Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot Review

Released 2019
Platform PSVR (Reviewed), Steam
Publisher Bethesda (Website)
Developer Machine Games (Website)
Arkane Studios (Website)
Homepage (Visit Website)
Players 1
Category Virtual Reality Experience
Shooter
Light Puzzle Solving

It’s a polished VR Experience packaged as a game – I thought we were past this stage, though?

When I saw the announcement for Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, I was very intrigued. Wolfenstein has had an excellent reputation since being rebooted, and I have wanted to play them for a while. With the release of Cyberpilot and Youngblood last month, I thought this would be the best time to jump in.

Starting things up

You start the game in a room seated in a chair. Looking around, it felt like I was in Wolfenstein: Youngblood. The same model assets are being used in both games, and it makes VR look amazing.

Then you hear the voice of your resistance contact, the narrator and guide for the game. You go through some fairly standard VR intro malarky, and then you are in the game.

You are not allowed past this room. The door says so! :p

What you aren’t into though is into the Nazi killing. That threw me a little bit at first – isn’t this a Wolfenstein game? Shoot first ask questions never?

Instead of shooting, you’re tasked with reprogramming a captured Panzerhund. Again, reasonably standard VR fluff, but well-executed on the whole. Remove a panel with the crowbar, pull out the circuit board, listen to more talking, re-insert the circuit board – it’s all stuff VR has you doing already.

Repairing electronics rarely involves crowbars normally...

Then you get into the combat – well, almost. You get into a tutorial showing you how to move and use the Panzerhund, and then you are into the shooting phase.

So how is the combat?

Not bad – not bad at all. It was fun looking through the eyes of some of Wolfenstein’s harder enemies. The panicked reactions of the soldiers as they realise that their robot ally has turned on them is satisfying to see. And see it you do – graphically, I cannot understate how polished Cyberpilot is.

Using the Move controllers, having autonomous left and right-hand movement makes you feel like a badass. Walking through the streets looks and feels impressive, even if the level design is a bit linear.

The lighting effects are hard to show in a still, but the flamethrower looks amazing!

You don’t sound very enthused though, but you are saying it’s good?

Yeah, you knew the ‘but’ was coming.

There are three types of unit to control, of which the Panzerhund is the first. The next level has you flying a drone with an emphasis on stealth. It felt different from the Panzerhund, but it was another “wait for everything to be explained in unskippable sections” as outlined earlier before you got to do what you wanted.

The last robot is the Zitadelle and was, in most ways, the experience I was most expecting. Rockets on my left arm, minigun on my right, go and mow everything down.

By now, I thought the first three levels were the tutorials for the actual game – something fairly standard in a lot of shooters again. So then I started on the fourth level, where I got to jump between all three robots to complete specific tasks.

Rockets or bullets. Why not both?

Here I was, happy to be finally playing the game – and it was over. There are only four levels to the entire game.

Story wise, there was a bit of a twist (no I’m not going into it) but even that felt rushed and out of place.

Bottom line, this felt like the start of a great game that was rushed to meet an artificial deadline. If this had stayed in development another year with a more fleshed out story and levels, it could have been a great game rather than a good experience.

How are the Controls?

With the Move controllers, everything worked pretty well overall. Tracking was good for the most part, and I didn’t have to recenter myself very often.

The most annoying control issue I had was repairing with the Panzerhund and Zitadelle. In the cockpit, if you put your right hand down to the right and fire, Cyberpilot would often assume you were trying to dock the virtual controller to the frame and initiate repairs.

The other problem I had was the tutorials. They are unskippable and relatively slow. It felt like they were making sure you knew everything you could and couldn’t do in the game.

With the PSVR trying to help you lock onto things, repairing accidently happens a lot

So imagine my surprise when I accidentally find out 10 minutes before finishing the game I could strafe. That would have been nice to know earlier in the game!

So it’s not worth it?

No, by all means, grab it – just not at its current price point, and know that it’s not a game in and of itself.

Cyberpilot is fun enough – if you know it’s only a short term experience.

There are a variety of different challenges to try for in the trophy list, but they feel like they are there for completionists rather than fun things to do.

I do regret getting the physical copy. I bought it for AUD$40 from EB Games, mainly because I added it to my preorder for Youngblood. It’s AUD$30 on the PlayStation Store, and I think it will either be a PS Plus add on or half-price shortly.

Once Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot hits the AUD$15-20 mark, I think it will be better value for money and can recommend more people play it. But by then I think the hype will be gone, so interest in the game will have probably died off to the point not as many people will try this game as they should.

