Review – Not for Broadcast VR
I’ve never been one for FMV games. I am well aware there are some good ones out there, but the concept of them never really grabbed me. With that being said, Not For Broadcast is a game that I’ve had my eyes on for quite a while, hearing a lot of positive buzz surrounding it, but never got around to playing. At least up until now, as the recent port over to VR platforms throws you right in the middle of a broadcast room.
You are given control of the broadcast show hosted by Jeremy Donaldson. It is your job to make sure the broadcasts go well by making them entertaining to viewers, while directly impacting the increasingly bizarre political landscape. You will decide what’s shown to the public. It’s a hilariously dark story that goes much deeper than you would initially expect, as your actions in broadcasting can impact the whole game around you. Whilst the initial storyline is only roughly eight to ten hours long, branching paths and different choices add a whole lot more with tons of FMV that I haven’t seen yet. It’s an impressively large game that gets more engaging as you play, encouraging multiple playthroughs to see all the possible outcomes.
Strapping into the VR, version you are greeted with a brand new broadcast room. The room is much more spacious and lived in than the non-VR original. You can reach around the place and grab various items of interest as you physically interact with the broadcasting tools in front of you. It’s a level of immersion that is really only possible in VR. It’s not a game that you could say makes full use of the VR potential, though. For example, you can’t really move freely around the room unless you have that room yourself. However, it’s one that just immerses you into the experience that little bit further. For the gameplay loop in question, it works brilliantly.
It is your job to make the broadcasts as engaging as possible to the viewer by making sure camera cuts are quick and frequent enough, focusing on anything of interest happening may be just the talker or someone reacting to what has been said. The initial controls can be a little bit awkward, especially when you need to adjust for signal interference, but you will quickly get the hang of it before those viewers start to drop. The better you do;,the more viewers you will get, and the more equipment you will be able to afford to make your life easier.
On top of the camera cuts, you will need to control various other things. For instance, you may need to censor keywords from swearing to some more classified content. You may have to run adverts that may or may not sway public opinion. Your actions and what you allow to be shown on the screen do actually have an impact. Not For Broadcast VR does a fantastic job of keeping things feeling fresh and unique. In between the broadcast sections, you will have to make other narrative choices at home that can also impact the story.
Not For Broadcast VR, being a mostly FMV game, forces you to see a lot of live action footage instead of actually rendered graphics, but thankfully, the actors in question do a phenomenal job. The highlight being news broadcast host Jeremy Donaldson, who just steals the show every time he shows up, leading to some of the game’s most darkly hilarious moments. It’s a thoroughly entertaining FMV game that is worth seeing through to the end thanks to a great cast. As for the visuals they are serviceable. You can freely look around the broadcast station as things happen outside the window but you won’t be blown away by what’s on display.
If like myself you’ve never played Not For Broadcast, and if you happen to own a VR device, then you are in for a treat. This might possibly be the ideal way to experience this sleeper hit from 2022. Not For Broadcast VR is a darkly humourous FMV game that puts you right in the middle of a propaganda wheel. It’s a textbook example of a VR conversion that makes excellent use of the technology in question to immerse you into its unique story.
The studio makes for a decent enough, yet slightly unremarkable backdrop. But the really content is in the hilarious FMV movies.
Being a broadcaster isn’t the most exciting job, but seeing your actions change the world does make things a lot more interesting.
Wonderfully performances from most of the cast, with hilarious lines.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Not For Broadcast makes a solid VR conversion and is arguably the definitive place to try it out.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Not for Broadcast VR is available now on PCVR, Quest 2 and PSVR2.
Reviewed on PC with an Meta Quest 2.
A copy of Not for Broadcast VR was provided by the publisher.