Lethal VR is a collection of shooting galleries designed around the celebration of firearms, both real and those featured in popular action films. By developing such a game for VR, there’s the promise of an up close shooting experience without the distractions of such trifles like “trigger discipline” and “gun safety.” Unfortunately, Lethal VR does so little to take advantage of the new, immersive VR medium. In fact, the VR-ness is pointless to the experience that the game feels better suited to a PlayStation Move launch title.
The entirety of Lethal VR is set in a bland training space that bears a strong resemblance to the old Police Trainer arcade machine. To make matters more mediocre, the catalog of weapons is nothing to write home about and the gameplay never strays from “Shoot the target.” Accuracy doesn’t mean anything except bonus points for shooting the bullseye, which is great considering how twitchy the experience was for me. After the jank-free smoothness I experienced in I Expect You To Die, trying to point a gun steadily in Lethal VR was a protracted battle.
As a glorified shooting gallery, the only goal is to rack up points and, if so inclined, reach the top of the leaderboards. Each stage offers a collection of classic shooting range targets that float in and out of view between obstacles that need to be shot by Berettas, Uzis, and throwing knives. Neither of these weapons do much to enhance the shooting experience, though the knives require a flick of the wrist to launch.. Berettas and Uzis might as well be the same thing in the grand scheme of things. The combination of boring weapons and uninspired action make Lethal VR less fun that a shot in the foot.
Even the game’s most intriguing feature, shooting famous movie guns, fails to elicit a thrill. These bonus stages are built around using classic armaments like Francisco Scaramanga’s Golden Gun, the machete from Crocodile Dundee, and Dirty Harry’s Magnum, to name a few. With such iconic weaponry on display, one might think you’d get to recreate scenarios that made these weapons famous. How cool would it be to duplicate Scaramanga’s neigh-impossible murder of Andrea Anders from Man With The Golden Gun? Or experience the final shootout from Dirty Harry? Instead, you’re using these famous guns to shoot pedestrian target that are far, far beneath the prestige of these weapons. The bonus stage with Harry’s Magnum is unintentionally hilarious (and a little insulting) because all you do is shoot paper cutouts in a ugly, poorly constructed town square.
(Side note: the screenshots included with the review - made available on the PlayStation Store - are a lot shinier and prettier than how the game looks in VR. Because of the lower resolution, the visuals don't look quite as crisp and clean as they do in these images. Furthermore, I noticed some artifacting and texture pop-in on some targets).
Lethal VR was developed by Three Fields Entertainment, a studio made up with former Criterion and EA employees who worked on Burnout and Black. With such a pedigree behind the project, I expected so much more than what I got. Instead of being led on an exciting shootout in sprawling environments with live targets, you’re stuck in an Aperture Labs-like test chamber, doomed to spend eternity in this cold, sterile cylindrical room. The dreariness of the game comes as a surprise given how lively its description is on the PlayStation Store. $15 isn’t much, though I feel it’s asking a lot for something so plain and uninviting. It’s low rent gun porn. At its best, Lethal VR is a tech demo and barely worth notice, even for hungry PlayStation VR owners looking for something to play. Best acquired during a PSN sale, if at all.
Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.