Review – Blood & Truth
Last year was such a fantastic year for virtual reality thanks to games like Firewall, Tetris Effect, and Astro Bot. Unfortunately, 2019 isn’t anywhere near as iconic for VR as I was expecting. Blood & Truth is Sony’s flagship VR title for 2019 and the company’s answer to my aforementioned rant. A natural evolution of the PSVR Worlds minigame, London Heist, this game is Sony’s attempt to prove that VR isn’t made solely for quick tech demos with underwhelming visuals. This is the real deal, so they say. They are right. This is not the best VR game I’ve ever played, but it does show how quickly the technology is evolving.
Blood & Truth is a crime game set in London. It’s a game about mob wars, shootings, and betrayals. Before playing the game, I thought I was going to experience a Guy Ritchie movie ported into a VR device, but Blood & Truth feels a lot more what would have happened if Martin Scorsese was British. While there is a bit of banter between characters, this is a serious game and I’m totally fine with that. I was worried about the setting and if the developers would manage to portray the dirty side of London without looking like a pathetic pantomime. Thankfully, they’ve pulled it off.
Visually-speaking, Blood & Truth is fantastic. It looks the part like no other VR game out there. The main characters are so well-modeled that they look like freaking real human beings at times. Their expressions are realistic. Their animations are realistic. The environments make you feel like you’re inside the game like few titles succeed at. The framerate is a rock-solid 60fps like any other staple PSVR game. With the exception of one or two explosion effects and the reduced quality of the grunts you need to shoot, Blood & Truth is easily one of the best-looking games of this entire generation. It makes the facial animations from L.A. Noire, once touted as one of the most fantastic achievements in gaming, look like absolute trash in comparison.
The voice acting is also phenomenal. It’s a British game about British gangsters, so you can already imagine that nobody is speaking in Oxfordian English, and I love it. It’s vulgar and it’s delightful. Everyone does a great performance in here, especially the actors cast to portray the main characters. The grunts also speak a lot during the game, but they’re mostly relegated to either mocking you or just alerting their “fams”, whatever the hell that means.
Then again, this is a game, and you must be wondering what the gameplay is like and how well it’s implemented. Blood & Truth is very simple gameplay-wise. This is basically a very linear rail shooter in which you need to walk to a certain spot, kill enemies, walk to the next spot, kill some more enemies, until it all culminates on a final set piece in which your character will move automatically and you’ll have the chance to kill a certain amount of foes in order to get a silver trophy. There are also some brief puzzle sections sprinkled in between, such as picking locks, sabotaging electronic equipment, and so on.
It might not look like something really innovative. Well, it isn’t, but I definitely don’t mind. It just works. The game is filled with action-packed set pieces that make you feel absolutely awesome. The PS Move tracking is phenomenal in this game, with the shooting feeling smooth and realistic. I’ve managed to earn countless headshot trophies without a sweat. Reloading your weapons is also neat, as you’ll need to pick up a magazine strapped on your chest and manually reload your gun. It might take a while for you to get used to this mechanic, but it adds up a lot to the game’s overall realism, even if you’re just a pair of floating hands onscreen. It still managed to feel immersive.
I loved Blood & Truth‘s gameplay so much that I felt bummed when the game put its foot on the brakes during exposition-heavy cutscenes. This game tries its hardest to feel like a movie, therefore there are loads of them. It’s not that they are boring, far from it, but they sure are long and happen way too often, maybe as much as the amount of time you’re actually playing it. Given the fact that this is a VR game in which you need to stand up at all times, being constantly forced to stand still and not being able to move during these scenes bummed out me a bit. I just wanted to go back to the action as quickly as possible.
Pacing issues aside, I really liked Blood & Truth. It might be a bit short, but it’s replayable. It’s extremely well-crafted, pushing the PSVR to boundaries that had never been reached before. I might be sad that a new The Getaway had to be cancelled in order for this game to be released, but I’m equally glad to see that the return of one of my favorite underrated franchises of all time was sacrificed for an important title that shows what can be done with virtual reality technology when you put competent developers in charge of the project.
Incredibly detailed levels, great special effects, and some of the most realistic character models I’ve ever seen in a video game. The grunts are nowhere near that realistic or well-modeled, but thankfully enough, all you need to do is shoot them, not appreciate them.
Excellent shooting mechanics. Aiming at enemies is easy and realistic. Reloading your weapons might look confusing at first, but it becomes second nature after a few minutes. Lockpicking and sabotaging electronic equipment are also more fun than it should be.
The main characters are all incredibly well-voiced, spitting out deliciously British swear words at all times. The grunts also speak a lot, but don’t sound nowhere near as polished.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Whenever you’re thrown into a gunfight or an action set piece, Blood & Truth is one of the greatest VR experiences you’ll ever have. Whenever you’re stuck in a story-heavy section, you’ll still have fun, but you’ll wish you were in a gunfight instead.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Blood & Truth is available now on PSVR.
Reviewed on PSVR.