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Release Date: October 13th, 2016 Movie Release Year: 2016

Battlezone (PS VR)

Overview -

This new 'Battlezone' is a successor to the 1980 tank-battling arcade original, which might be considered the first-ever virtual reality game. That version, developed and published by Atari, had a special "periscope" viewfinder that players looked through to get a view from inside their tank — which makes Rebellion's revision 26 years later seem like the perfect introduction to VR in the home. Now, the PlayStation VR headset puts players directly into the cockpit as they engage in cooperative and solo campaigns.

OVERALL:
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Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
October 13th, 2016

Video Review

Ranking:

The visuals in 'Battlezone' are easily the best part of the package, making the player feel as though they're actually seated in the cockpit of a tank. It's interesting to physically look down and see the various information on displays littered around the bottom of the screen, like ammo counts and remaining lives. The colorful, hyper-stylized polygonal visuals of the battlefields and enemy units are a wonder to behold in stereoscopic 3D, and I particularly enjoyed peering up to see the towers and generators extending into the sky. I don’t generally have motion sickness problems in VR, so others' mileage may vary, but Battlezone's controlled pace and relatively straight camera angles were pretty easy on the eyes for me.

Audio Review

Ranking:

This is one to play with headphones on. The 3D audio makes for a much more immersive experience, surrounding the player with the booms of gunfire and explosions as battles rage on. The electronic music that accompanies the sound effects isn't particularly inspired or memorable, but it's energetic enough to capture the spirit of fast and frenetic tank combat.

Final Thoughts

'Battlezone' feels like a serious missed opportunity. As the successor to what many consider the original virtual reality game, I expected Rebellion's revision to be an accessible arcade battler — the sort of game that would make a great introduction to home-ready VR. Instead, this new version takes its influence from more modern inspirations, including roguelike elements and procedurally generated maps.

That's not a bad thing on its own, but the implementation of these elements is incredibly frustrating. Whether I was playing with a team of other tanks or going it all by my lonesome, the brutal difficulty and lack of direction often crushed my motivation to give it another go upon failure. That's far from the addictive, infinitely replayable experience 'Battlezone' seems to have been aiming for, leaving it firmly in "disappointment" territory.