There are little things to discover, but not enough to make you play Cyberpilot again and again
JohnHQLD
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot

Final Thoughts

I don’t regret buying Wolfenstein: Cypberpilot at all. It looks so good, and the fun was there. Not enough to make a concerted effort for a platinum trophy, but it was fun enough. The seeds of an entire spin of series for Wolfenstein are sitting here, waiting to be nurtured.

What Cyberpilot doesn’t have is longevity. It’s like Batman: Arkham VR – it’s a polished and immersive experience, but that is all it is – an experience. This far into the PSVR lifecycle, I was hoping for more.

While the idea of Wolfenstein in VR is appealing, I don’t think that the PSVR is capable of doing it justice. Cypberpilot is a positive experiment and something that I would like to see Bethesda expand on. I will happily get the next game in the Wolfenstein VR series if it happens, but I would recommend picking up Cyberpilot when it’s on sale.

Overall
6/10
6/10

Pros

  •  Amazing Visuals
  •  Each robot feels different to control
  •  Entertaining especially for new VR players
  •  Lots of trophy challenges to complete

Cons

  •  2 hours tops to complete
  •  Unskippable Tutorials and Exposition
  •  No secrets or collectables to promote level exploration
  •  Controls can be awkward

Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. dates announced – and it’s really early access?

Fallout 76 Feature

Everyone ready?  “TAKE ME HOOOME”…

So during E3 2018, there were so many bits of video gaming news dropped.  One that had my (and the worlds) eyebrow raised was Fallout 76.

Leading into E3, there was only a masterclass troll reveal.

As a recap, Bethesda tweeted at the End of May with the instantly fan recognisable ‘Please Stand By’.

Fans were standing by for a 24-hour Twitch Livestream of the TV and a PipBoy Bobblehead.

Yeah, it was as hard to watch as you think.

But in the end, the teaser trailer was made available.

Then during E3 2018, Bethesda’s Todd Howard dropped the first gameplay reveal trailer and confirmed something I thought was a great move.  Preordering Fallout 76 got you access to the B.E.T.A. – The Break It Early Test Application run of the game.

So early access for preordering isn’t new, and a test phase for any online game is a great idea for a lot of reasons.  But given Bethesda’s past Fallout day one efforts, this was a move to give fans the confidence to pay up sight unseen.

Fallout 3 had some… I will say interesting glitches.  On PlayStation 3, there were some bugs that stopped quests – OK.  Then it deleted saves.  Wow.  PC had it’s share of issues as well don’t get me wrong – but if you went in on launch it was hard to play.

Fallout New Vegas I tried to play straight away, and I just couldn’t.  It was REALLY broken – there is no other way to put it.  Now I still own it all and by all accounts, it’s a great game now it’s all fixed.  I will go back and play it, but it put me off.  Fallout 4 I own and got to the first ‘build this settlement’ stuff and I just thought nope and never reloaded it.

So with this kind of history, Bethesda acknowledging the issues and (admittedly charging for) the chance to jump in and test this pre-launch for an online game was a smart move.

And late last week, the dates were revealed 😀

My first thought was “So nope.  I will be at PAX!”.  Then I realised the first date was for XBox.  OK, a lot of the announcements etc. have been made during Microsoft events, there is obviously a push happening there.

But then I twigged that at best this is all happening 3 weeks before launch.

Now my background is IT – it’s my full-time job, and software releases are just something I do.

If I was putting large-scale testing of two similar but distinct systems into effect two weeks out – I would be worried.  Historically, Bethesda has had issues on PlayStation – over and above the issues with game releases on the whole.

The cynic in me sees a board meeting in Bethesda which goes something like this:

“We need to get people to buy our game upfront.  People keep waiting for us to fix it then buying it.”

“Tell them we hear them and give them slightly early access, but call it a beta test.”

Now as I said this is the cynic in me.  I’m not 100{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} on the new Fallout game, but this is a series that is close to my hear.  I still have my preorder from EB Games, and I think my B.E.T.A. code is good.  I say I think because I have no confirmation from the Fallout site, but if I try to reregister the code says it’s used.

What about you guys?  Anyone lined up waiting to play Day One, or are you waiting to see how it goes?

But to not end this on a negative note, the in-game intro is now available to check out as well.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Fallout 76 has me in a hard place. Am I looking forward to it?

Fallout 76 Feature

So I have until November to finish Fallout 4

Bethesda was talking about another old favourite of mine today.  And over the last couple of days.  They have been so excited to talk about it, they decided to troll the world with a 24-hour Twitch stream of ‘Please Stand By’.  They even jumped into the XBox presentation a few hours before their own.

Of course, I am talking about Fallout 76.

