Espire 1: VR Operative – The Review

December 14, 2019 ·

When you think of stealth in movies and games, you think of being as quiet as possible and not being detected all while trying to carry out your objective. Sometimes the plan goes without problems while other times, depending on the situation can have many problems that can leave us scratching our head and ponder why. It sounds simple and sometimes we may think of how we would try and do it better. But does Developer Digital Lode bring the action and allow us to live out our stealth dreams? Let’s find out with Espire 1: VR Operative for the PlayStation VR.

In Espire 1: VR Operative has you becoming an Espire agent as you try and complete objective-based missions utilizing an arsenal of weaponry and gadgets. Being the secret agent that you are, you are asked to come in due to a secret facility coming under attack and seizing so said facility. It’s up to you (the only option) to get in there, get rid of the threat, and make sure your people are safe. But you are not going to do this dangerous mission as you per se, but as wearing an Espire unit. Basically, you become like Robocop, but with much cooler abilities. So make sure you have your Move controllers ready to go.

Of course, when you first start you are given hints along the way of using your abilities such as you are really able to climb almost any surface which I really do like and play a part in the stealth action. You move by holding down the Move buttons on the Move controllers and then using the X and O buttons to turn on the right Move controller. It’s when you get to a part after the beginning where you learn how to holster your weapons and if you drop the weapons next to your body, they will stay there, for the most part. But it’s this same spot that I thought going forward would be better. Now, hear me out. You have the option at the very beginning to pick your dominant hand as well if you are going to be seated or standing. So the part I am referring to is when you get to calibrate your belt around you as well as where the items will appear on your chest. This did not work so well all the time and I will discuss this more in a minute.

As I continued on and able to climb things which worked pretty well and being able to be above the enemies, I didn’t move as I wanted to be able to drop down and sneak in the attack, but I was a little surprised by me not moving and standing still, I was still detected more often than not. But just as easily as I was spotted, I took out the bad guy and eventually I could hear that the warning was called off, which was a little odd even though I could hear enemies near me.

As I continued on with the mission, I was able to raise and move vent doors and had to crouch to get through. This seemed to work better of not being detected from enemies for the time being. But as I moved through the vents and out the other side, it’s when you see an enemy that you have to make a decision of how you are going to take them out. No, there is not any choice that you see, but this is your own choice of how you would handle the situation. Do you go in all stealth-like and take them out, or do you go right behind them and say freeze? Yes, you read that right. Another element that I do like is how you can use voice commands when they work. There are some factors to get this to work, voice level and background noise can help or hinder this situation. Too much background and the game can’t hear you or by not talking loud enough or if you talk too loud, it can cause the voice actions to not work. As I mentioned, when it worked, it worked. But for me it didn’t work all the time and I had no background noise and I talked at a normal level, but when it does work, it is a nice option to have. When you take damage, your Espire suit will need to be repaired. This is where your Repair Tool comes in handy. Holding out your Repair Tool will also show these orbs that the tool can repair so your health increases. But this tool can also be used to unlock new Espire suits that you may come across and also is good if you are not sure where to go next, you can pick it up and drop it and it will show the path you need to take.

Once I completed the mission, I was ready to go for the next, but I am not sure what happened as I was still in the same position as I previously was for just the most recent mission when the start of the next had my belt where my eyes would be. No matter what I did from trying to recenter to standing nothing worked, except going to the main menu to select restart and got to the same point only for it to happen again. I even uninstalled and reinstalled and made sure that I had the latest update and even tried a new slot and the same thing happened again.

Some of the missions will not let you enter them unless you complete a set of challenges and these can range from stealth to combat attacks. One mission might have you navigate to the goal plate before the timer expires and will fail if you are detected for example. I like these challenges as it really does get you to become better in your stealth game.

Let’s talk about graphics for a moment. The graphics are ok as some of the enemy’s animation kind of funny. When you shoot an enemy with a tranquilizer, for example, their bodies just collapse in this way like their souls have left their bodies it did make me laugh a little. I know there was a recent patch that was supposed to make the graphics a little sharper, but some of them still look a little outdated. Which brings me to the next thing that I am not sure what it is, but the blinders. The blinders are huge and no matter what you do, they are there. So you only have this small opening that is not actually covered. I heard that there is supposed to be a patch that can remove them or at least reduce them, but nothing as of yet.

I do hope some things get updated. For one, the blinders. I know they are there to help with comfort, but there should be an option to turn it off or reduce them. Second, the movement. The way that you move feels off for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the blinders that my focal point feels somewhat off or the way that you move. I would love to be able to move just by turning my head and go in that direction. But after a while, you do get used to it. Thirdly, is I would love the ability to collaborate at any time from within the menu. Having my belt right in my eyes when just a few minutes ago, it was where it should have been, really should be addressed. And lastly, I would love to see some incorporation of leaderboards when it comes to the challenges. This way you can see who the best is at completing a challenge. I know the Developer has already released updates and if they can continue with that, then Espire 1: VR Operative is something that will continue to get better could be something very special and not feel as rushed for PlayStation VR.

Espire 1: VR Operative is out now for PlayStation VR and is also available on the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rifts/S on the Oculus Store, Steam, and Viveport. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Espire 1: VR Operative, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Digital Lode, please visit their site and like them on Facebook.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to keep trying to complete the missions as best as I can.

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