fun to be had here; the game is simple to play and easy to pick up, a game that is perfect for players new to VR. There’s 20 levels for you to blast through, each mission taking place one after the other, with no cutscenes or breaks in between, with your captain briefing you on your missions as you begin. There is some variation in the enemies, with some that will steal the various power ups that are dropped, some that have shields that require you to shoot an unsheilded drone in order to drop their defences before you can attack them directly, and others that shoot the usual bullets and bombs at you. The missions also slightly differ from one another, but it can become a bit tedious if you play for a long length of time; Gunjack is definitely a game best played in short bursts.
To help you throughout your missions, as mentioned power ups will be dropped by enemies occasionally and these give you temporary abilities to sway things in your favour. There are health pickups that help restore your ship, missiles that can home in on enemies, bombs that blow up multiple ships at once, and a laser beam that can take down an enemy ship in seconds. There’s some tactics to be had as you choose when is the best time to use these power ups and turn the tables on your foes in order to win.
And there’s not much more to it than that; there’s some replayability to be had with the scoring system – there’s 3 stars for you to gain depending on your score and how well you do, but overall, EVE: Gunjack is a very shallow and straightforward shooting game. For those looking for something that isn’t too taxing and just want to shoot stuff up, then this could be the ideal game for you.