Those VR pioneers lucky enough to own HTC hardware will have to exercise a little more patience this week. Originally due for release on the 7th, the Vive-friendly Steam release of VR spinoff Killing Floor: Incursion has slipped an extra week and is now set for release on Tuesday, November 14th, along with a major new update for the game bringing an endless horde-survival mode to the mix.
Killing Floor: Incursion was originally released back in August as an Oculus Rift exclusive, built to support the Touch controllers. Bizarrely set within a VR simulation itself, it gave players the chance to go mano-a-zombo in the gore-soaked world of successful survival shooter series Killing Floor, and by most accounts, it does its job well enough.
Watching some footage of Incursion in action (and in the video below), I’m impressed by how good VR shooters are looking nowadays, but there’s something about the gameplay itself that sits wrong with me, and I think it’s coming from my extensive experience with arcade lightgun games; a weekly treat for my teenage self every time I stopped by the old Laser Quest/Arcade complex in Bath.
My primary criticism levelled at almost all of these VR pseudo-lightgun games is a lack of choreography. Enemies meander towards the player, you shoot them, you warp to the next backdrop and do it again, often moving out of the way if threats creep too close. Does nobody remember the original House Of The Dead games? Or even Time Crisis? Those games had pacing. Every time the camera slid somewhere, it did it with purpose, and enemy attacks maintained a steady rhythm that you either kept up with or lost health.
Perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree here, but as someone who kept around a CRT TV for longer than most so as to retain compatibility with my bundle of console lightguns, I feel that while the technology has leapt forward into the VR era, the design of these games has slid back closer towards the Operation Wolf or Space Gun age. We’re still a few years off from recapturing the energy of Ninja Assault.
But perhaps I’m just being a stick-in-the-mud.
Killing Floor: Incursion is now set for release on Steam on November 14th, priced at £31/$40, with a preorder discount of 15% available until launch.