‘Blood And Truth’ Proves Anyone Can Be A Badarse In Virtual Reality
Starting Blood And Truth's demo was a timid journalist who'd been handed a gun. By the end of it I was an action hero, ducking behind cover and coldly targeting enemies down my pistol sights.
Confronted by a shotgun-wielding gangster in a bulletproof vest during PlayStation VR game Blood and Truth‘s demo, I immediately emptied my pistol into his nuts.
I was riding a power high, having just taken on a derelict building full of armed men by myself. Though I’d picked up an assault rifle along the way, as well as lobbed a grenade or two, I had largely used a pistol to clear the area, and was feeling like the biggest badarse to ever hold a gun. I didn’t want to die, but I felt so powerful that I wasn’t sure I even could.
The follow-up to 2016’s PlayStation VR demo The London Heist, Blood and Truth casts the player as British Special Forces soldier Ryan Marks, who must shoot his way through London to rescue his gangster family from a rival gang. Out on May 29, my 20-minute demo teased at the plot by putting me on a mission to rescue my mum, but the main focus was the gunplay.
At the start I was a timid journalist, handed a gun and tossed into a life-threatening situation I was completely unqualified for. By the end of it I was an action hero, ducking behind cover and coldly targeting enemies down my pistol sights.
Blood and Truth is an on-the-rails shooter reminiscent of arcade games such as Time Crisis. Movement through the environment is restricted to pressing a button to move to designated cover spots, the occasional minor detour quickly depositing you at the same end destination.
Using the Move controllers, you physically hold and aim a “gun” much like in an arcade, while same-looking men pop out of cover and shout stock phrases as they fire at you. They’re fairly unsophisticated, and foolishly expose themselves while shooting intermittently.
In an age of open-world games and increasingly advanced AI, Blood and Truth’s gameplay may sound unappealing. Yet it works well and makes sense in virtual reality, and the game’s immersiveness and physicality ensure it is still a ton of fun.
Physically aiming the Move controller and squeezing its trigger made me feel like an absolute badarse even when my shots went wide, which happened often. Aiming in Blood and Truth is rougher than PC gamers would be used to. Though looking down your floaty gun’s sights for the green crosshairs significantly improves accuracy, one-shotting enemies isn’t the norm.
Still, I wasn’t terribly bothered. It felt truer than if I was making pretty headshots all the time, and made me pay closer attention to my aim. Pressing both Move buttons at the same time also slowed time for a moment, allowing me to go full action hero and get off some quick, precise shots.
I found unexpected pleasure in reloading my gun as well, which gave me a great feeling of hypercompetence. To reload, you grab an ammo pack from your chest and manually insert it into the handle of your weapon. It’s swift and forgiving, so you aren’t jigsawing objects together in the middle of a gunfight, and I quickly found myself reloading during firefights almost seamlessly.
I felt like a professional who knew their way around a gun, despite never having touched one in my life.
It wasn’t all James Bond and joy. Picking locks was frustrating, as the game often just would not register the insertion of the lock picks into the keyhole.
There isn’t much sense of danger either. Shooting myself didn’t injure me, which I expected, but I couldn’t even die when I stood before my enemies and let them fill me with lead. Injury caused my vision to grow darker and black creep in from the edges, but I never actually fell.
It was like having a permanent God Mode whether you want it or not, and often I couldn’t even tell if I’d been hit. I asked whether you can die in the full game, but didn’t receive a response.
I also didn’t receive a response regarding whether you can run out of ammunition, but it certainly didn’t seem as though you could. I consider this a plus in light of the fact that I couldn’t punch people. There were ammo packs to pick up and add to my chest armoury, but they felt superfluous, and I only took them because they were there.
The enemies aren’t terribly sophisticated, the danger illusory and the aiming tricky. Bodies sometimes glitch, hovering over the ground or clipped into obstacles.
Yet all of this is easily overlooked due to how incredibly cool Blood and Truth makes you feel. Whether you use both hands to carefully line up shots with your pistol, or nonsensically duel-wield an assault rifle and silenced handgun, the game transforms you into a big screen action hero ready and able to perforate some bad guys.
Blood and Truth is essentially a badarse simulator. Who can say no to that?