Published on June 21st, 2019 | by Sean Warhurst
Blood & Truth PSVR Review
Summary: Oi Guvnor, is this game trying to mug you off or is it a stellar piece of gaming fare, ya muppet?
Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Moves
When the PSVR first dropped, one of the immediate standout experiences was a little Guy Ritchie-esque crime caper called The London Heist, tucked away on the hit-and-miss collection PlayStation VR Worlds.
Developed by the aptly titled SIE London Studio, The London Heist elicited unanimously positive responses from gamers and many were clamouring for a fully-fledged experience in much the same vein, relishing the bombastic action set pieces and naturalistic gunplay.
London Studio was evidently listening and, after two and a half years, we have their attempt at following up that slice of fried gaming gold with Blood & Truth, a hardboiled crime caper that revels in chucking the player directly into the middle of scenes ripped directly from the British gangster celluloid classics.
The game opens with a pulse-pounding rampage through a Middle Eastern warzone as you’re introduced to Ryan Marks, a stoic military-trained protagonist who finds himself called back home at the completion of the mission; ostensibly it’s to bury his father but, before too long, his return becomes a struggle for survival as he’s dragged into an all-out war between his criminally inclined family and a rogue rival underground faction vying for their turf in the wake of the death of their patriarchal figurehead.
The plot can feel like its checking off cliché boxes at times but never ceases to be entertaining, even during the quieter moments; the writers have a bit of fun with the tongue-in-cheek tone of some of the scenes and these self-referential nods help prevent the game from falling into a grimdark parody of the genre.
Of course, it’s the gunplay that’s the main draw here, so most prospective buyers will be wanting to see how the old PS Move controllers hold up here.
The verdict? They hold up as well as they can but the archaic technology behind Sony’s repurposed PS3 motion controllers is really starting to show its age and the tracking just isn’t as precise as it can be.
With that said, there are many satisfying set pieces throughout Blood& Truth that will make you feel like you’re John Wick, dodging explosions and popping headshots from across the map; bullets whizz past your head while you find the time to scratch a few records in a DJ booth and the levels are littered with a variety of collectible Vapes, letting you puff away contentedly using the PSVR microphone as you pick locks, set explosives and much more… It’s an often heady experience that’s only slightly let down by being forced to work around anachronistic tracking tech.
Much like in The London Heist, reloading sees you slamming clips into your weapons and ripping grenade pins out with your teeth, which never ceases to make you feel like a badass; as you work your way through the story you’ll also be able to pull a heavy weapon into play by reaching up and grabbing it from behind your back and perform more and more elaborate manoeuvres on par even with something like Superhot VR.
You move from point to point using a node system, which usually would be a strike against the game for me, but here it works seamlessly and I very rarely lamented the lack of free locomotion.
Aside from the main campaign, there’s also some bonus modes to explore for those looking for more content to keep them engaged until the free DLC that’s been touted to be coming in the near future drops. There are some training drills and a shooting range in which to hone your Gun-Fu skills, as well as tinker away with your loadout and colour schemes.
Completionists will also welcome the bevy of collectibles hidden throughout the main campaign, but for many they may not be a big incentive to play through the story again… Good thing the content itself is enough of a reason to double, or even triple, dip.
Graphics and Audio
I first played The London Heist on an OG PS4 and even then I was blown away by the realism achieved by London Studio and how immersive the graphics made the experience. It became my go-to when it came to showing off my shiny new headset and it never failed to blow everyone I demoed it to away.
Blood & Truth manages to surpass even the level of detail of their previous effort, with more natural character models and environments and some truly jaw-dropping moments visually on par with any action blockbuster.
The explosions seemed to be dialled back a tad, however, and there are a few instances of blurry textures, even when playing on the Pro, that reveal just how much London Studio is pushing the limitations of PSVR, but overall Blood & Truth manages to pull off that nigh-impossible task of creating a visually realistic virtual environment.
The audio is top of the range, with stellar vocal performances, a rousing action movie score and impeccable audio placement. Sound is a vital part of selling the entire VR experience and London Studio have obviously invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears into getting it just right, and the fruits of their efforts are clearly evident here.
As big a proponent of the system I am, my PSVR has nonetheless been kind of collecting dust these last few months after the heady highlights of Borderlands 2 and Astro Bot.
There have been a few titles released here and there that have kind of caught my eye but it’s taken Blood & Truth to finally get me to hook the old girl up again after moving house and deciding that it was too much effort to track down all of the cables once I’d finished unpacking.
I’m a sucker for the whole British gangster angle (Hell, I suffered through The Getaway on PS2 because I’m such a tragic) and I’m never one to turn down a few hours of solid shoot-em action, so Blood & Truth tickles me just right in many ways.
I can see someone who absolutely loathes that whole fast talking, fast living Guy Ritchie aesthetic possibly not liking this but aside from that, if you can look past the occasional tracking issues, Blood & Truth is yet another banger title for the PSVR that’ll sadly likely fly under the radar but will be appreciated by all who manage to play it.
Format ‐ PlayStation 4 (PSVR Required)
Genre ‐ Action / Shooter
Rating ‐ MA15+
Consumer Advice ‐ Strong violence and coarse language
Developer – London Studio
Publisher – SIEA
Reviewer – Sean Warhurst