Developer: Guerrilla Cambridge
When I first heard about RIGS: Mechanized Combat League for the PlayStation VR, I was skeptical. The trailers made it look like a cheap gimmick that would not only become boring, but also make you wonder if VR is worth your time. After playing RIGS, I can say this… my initial impressions were wrong and I have never been happier to say that!
Touted as the world's first Virtual Reality eSport, RIGS has you piloting giant mechanized fighting machines and placing you in giant arenas where you fight against other pilots in a variety of different matches. As you begin you are given a short tutorial on how to use your machine and figure out the best way for you to control it. Once you enter the test arena, you get completely immersed into this world, and it will be hard for you to want to leave! You pick teammates, personalize your look and pick a mech that you like, you are thrown into your first match. The adrenaline will pump from start to finish as you push yourself to win. Whether it's the roar of the crowd watching you, the very fact that you feel like you are in the driver's seat of this giant robot, or the intense action of the battle itself… the feeling you get here is unmatched by any other videogame out there.
There are different classes of rig you can choose to fight in. Variants of size, speed, durability, and weaponry will all come into play as you choose the perfect mech for your career. Each class of mech has specific, unlockable variants that come with different weapon load outs and special abilities. There are three types of combat modes, "Team Takedown" is a deathmatch-style game, with teams competing to score points by taking out their opponents. "Endzone" involves a virtual football, which teams battle to control and bring through the opposition’s goal for points. Finally there is, "Power Slam," in which players are trying to get into Overdrive mode by taking out opponents or collecting power-ups from the field, and then get to a ring in the center of the arena to score points. The enclosed arenas have huge ramps, hidden tunnels, and high platforms that allow for strategic attacks and different ways for teams to control the match. The team that uses the arena to their advantage best will come out on top.
Gameplay is fast, easy to understand, and awesome from start to finish. The main modes can be played online with friends, or offline with a computer controlled team to earn in-game currency. Sponsorship deals with fictional companies act as an achievement system to earn greater rewards. You can have one Sponsor for online play and one for the offline season. Sponsors award you different levels of rewards based on what challenges you complete. One sponsor may only want you to acquire 3 takedowns in a match, while more lucrative sponsors will ask for much more. What may seem like an impossible feat will become a goal if the money is good, because more money means better mechs and weapons. Throughout my play time, the motivation to complete these sponsor tasks never dwindled. It's just one more reason to keep playing!
Graphically, the game is just a joy to behold. Since this is a VR game, you can bet that every little detail is rendered beautifully. You need to feel like you are in this world while playing, and RIGS nails this feeling perfectly. Even something simple like standing in a room and listening to your coach as he explains things is awesome to do. I actually caught myself nodding in agreement sometimes feeling like I was in an actual conversation with a person. This game blurs the line between virtual and actual reality. Some individuals may experience motion sickness when the action gets too intense, so by default, the game limits the field of view at times. It's subtle and will go mostly unnoticed by most players. When you get fragged in a match, you are automatically ejected from the mech and sent to another spawn point. By default this action is blacked out by the visor, but you can turn it on to experience the ejection and the move to the spawn point in real time. Trust me when I say this… TURN THIS ON. It's glorious to experience!
I have not used the PlayStation VR for very long, but I can tell you that RIGS: MCL is the very best VR experience that this system has to offer. The level of intense action, overall comfort while playing and the feeling of complete control round out a stellar VR package. As of this writing, online play is a little sparse, but as more people pick up their PSVR systems, I have no doubt that more players will be online, since this is the game that will sell headsets! There are many good games on VR platforms right now, but the overall polish and fun-factor found here makes RIGS the top of the line. Highly addictive, and most definitely recommended! If you have a PlayStation VR and don't have this game already, you are doing it wrong. Buy it today!