I first played Fallout in 97-98 I think?  It was after Doom, that’s for sure.  And I spent a lot of time playing it when I should have been studying.  It was a new type of RPG for me, with isometric views and an insane deadline to get the water chip and save your vault.  Not to mention Ron Pearlman as the Narrator – I can still listen to the into to every Fallout game except Brotherhood of Steel just for him.

And there were so many ways to play the game and complete the quests..  So much of the world to explore.  Many games were simply me running around doing quests just to see what else was in the game, completely ignoring the main quest and letting the time run out.

Fallout 1997
Believe it or not, there was a time this was considered the same as 4K HDR quality graphics

This was before the patch that removed the time limit, and for a long time, I didn’t get the patch even when I knew it would remove the time limit.  It was just too much fun.

I have heard a lot of people already coming down on Fallout 76.  Internet game?  Multiplayer?  That’s not MY Fallout!

To those people, I have only this to say.  Fallout 3, New Vegas and 4?  They weren’t my Fallout either.  But I gave Fallout 3 a try, and it is to date right up there as my favourite Fallout ever – bugs and all.

So let’s have a look at the trailer shown at E3 yesterday:

So it sounds like Ron Pearlman is back as the narrator, and the Fallout ‘feel’ is definitely a high priority.

Comparisons have been made over the last few days to Rust, an online survival game with heavy player vs player leanings.  I can’t say too much about Rust as I haven’t played it, but Fallout seems to be similar if friendlier.

I say friendlier, mainly because Bethesda was quick to point out that dying in Fallout 76 isn’t the end of your play experience.  This will be great for new players, but hardcore survival players may find this too casual.  I will say it’s probably a good move by Bethesda overall though because I am tempted to give it a go.

But that is where I am with Fallout 76 – I will give it a go.  I am not overly excited by it, but I am definitely going to keep an eye on it as well.  If Bethesda.net comes back online properly and lets me join up, I will be applying for the beta and giving it a hammering.

What about you?  Where do you stand on the Fallout 76 hype train?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

**Quick Update

So I misunderstood the B.E.T.A. access.  I do love the name – Break-It Early Test Application.  I thought it would be a great chance to see if I could get into the game or not.  I thought I could help test out a game from a studio that has famously launched buggy the last few releases.

So to get access to the beta, you need to preorder.  OK, not a ‘free’ look that’s fair enough though.  You don’t want hordes of people playing for long enough for free.

But you have to order the Power Armour collectors set to get access.

UPDATE:  You just have to preorder, so I can order the game for the normal AUD$99 and get beta access.  Yay for looking again a day later!

Fallout 76 Preorder
Wait, to get early access I need to buy what?

So here in Australia, that means EB Games.  OK I am good with that.  Let’s have a look at what the deal is.

Fallout 76 Power Armour EB Preorder
Click on the image to go to the EB games site

I don’t think I will be paying for beta access somehow.

Doom Eternal has me looking forward to another fun time

Doom Eternal

Probably my favourite Bethesda announcement during their presentation looks like Hell on Earth

I remember playing the original Doom way too much.  I mean WAY too much.  I remember finishing Episode 1 on Ultra Violence in about 11 minutes.  OK so to today’s speedrunners that wasn’t anything special, but in 1994 it was a heated competition between myself and a student named Willy for the particular crown.

Flash forward to 2016, and DOOM is released.  I had a steam voucher, and I was hearing OK things, so I loaded it up.  My mental process was something along the lines of the following:

Metal music.  Fells like Doom I guess.  It’s definitely very pretty in a hellspawn mass murder kind of way.  Strange start, but ahh right there is the armour.  Nice touch.  Shooty shooty.  Glory kills?  Wow, that’s too much fun!  And here is the end of the level.  Yeah, this is pretty cool.  Wait what is this lever?  Secret doors!  Yes, this is just like… Wait… The secret is a Doom level!  LMAO!

Then I look up, and it’s been 7 hours, I have almost finished the campaign, and I need to shower for work.

Doom 2016 Cyberdemon
The Cyberdemons look a little different to what I remember from the 90's

A little while later, I was upgrading my PC and had a mate bring his PC over so I could install my old graphics card in his rig (upgrade for him, and I was happy it found a new home).  Asked him if he had anything ‘pretty’ to see the improvement in graphics, and brought him DOOM on the spot when he said not really.

DOOM is by no means the greatest game ever.  It pushed few technical boundaries.  But it was so much fun – something that had been lost in a lot of modern shooters.  I never got into the multiplayer (big surprise) but I randomly reinstall it and play through a few levels for a bit of mindless fun.

So during yesterday’s Bethesda E3 presentation, this little gem caught my eye.

It is really only news that it’s coming, and I have to wait until August and Quakecon for more news.  But I can wait.  There is a sequel coming, and if the formula stays about the same, I will be enjoying every second of it 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD