John Wick VR Review
Control resolution is one of those things you didn’t realize was interesting until somebody explained it. What it basically means is how many buttons you have to press to perform a certain action in a game. Most games have a low control resolution, you shoot a gun until it runs out of ammo, then you just press one button and you character ejects the old clip, grabs a new one, jams it in the gun and cocks it for you. Games like surgeon simulator have a very high control resolution, you control each finger and the angle, rotation and direction of your hand making the simple task of picking something up quite complicated, but realistic. Mostly this has been used as a funny little gimmick but in VR it’s becoming a serious feature.
In John Wick’s simulation mode you have to reload and cock your gun manually, reaching to you belt for more ammo each time. And it’s awesome. Every time you slam in a new clip and pull back the hammer you feel a little more badass. You will want to spend ages in the training room just reloading until you are knee high in unspent ammunition. What makes this so much fun is how perfect all the animations are. From pulling back the bolt on a sniper rifle to tossing a grenade everything in John Wick has that cinematic feel to it.
Apart from the occasional last gen looking smoke effect the graphics are also quite impressive. I spent the
first 5 minutes just playing with a gold coin I found in the hotel lobby, tossing it in the air and admiring the way the light reflected off it. When graphics approach photo realistic in VR like this you find yourself just wanting to hang around and smell the roses. But you didn’t buy a game called John Wick just to see the inside of his penthouse, you want action. So how does it play as a game?
Wave shooters are a dime a dozen in VR and John Wick doesn’t do a terrible lot to stand out from the crowd. You spend each level in one spot, ducking behind cover while goons duck behind their cover and throw the occasional grenade. You will be attacked from all angles and there are some cool scripted events but ammunition is unlimited and the aforementioned goons have no AI to speak of. This does not mean it is an easy game, in fact it’s rather brutal, especially if you don’t spend enough time in training to unlock better weapons (taking down a helicopter with a pistol is not recommended).
Even on easy mode it’s quite challenging, there’s no slow-mo or bullet dodging like other wave shooters, survival requires fast reflexes. You will probably die a few times until you learn the attack patterns of each level. The shooting is entertaining enough that this rarely becomes frustrating but the heavily scripted enemies becomes a bit more obvious each time round. Most likely though this is a design choice to try and pad out the running time. With 3 levels that take about 10-15 minutes each it’s not the shortest VR game around, but it’s hardly full length. The training ground is fun though, and global leaderboards spice up the reruns a bit.
There is no real story and no particularly interesting set pieces, a parking lot, a rooftop, a yacht etc. While there is voice acting in the game, Keanu Reeves is sadly missing, you think they could have at least stolen a line or two from the film. There’s a decent amount of detail in each area but once again, not that many areas. Most of the game feels really well made but the short running time and basic locations make the whole thing feel a little cheap. Luckily it is cheap, at only $20 it’s a steal as far as VR games go and few VR games at this price have this level of quality. Well worth your money.
How to Make John Wich Work with Oculus Rift
John Wick only officially supports the HTC Vive but with a simple tweak it can be made to run on Oculus Rift with Touch. Simply locate the game directory and set wick.exe to run in compatibility mode for
Windows 7. This is how I played the game and it works excellently. Just make sure you have a decent amount of space and a 360 degree tracking setup, sections of the game require you to face directly behind and you will want to move around a bit to get in cover. Our beginners guide has some great tips for setting up the Oculus Rift for room scale.
The John Wick Chronicles Final Review Rating
Final Score – 6/10 – A gorgeous looking adrenaline rush of stylish gunplay that proves rather shallow if you scratch the surface, much like the action movie’s on which it’s based.
Cool realistic reloading
Predictable scripted enemies
No Keanu Reeves