On paper, Raw Data may seem like just another wave-based shooter, but it’s one of the better experiences for PSVR. Rather than root you to the spot, the teleport lasso is used to full effect – no motion sickness and no disorientation – and when used with a ‘quick turn’ button press you can easily face the oncoming robot hordes. At times, I even jumped when I spun around to face an enemy squarely in its glowing robot eyes.
The story is about data espionage, infiltrating an evil corporation who are data mining for a seemingly evil purpose. The action takes place in small arenas that vary in complexity as the game progresses. Essentially though, it is a wave-based shooter with a small amount of freedom to give you an immersive experience on another world with a story to give the game meaning – I was here for one thing – to slice up enemies in a VR space.
The ultimate goal is to stop waves of enemies from reaching your data core and destroying it before you can complete a hack. Die and you simply respawn, but lose the core and it’s game over. The enemies are your standard fare of foe – fast, slow, brutes – all the usual suspects are here and accounted for, but with a lack of character, their drone like behaviour is less daunting and only several environmental curve balls – like dodging security laser beams – that are thrown into play later in the game, prevent Raw Data from becoming repetitive.
The game’s best accolade is the weapons. Each one has numerous upgrades that can be unlocked as you play through the 10 levels as one of the four characters. Each character’s unique weapon – pistol, shotgun, sword and bow – felt uniquely different; offering certain advantages that were key in beating different stages. The virtual physics of each weapon worked particularly well, especially the shotgun. Holding the weapon with two hands allows you to pivot it on your lead hand and to reload… you simply pump the shotgun.
Each weapon felt great to wield with the Move controllers, I’m sure I looked hilarious, but I felt like an utter bad ass – reloading the pistol, pumping the shotgun, pulling the bow back to fire an arrow or striking a robot with a two handed blow with the sword – the virtual feel for each weapon has been exquisitely executed and while my PSVR mostly behaved, I did suffer the odd glitch that almost always happened at the most inconvenient moment – blipping out or not allowing me to aim in the direction I wanted.
Turning around to fire at enemies also showed the limitations of PSVR but with the excellent turn buttons and a handy grid box mapping out my play space and keeping me orientated as to where the PSVR camera was, this became less of an issue as I got used to the movement limitations.
Various gun (and shield) turrets may also be placed, adding a minor tower defence mechanic to the gameplay. Built using nano chips that can be harvested from fallen foes, turrets add a much-needed distraction and an additional target, which is essential in the later levels of the game.
Visually, Raw Data performed well enough although I did notice several textures that looked a tad ropey and numerous background objects were grainy. HUD screens were also tough to read, making me strain my eyes trying to make out the characters, but despite these issues – and a lack of depth to the enemy types – Raw Data is certainly the best shooter to date on PSVR and one I will keep going back to, hopefully cooperative support will also be available at some stage.