Review – Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm (PSVR)

Ladies and gentlemen, you’re reading this right. Yes, there is a brand new Sharknado game for the PSVR. Granted, this is a port of a title originally released for the Oculus Rift a while ago, but the point still stands. Considering the wider acceptance of the PSVR due to the vast amounts of PS4s in the wild, this can be considered the “mainstream” release of said game. The main question is, what to even expect from a Sharknado game? Furthermore, what to expect from a Sharknado game in VR?

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These visuals are to die for.

For those who are unaware of what this game is based on, the Sharknado franchise is a series of TV movies produced by the SyFy channel that are considered the pinnacle of entertaining trash. They are clearly not meant to be masterful productions, being nothing more than “so bad it’s good” dumb fun. For goodness sake, this franchise is all about tornadoes full of sharks and how people try to defeat them with guns and chainsaws. Somehow, they made six of those, so Sharknado clearly has an audience. Making a game about killing flying sharks with chainsaws in VR doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the world, but given how its source material boasts about how low-budget and trashy it is, one can only imagine how “polished” a game based on said premise would end up being.

Just like a good chunk of the PSVR’s library, Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm is a very straightforward shooting gallery. As you may have already imagined, your main objective is to aim and shoot at a bunch of sharks that will continuously fly towards you and then fly away, since you’re literally in the eye of the titular Sharknado. I can’t exactly understand the physical reasons as to why a 180lb human can stay put on the floor while a 2000lb shark can’t, but hey, let’s just assume “plot armor”. The game also gives you a false sensation of freedom by letting you walk around a small arena, but considering the fact that the sharks will always appear from one fixed side of the map, walking around is pointless. You can simply stay put in front of the invisible wall in which the sharks spawn from and still beat the game in half an hour.

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Look at the size of this chainsaw. Now that’s why I call overcompensating.

I have to admit that the gunplay itself isn’t the worst I’ve seen in the PSVR so far. That’s one positive they should put on the back of the box if they ever decide to release a physical version of this game: “it plays better than Bravo Team“. If you aim at a shark and shoot a bullet at said shark, that shark will blow up. You can also use a chainsaw, which can also be called “Deus Ex Sharkina”. If you merely touch a shark while holding a chainsaw and pressing the trigger, it will explode right in front of you. Given how the chainsaw has a ludicrous reach, you can spend the entire game without ever shooting a bullet, as the chainsaw is so powerful it makes every other weapon and powerup obsolete, including the unnecessary super jump and the worst and clunkiest bullet time in the history of gaming.

Sharknado VR‘s presentation is a sight to behold… and cringe. This might be the single ugliest VR game I have ever seen in my life, and that includes student projects running on a cheap Samsung Gear VR. Characters look like they have been ripped straight from a Nintendo 64 game and I don’t even mean a good looking game from that console. I mean one of those bad shovelware titles made by Titus back in 1999. The environments are laughably bad and simplistic, and the visual effects are so cheap they’re borderline comical. The game does get some extra points for at least managing to provide a constant 60fps at all times, though.

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A pedestrian casually strolling by, right in the middle of a literal tornado full of sharks.

The sound design is another gem of incompetence. As you can imagine, it’s cheap. Each of the four levels in this game features one single tune that is looped ad nauseum until you move to the next level or decide to quit the game. The few sound effects present in here are equally terrible. There is a saving grace in the sound department, however, but that depends on how much you can appreciate “so bad it’s good voice acting”. You see, there is an introductory “cutscene” included in here, which showcases the titular Sharknado ravaging a small bar. Before said attack, you’re greeted to the most amateurish stereotype of a redneck these innocent eyes and ears have ever seen and heard, as well as a bartender who clearly knows a lot about the consequences global warming is causing on wild sharks. The conversation between them is beautiful. Worthy of an Oscar. Or a Razzie. Or both. Who am I to judge.

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Don’t ask me about the physics logic behind this game, but a light human can perfectly stand still in the middle of a hurricane. A 2000lb shark can’t.

I have to admit that Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm ended up being much better than expected. Granted, it’s still a terrible game, with absymal visuals, sound effects, and a grand total of half an hour of content, but considering its source material isn’t exactly Lord of the Rings, I expected a lot worse. It’s not a game I’d fully recommend to anyone, but there is a tiny little bit of novelty of playing an actual Sharknado game in virtual reality and being able to chainsaw a shark in half. It’s not exactly “so bad it’s good”, but at the very least it’s not “entirely horrible”.

 

Graphics: 1.5

I’ve seen prettier games back in the Nintendo 64’s days and that’s no hyperbole. It does get extra points for at least managing to provide 60fps at all times, though.

Gameplay: 4.5

As barebones as you would expect: it’s a simple shooting gallery with some false sense of movement. Although moving around the arena is downright atrocious, the overall aiming is way more functional than I would have expected and weapons do pack a punch.

Sound: 2.5

Each level features one single terrible song that is played on a neverending loop. It also features really cheap and obnoxious sound effects. With that being said, the game’s initial cutscene features voice acting that is so absolutely horrendous it’s downright charming.

Fun Factor: 5.0

It is definitely not a well-polished game, but given it’s based on Sharknado, you were already expecting that. It’s really short and really broken, but it can be entertaining for a few (very, very brief) moments. Plus, there’s the novelty value of playing an actual Sharknado game in virtual reality.

Final Verdict: 4.0

Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm is available now on PSVR and Oculus Rift.

Reviewed on PSVR.

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