The State Of VR Shooters
by Ashley Robinson

First person shooters are a staple for any gaming platform - be it old, new or even incredibly obscure, such as a smart fridge. No matter how you cut it, chasing people around in a very convoluted game of tag has become the most popular video game genre of all time, and it's thanks in part to the giants of old such as Doom.

We've moved on a little bit from that era, though, and Virtual Reality has managed to find a place into the daunting video game industry. Not everyone has pulled the trigger on buying into VR, mostly because it's still debatably in its infancy as a platform, though of course it's getting more and more mature each year. Seeing a triple A publisher, Valve, make a VR exclusive shooter was absolutely stunning for the people who had already put their faith into VR and getting to experience the world of Half Life through their new game was simply unbelievable - especially if you were to try and explain Half Life Alyx to someone from the original Half Life era at the time.

The two games we're looking at today, however, both fall into the same market. You've be forgiven for thinking they're the same game, and to the uninitiated, it can be a little difficult to see the differences.

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Pavlov, a first person VR shooter by Vankrupt Games, is possibly the closest thing to Counter-Strike you can get in the VR sphere at the moment. It has classic firearms, all bought on a buy wheel at the start of each rounds and lets you go nuts with multiple sawn-off double barrel shot guns, akimo glocks or whatever you think will look stylish and get some frags. The game looks great and is very open for modding - my personal favourite is the Halo mod by Lammy, which allows me to experience what it's like to handle halo weapons. This could be its own article because it's literally fulfilling a childhood dream of mine, but wow. Halo fans, be sure to check this one out.

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Onward, on the other hand, takes a more grounded approach to fighting. It's more comparable to Insurgency, a lesser known first person shooter that aims for realism. Downpour interactive have included a weapon customisation that seems to have taken a leaf out of insurgencies book, too - you're allocated a certain amount of points and customise your loadout with said points. So a red dot sight might cost 1 point, a grenade might cost 2, meaning you have to really think about how to maximise your potential with each choice. Further more, it's not as gung ho as Pavlov - you won't be duel wielding shotguns in this game, you're more likely to be lying on your carpet pretending to operate a sniper. To say this game can be immersive is an understatement, you really feel like you're there. The graphics aren't quite as polished as Pavlov, but that's because it's got native crossplay for Steam and Oculus Quest, meaning you don't even need a high end PC to play this one.

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Pavlov's weapon handling model doesn't feel as fluid as Onwards, but that is down to user preference and you may find Pavlov to be a more enjoyable experience. I usually find different reasons to keep coming back to them both and can honestly recommend either of them for any FPS fan. It depends if you prefer realism or high octane action, though they both serve that in their own ways!