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Vertigo 2 – Review

The first Vertigo never made it to PlayStation but the sequel from a one-man development studio has just ported PSVR2

Vertigo 2 is a First Person Shooter that sees you trapped on a planet of very alien aliens. There’s something of a Half-Life meets Rick and Morty vibe with your silent protagonist and strange goings on. Granted that’s coming from someone who has seen precisely one episode of Rick and Morty but there’s humour and weird stuff. There’s even at least one sneaky reference to Valve’s FPS classic. You’ll acquire a range of weapons as you face off against your strange foes – some of which don’t even have faces to face…

View from the cabin of small boat in a large storm, muzzle flash from a rifle lights up the centre of the image

The guns don’t start off too outlandishly but they’re so well implemented. If you use them properly they each feel satisfying with audio and animations plus a visible impact on your enemies. Haptics are a little lacking but this improvement appears to be planned for a future patch. The other VR elements really ramp up the immersion, being able to peek or blind fire intuitively is great. 

Each weapon also has a unique physical reloading mechanic. Normally, if I’m in a hectic VR firefight the last thing I want is to have to coordinate several steps to reload rather than just pressing a single button, but there’s a surprising weight and mini-katharsis to the manual reloads. Pumping the shotgun or flicking the revolver closed (rather than the two-handed approach I used at first) gives you a little dopamine hit each time. It’s almost a shame that later optional upgrades remove the need for some of these actions, allowing faster firing/reloading but at a cost to interactivity. 

Purple energy swirls round a castle in the background while robotic priests look into the camera

Your extra ammo can be found on your hip but does take time to regenerate. I love this approach as it simplifies things and forces you to experience the different weapons. I noted that it did take me a while to get the hang of aiming but I tend to go through a learning phase with new VR FPS games. I was getting headshots with my shotgun quite reliably but couldn’t make the most of the deadly accurate revolver until I upgraded it with a laser sight. Some of the gun angles feel a little off but accurate to the shape of the gun in-game, this does help each weapon feel distinct but it can take some time to adapt. The upgrade paths for each weapon are quite creative, although I feel like my poor attempts at locating the upgrade stations meant I missed out on a few chances to upgrade. All of these elements work together to give some of the best VR gunplay available to PSVR2.

the player points a rifle towards purple cyborg cube aliens in a stark office/factory environment

It doesn’t stop there. Great enemy variety and intensity are paired up with some really thoughtful level/environment design. Your first encounter with an enemy type or after acquiring a weapon will generally be structured in a way that teaches you how to handle it. I even hit a section where the layout of platforms and stairs meant I had to teleport around a very angry dinosaur-like character to avoid his rush attacks – teleport being something I’d almost forgotten given I’d been using normal walking/smooth locomotion. This one encounter taught me how to deal with that creature, taught me how to best use a few weapons and primed me for an upcoming section where I had to use teleport to “jump” between moving platforms.

first person view, the player holds a revolver as they enter a large cave, there are signs of industry and lava flows from the ceiling

Presentation-wise the game is pretty solid, although the visuals benefit a lot from the bold colourful art style and creative choices for environments and enemies. For the most part, things look sharp enough in the headset but reading any text at a distance is difficult and a rare few times you’ll find enemies at such a range that you’ll be trying to line your shots up on a vague blur. 

Vertigo 2 has a pretty incredible soundscape with a punchy energetic soundtrack when it needs it and either chill or eery tunes when it’s appropriate. The guns all bang and zap with satisfying verve with some nice twiddles and whirs as mechanical parts return to their positions. Aliens again keep up the aliening mostly sounding downright strange. Unfriendly robots also have some fun chatter that reminds me of the Star Wars B1 battle droids in Jedi Survivor. You’ll meet a plethora of rather bizarre characters but the voice quality can be hit and miss. Still not bad when the original game came from such a small team and some characters are just phenomenal.

first person view, a weird gun is pointed at an alien looking T-rex with a tough head and big tusks while they face off in an arena.

There are some technical issues to overcome but with a launch delay and several post-release patches, things are getting better with a lot of major bugs patched out. There are reports of low frame rates in certain areas but it’s not something I noticed in my time with the game. There’s even talk of an update to add support for PS5’s adaptive triggers and a planned map editor. There’s already plenty of content thanks to a lengthy campaign with several difficulty modes, secret weapons and encyclopaedia entries. Finishing the story grants you access to new characters with whole new play styles such as “boomer shooter” with increased move speed and old-school ammo pickups. There are “modifiers” available from the beginning too, although these are not recommended on a first play-through and using them disables trophies – it’s a nice way to make the game easier or harder beyond the set difficulties though.

the squat alien known as Nani sits on a toadstool and plays his ukelele-like instrument

Despite a buggy start and the odd segment that drags the pacing down Vertigo 2 is endlessly imaginative and refreshing with slick gameplay, an incredible addition to the PSVR2 library and it’ll keep you busy much longer than some of the more “experience” style games.

9/10 star rating







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