This title caught me off guard as I had never heard of it before its release. So I was intrigued when I first saw it available for purchase, especially after noticing it was created by Three Fields Entertainment, creators of Burnout (a classic), BLACK and Dangerous Golf. It was clear from the Steam page that the production quality was top notch, everything looked fantastic. It almost seemed too good to be true, as I have been waiting for a standout target shooting game since I first got my Vive.
However, once I had my headset on and opened it for the first time, it was not exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting a whacky arcade target shooter, frantic gameplay, with lots of zany targets flying around you, but this is not that game. At first I was even a bit concerned that the game was lacking content, but as I continued its mini challenges, I started to grasp the bigger picture and what the game really is.
The game reminds me a bit of Super Hot, in that it is very much a training simulation and to me there’s a slight similarity in the sly wit to the style, language and brevity of each simulation. It is very much an accurate portrayal of what a future FBI or private military contractors might use to train their agents. But this is exactly what gives it the replayability factor, besting your ranking and aiming for the status “Lethal” in each of the challenges.
The game is broken up into 6 different training rankings, and with each ranking, comes 5 challenging mini simulation training scenarios, except the last ranking only has 1 challenge. You start as a “Beginner” and are then provided with a few “Beginner Simulation” scenarios. Based on your score, which comes from accuracy, speed, and combos, you will get a ranking for each scenario. After achieving a set score in one scenario, you will unlock another from the same Beginner training simulation. Once you have successfully met all of the Beginner simulation goals, it will unlock a new “Amateur” training simulation. Amateur will have another 5 challenges, which upon completing all of, you will unlock “Rookie” and so on until you reach “Special Agent”.
The challenges are quick, mostly challenging and load super fast which is a huge plus, as you can retry any training simulation with zero wait time if you’ve already loaded it. Simply shoot the “Retry” window and the same training simulation loads pretty much instantly. This is a huge factor in replayability, as that “I could do it better” attitude kicks in and I found myself replaying the same challenge upwards of 10 times, probably more.
Challenges will have a title, such as “Proper Use of Force” along with a description like “Equip throwing knife. Take out moving targets.” and vary between handguns, SMG, a few special guns, throwing knives, throwing stars, and even a fun top hat with a razor tipped brim, you know, the basics.
List of Challenge types from the Developer:
• QUICK DRAW
Draw your weapon and fire! Successful candidates will need to demonstrate both speed and accuracy!
• KNIFE THROW
Prove your skills in the ancient art of knife throwing. How many Bullseyes can you hit? Bonus Points will be awarded for multiple Bullseye chains. Skilled candidates can score multiple hits on each Target.
Put your firearm skills to the test in our specially designed 360 degree room scale VR Weapons Range. Targets will appear all around you, above and below. Bonus Points will be awarded for Speed Shots, Bullseyes and chaining Headshots together.
• RAPID FIRE
With a Weapon in each hand, how quickly can you destroy all of the Targets? Master the skills of Rapid Fire and Rapid Reloading. Watch for Penalty or Civilian Targets that may block your line of fire.
Practice your urban combat skills in our 360 VR room scale simulation version of Hogan’s Alley. Shooting over, under, through and around obstacles may require kneeling down or laying on the floor!
One thing glaringly absent from this release are Global Leaderboards. There has already been enough outcry from the community that the dev has stated they are already working on implementing them, though no solid date was provided. Aside from that, I would love to see a level editor for this game as it seems a perfect candidate for some Steam Workshop content. But that’s likely a pipe dream because it’s not something the dev has mentioned and this was not an early access release so I wouldn’t expect regular updates outside of bug fixes and some community requests.
The style of the game is clinical and science fiction in a very realistic sense. You are in an all white and steel, round room as you choose your training simulation and based on the scenario you choose to load, the floors and walls can withdraw and open up for moving targets to appear all around you. Or in some scenarios different set pieces, like a house or obstacles you need to shoot/throw through or around, will be put into place by robotic arms, again all in a very realistic manner.
The devs take this realism further by acting as if this is indeed an FBI training simulator, from the Steam page:
“Recruit Candidates who achieve top ratings across all Simulations will be marked for fast tracking and promotion once this part of your training is complete.”
So enjoy the game, have fun, try your best, but be careful as if you are the best of the best, you may very well get a knock on the door one day from a man in black.
With its super clean aesthetic, awesome graphics and great optimization, Lethal VR is a must-have for anyone looking for some fun VR target practice.