Blood and Truth Is Fun but Might Be Nothing Without VR [Preview]

To give Sony its due, the publisher is not giving up on this PSVR thing. Although Sony did make a decent amount of good, albeit safe first-party PS Vita titles, PS4’s VR headset has been getting a steady stream of new, interesting games. With Blood and Truth Sony are having another go at an exclusive PSVR shooter after failing to make an impact with the disappointing Farpoint last year. Unfortunately, it seems to be making all the same mistakes.

Blood and Truth Preview: Hardware Hardships

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The foundation of most great games is simple, elegant controls that work. By that basic measure, Blood and Truth has already failed. We won’t judge Blood and Truth too harshly since it has plenty of time to pull itself together. But if Doom or Halo started with the player getting their gun stuck in the wall, or being unable to reload because their hand was glued to their nose, they likely wouldn’t be household names like they are today.

Both of those mishaps happened when I played Blood and Truth, along with being only able to shoot at the floor, and getting cut off at the legs so we had to peer around barrels at enemies like our character had turned into a six-year-old. To be fair, our E3 preview didn’t have these issues so it’s possible that my setup didn’t do the game any favors.

When they function correctly, the controls themselves are simple, but even then I’m not sure they actually work. I used the Move controllers and, glitches aside, everything was mostly fine. The triggers were either shoot or grab, depending on whether or not you had a gun in your hand. I had a pistol on my hip, which I could pull out or holster.

Grabbing a cartridge from a bandolier around our chest reloads your gun, which mostly worked but I always had to look down to do it. But it was the side-step buttons that confused me. These were prominent and useful in the tutorial, but the main game was entirely on-rails, taking us to specific spots when we pressed the “Move” button and nowhere else. When do I get to side-step?

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Blood and Truth Preview: The Blandest FPS in Town

Blood and Truth is probably the one of the dullest first-person shooters I’ve ever looked at. The level I played took place in what seemed to be a dilapidated area of London, full of run-down buildings and generally bland, grey architecture. Nothing about the level design was interesting, except when things started exploding. Why did someone leave those convenient red barrels in areas around a warehouse district in London? Or grenades abandoned on top of random boxes? I don’t know and I guess it doesn’t need to make sense but at least the explosions added some excitement to the place.

The one thing Blood and Truth has going for it, in terms of controls, is a slow motion button, which can be used at specific moments to aim your shots better. It was certainly very useful, and fun too.

I can say I definitely enjoyed the shooting in the game. When the controls worked right, and I wasn’t aiming at the ground or whatever, the act of pointing a gun at someone and letting off a few rounds was satisfying. If this weren’t VR, it would be infinitely less so, especially as unarmored criminals in T-shirts can take several bullets to the face and still remain standing.

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Blood and Truth Preview: Shocking Old Ladies

The small section at the end of the demo without shooting was probably the most fun. We had to lock-pick the door of an electrified cage holding our character’s mother, which worked pretty well. However, it was mostly fun because we could give ourselves a buzz by touching the cage, or by making rude gestures at the old lady during the cutscene.

Blood and Truth was entertaining when it worked right, which wasn’t often for me, but I’m certain that enjoyment came entirely from playing a shooter in VR rather than any design skill shown in the game itself. If we take VR out of the equation, the level we played was bland to look at, filled with forgettable enemies that took too many bullets to kill, and had controls that screwed up regularly. And while there is time to course correct, Sony London has got a long way to go if they don’t want Blood and Truth to end up as another Farpoint.