This product was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 with PlayStation VR, and is also available for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality. A retail copy was provided for review purposes.
Operation Warcade is a shooter, designed specifically for Virtual Reality, that takes inspiration from the arcade craze of the ’80s. Before you, is a cabinet that’s basically a mash-up of the many panning arcade shooters throughout the years. You don’t even need a pocket full of quarters.
Operation Warcade is a rather charming experience. It places you in an ’80s themed arcade, in front of a game cabinet for Operation Warcade. You can look around, and see other people(NPCs) and games, but interaction is limited to just Operation Warcade. It’s a simple experience, but one that will slightly differ, depending on your control type. The game supports Dualshock 4, the PlayStation Move controllers, or the PlayStation Aim controller. It’s nice to see more VR games taking advantage of the various control options and utilizing them well. For this review, I sampled all 3 types.
No matter how you choose to play, Operation Warcade is a simplistic, but pleasing experience, well suited as an introductory VR game. It takes the form of a left-to-right panning arcade shooter. It can be played seated or standing.
Playing with the Dualshock 4 or the Move controllers, you are placed in front of 2 Operation Warcade cabinets. On the left is Operation Warcade: Immersive Edition. This is the most meat of the experience. Immersive Editions offers 6 locations, each with 6 stages, challenges, and progression, as well as Immersion Points(more on those later). On the right, is Operation Warcade: Classic Edition. Classic Edition makes the game a traditional coin-op arcade shooter. You try to complete 6 different levels with a limited number of lives. Classic Edition is not available when playing with the PlayStation Aim controller.
When played with a Dualshock 4, the camera tracks your controller’s movement for aiming, and uses R2 to shoot, and L2 for grenades. The function is essentially the same with the PlayStation Move controllers, with the added mobility of using each hand independently. You aim and shoot with the right Move controller, while the left is used to throw grenades, using the triggers for each.
Playing Immersive Edition gives you the benefit of having unlimited lives. Each level has challenges that can be completed. These are various in nature, from scoring X amount of headshots, to completing all Immersion Points in a level. Immersion Points take you out of the arcade cabinet view, and “into” the game. They are different in nature, depending on location and level. Most of them are stationary, though some of them involve riding in or driving several types of vehicle, some of which are difficult to control. Some even give you different weapons, like a bow and arrow, or a minigun on a helicopter. Completing challenges unlock stars for a level. Each level has 3 stars, and more levels are unlocked as you acquire more stars. Completing challenges also unlocks different abilities in the Customization menu. Here, depending on how many stars you have, you can activate bonuses, like dual wield Uzi’s which replaces your grenade hand with a second Uzi, or more grenades, even a Titanium Uzi that will reflect bullets back at enemies in Immersion Points.
Using the PlayStation Aim controller offers a slightly different experience. Instead of an Uzi, you have an assault rifle in hand, equipped with a grenade launcher, which is fired with L2. Using the Aim also slightly changes some Immersion Points to reflect the controller type. Other than that, your goal is the same. Complete levels and challenges to unlock more levels and customization items. Given that the experience is virtually the same, with the only difference being the feel of the controls, I recommend playing it with the PlayStation Aim controller.
Operation Warcade isn’t a game that’s going to impress you in the visuals or sound departments. Being that it’s inspired by classic arcade shooters, everything looks and sounds like it should. The arcade itself looks like it was taken from the scene of several ’80s movies. In game, everything from enemies, to vehicles, to gunfire and explosions look and sound fairly era appropriate. It’s a fun reminder, for those old enough to remember, of how far we’ve come in gaming since those days.
Operation Warcade is a great game for someone just starting off in VR. It’s a fun package with enough replay value to justify the price tag. The game has its minor issues, but they don’t detract from the fun factor or playability. All in all, it’s just an easy game to hop into and play for an hour or so and work on some challenges, or just to kill some time for a few minutes. It’s an interesting presentation, and a nostalgic experience for the older generation.
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