Review – Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom

Being a huge fan of the Peaky Blinders TV show, I was really excited to get the opportunity to play the VR game putting you in the shoes of a new recruit. Coming face-to-face with Tommy and Arthur Shelby sounded like it would be a great time, and Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom promised a faithful recreation. In my mind, I knew exactly what I wanted out of a title like this. I wanted bar brawls, backstabbings, shady deals, and some good ‘ol shootouts around the locations I know from the show. Was Maze Theory able to capture the stoic intimidating presence of Tommy and the unhinged rage of Arthur? Let’s take a look.

Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom takes place in 1928, where you’ve been on the run from the firing squad. With some aid, you’ve traveled to Garrison Lane to ask Tommy Shelby for some help. Before you can became a soldier of the Peaky Blinders, you must complete a mission to recover Winston Churchill’s briefcase, which contains the identities of every British agent around the globe. However, the Peaky Blinders aren’t the only ones after the briefcase.

Peaky Blinders The King's Ransom Bombs

Making bombs for our next mission… that you don’t get to use.

You will visit a handful of recognizable areas from the show which will hit you with some cool feelings. Walking down Garrison Lane with the theme song playing, and then getting hit with the Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom logo as you approach the tavern, is such a cool moment as a fan. It really feels like you’re starting a new episode, but you’re the new star character. Getting your mission briefing from Tommy, as he hands you a cigarette and lighter, and then sits down has has a drink with you, is exactly the stuff I wanted from this game.

Unfortunately, this is sort of where the admiration ends. Throughout the game you will still have those call back moments from the show, mostly from the locations, but the story and game feels very rushed throughout. Not only does it feel rushed, but the gameplay segments lack a lot of style, and the VR interactions are minimal.

Peaky Blinders The King's Ransom Shooting

Peekaboo shooting wasn’t very exciting.

For example, the first gun fight you get into is at the Shelby’s Betting shop and you don’t even get to shoot. Some of the rival group somehow got into the betting shop and setup bombs everywhere. All you have to do is grab some cutters, follow the wires to the next bomb, all the while Polly is covering you. There is no build up to this moment, there is no intensity, nor is there really any feelings afterwards. This is how a lot of Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom feels, scene setups to do show call backs, but nothing of substance.

There are two main combat areas in the game, the rest is sort of exploration and slight interactions. Frankly, none of the gameplay is interesting or fun. The gunplay is as simple as it gets with having only a pistol to shoot (until the very end), and only being able to pick up new magazines at ammo boxes. You can’t store any extra magazines on you, so you essentially just move from one ammo box to the other so you can reload. There are molotovs you can use by lighting it on fire with your lighter and then throwing it, but that is it. I was really hoping you could light the molotov with the cigarette in your mouth while still holding your gun, but that didn’t work.

Peaky Blinders The King's Ransom Glitches

The glitches and clipping issues really get in the way of everything you do.

Outside of the general gameplay and gunplay being bare bones, there is a very annoying clipping issue with your hands and objects. There are so many times where my hands would get stuck inside of an object and wouldn’t continue with my character. I had multiple times where carried objects got stuck on a chair, shelf, counter, or anything, and I had to let go of the object and wiggle my hand around to remove it. It became very frustrating and pulled me out of the moment many times.

Visually, Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom is a bit of a mixed bag. It was awesome seeing the iconic locations made to scale in VR, allowing me to walk through them. For the most part they’re detailed well and faithfully recreated with their decor. Unfortunately, the overall visual quality isn’t the best. There are some bad textures and unrealistic looking fog throughout the game. Coming face-to-face with Polly, Tommy, and Arthur was delightful, but the character models are not great. That goes from the main cast to the random thugs.

Tommy's Welcome

To the Peaky Fookin’ Blindahs!!

Sound design is the best part; nothing topped the moment of walking down Garrison Lane with “Red Right Hand” playing. They also brought over more of the smaller themed music and sounds from the show, which helped with the immersion. The voice acting is well done also, with Cillian Murphy reprising his role as Tommy, and Paul Anderson as Arthur. Polly is in the game, obviously with a different voice actress after Helen McCrory’s passing, but she does well with the few lines. Overall, the sound design was the only thing that didn’t have such drastic ups and downs.

Peak Blinders: The King’s Ransom gave me a few brief moments that made me smile with happiness, being within that world and its characters. Although, much of that is only because of the things that are ripped right from the show. Unfortunately, it’s every where else that it fails. The boring general gameplay and the one note gunplay wasn’t fun, and it left me with a sour taste, even during the ceremony joining the Peaky Blinders and getting my hat.

Graphics: 6.0

Walking down Garrison Lane and having a drink at the tavern, as well as other notable areas, is wonderful. However, everything feels empty and lifeless, and character models aren’t the best.

Gameplay: 5.0

Very basic VR interactions, and shooting gallery only gun moments leaves a lot to be desired. Your hands and items constantly get stuck into things.

Sound: 7.5

The original voice actors for Tommy and Arthur Shelby do a great job, and the classic music and tunes are here to enjoy.

Fun Factor: 5.0

Playing an episode of Peaky Blinders is cool, but everything feels rushed and majority of the run time is simply boring.

Final Verdict: 5.5

Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom is available now on PC and Meta.

Reviewed on Meta Quest 2.

A copy of Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom was provided by the publisher.