TGS 2018: Final Assault Is Real-Time Strategy Done Right On The PS VR

Whenever we’re talking about virtual reality (VR), our mind rarely goes to the Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genre. And that’s understandable. As a medium, VR epitomizes the visceral experience.

The hardware affords us an unparalleled level of immersion, reducing friction between player and game with a sweeping, all-encompassing 360-degree window into the fictional universe — this really makes it ideal for certain genres, of which front-runners tend to be first-person and/or action-based titles.

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RTS, while arguably as action-packed and emotionally-invigorating as the rest of them, requires its players to take a more removed point of view. For those unfamiliar, RTS games involve manipulating units under your command, often in attempts to claim enemy territory, or otherwise to simply outwit your opponents.

It essentially presents you a stage, but you’re not on it. So while the explosions may be eye-catching and the spectacle breathtaking, the action here primarily happens in the mind of the god-like observer— in this case, you. And this is decidedly a little harder to translate into a VR experience.

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Nevertheless, Phaser Lock Interactive will be bringing the World War II-themed RTS Final Assault to the PlayStation VR. In it, you’ll be mobilizing foot soldiers, jeeps, tanks, and other military units to lay siege on your opponent’s base — of course, your opponent will be doing the same.

From what we’ve seen and played from a brief but deeply satisfying demo at Tokyo Game Show (TGS) 2018, the game boasts a dazzling amount of gunfire and a horrifying rain of shells from the sky, which is vaguely reminiscent of that one scene from Grave of the Fireflies.

That scene from Grave of the Fireflies.

The game is definitely best played with a pair of PS Move controllers. Each controller will represent your respective right and left hand within the game (yes, the hands appear on-screen).  You can pan, zoom and rotate the map with your hands, much like a mouse would on the PC. Once we’ve gotten the hang of it with both hands, we knew we were on to something really special.

A quick press of Triangle on any of the PS Move controllers will have the respective hand pull up a clipboard with a 3D menu of the available units you can purchase. All you have to do is to move the other free hand across the desired unit, grab it and drop it anywhere on the map. The whole process is just so intuitive and satisfying, especially once you get the hang of it and start spawning units all over the map with such ease and finesse.

Simply grab and drop units from the clipboard.

Moving the units around the map is just as fun and easy. Just select any available unit with either the right or left PS Move controller and drag a path with the pointing index finger and voila! Once the battle heats up, with explosions and dogfights happening, it was a sight to behold, as we use our “hands” to pan and zoom in on the action.

This gameplay video from TGS 2018 should give you a good idea of what was just described above:

From what we’ve experienced, this is definitely a PS VR top pick from the TGS 2018 to watch out for. VR and RTS, who knew that they could make for such a successful formula?

Final Assault is expected to release in Spring of 2019 on the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.

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