GAMES

Defector Review

I never Believed I Would be able to jump out of a plane and Property On the exterior of the other in VR without getting irrecoverably sick, but Defector let me do exactly that. This Oculus Studios-published action game is a bit like being inside a Mission: Impossible film, and it may be a thrill, if a rather short one. But ankle-deep mechanics along with a plot which veer wildly off course keep it out of being something particular.

Defector Begins as a high tech spy story about hunting down defecting agents that have run off with three pieces of a mysterious device, but by the end that story has somehow made its way to laser guns, giant Cylon passing robots, and possibly even aliens or magical or something? It is not quite clear. The spy assumption is an interesting one, however, Defector simply utilizes it as a jumping off point to flaunt different VR ideas – from shooting to gambling to rock climbing. That wide variety of mechanics combined with disjointed plot points imply Defector comes off more like a tour of what VR can provide rather than a fully realized game of its own.

That’s not to mention the ride isn’t fun, it is just thin and short. Defector is a good VR shooter, with scripted enemies popping out of cover in a way that reminded me of arcade light gun shooters than any FPS at a trendy way. The weapons are generally gratifying to use, but beyond having to disconnect and reload ammo capsules (which does feel good to pull off when performed without looking) and also the occasional restricted secondary fire option, it’s pretty much just point and pull. I truly enjoyed having the ability to pick up the firearms of fallen enemies one after the other, John Wick-design, but it’s disappointing you can’t actually choose a main weapon for any given fight as you are limited to whatever rifle is offered to you in this assignment.

But spy flicks are not all about gunfights, and Defector Hops between all sorts of other activities to entertain you with varying success. The skydiving shenanigans I started earlier is essentially a rock climbing minigame as you fight to pull yourself toward a doorway. The next mission forces you to play an assortment of simple gambling games – such as blackjack – to advance, which you can (and should) completely cheat at using your spy gadgets. And melee struggles have you block telegraphed strikes before bumping back at particular times.

This Is all things we have seen everywhere in VR, often with much more thickness since other games don’t need to cram all of the disparate elements into one encounter, but Defector’s most persuasive and successful new ideas revolve around conversations. Your first tutorial is not the way to shoot, it is how to talk. Before you jump from a plane or pick up a gun, then you sit down for dinner with a classic Bond-esque villain and have to come out at the top in a battle of wits. It had been fun to become an active player at the campy, life-or-death banter that I’ve seen 007 have so many times before.

Instead of just choosing dialogue options as Part of this roleplay, there are actually right and wrong answers here. You have to study a simple dossier of the person you are speaking to and work out the best way to manipulate them into doing what you want. This escalates in a neat way in the next mission when you have to resist a truth serum by quickly picking lies before the truth comes out on its own. This system can be supported by some notably great facial animations and voice acting which can be hit or miss, but remains generally likeable.
All these different distractions and minigames are peppered throughout Defector’s five assignments, but there are two large problems. The foremost is, exactly enjoy the gunplay, that none of them have any real depth, rarely evolving over the course of the effort, which renders them more a matter of going through the motions rather than a genuine struggle to finish. The second, perhaps contradictingly, is that Defector is bad at teaching you how to play it, so sometimes you don’t even know what these moves are supposed to be.

It was frustrating to be handed a timed objective without a complete Understanding of how to navigate the entire world. A classic spy movie rooftop chase sequence in the next assignment was exciting, but might get bogged down when new obstacles such as scaling pipes or sidling along walls suddenly appeared with inadequate explanation of how to navigate them. Little moments like this are all over the place, and they could ruin the strain of an otherwise engaging situation.

Defector Is also very short, which is probably why the ease of those activities never got stale. I beat the campaign in under three hours, but four of the five missions really have”branch points” in which you have to make a choice – that decision is likely to create the second half of the level plays out entirely differently, with entire scenes, fights, and even mechanics locked behind one or the other. After you beat it one way you can load up that assignment from its branch stage to see what you missed, but then it just took me another hour to play all four of the alternative paths.

I really like this branching system in concept, and it was surely Fun to make a choice like”would you want to jump out of this plane with or without a parachute?” At the moment. The problem is they don’t have much of an impact on the story itself, so it is almost similar to a mid-mission level select. And Defector is so short I don’t really understand why those sequences would not only play back to back instead of forcing me to go back and check the other path to experience parts I has been forced to miss. And in what I can only presume is a massive supervision, the melee tutorial is actually hidden behind one of the branches at the very first mission, which left me farther floundering with all the controllers later on if I was not introduced into this mechanic by picking that route at the beginning.

Without spoilers, the Only choice wherever your branching choice really things seems to be the Last one, which leads to both endings. Don’t worry though, Since the two of these are complete nonsense. They are so inconsequential Into the gameplay itself which it’s still possible to love playing through Defector Despite the unjustified endings. But after beating all the avenues, I had been Left yearning for the true spy-movie-turned-VR-game that its original Half place up it to be.

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