If the city that you lived in was full of crime what would you do? Would you stand by and try to move on with your day or wait and let your city become more infested by the unruly acts? Violence is never a good thing to try to take into your own hands alone nor is it the answer. But does developer Joy Way show us what happens when we have the ability to become the hero and to take back our streets? Let’s find out with AGAINST for PCVR?
AGAINST is a combat rhythm game where you will slice and dice your way through evil henchmen as you dodge obstacles, run up walls, and embrace the empowering music is your only way out from the crime-ridden streets. So before you try and clean up the streets, there are a few things that you will want to be aware of. First, make sure you have some room. You will be moving your arms as you slice and dice the enemies, you just want to make sure that no friends, family members (pets included), or any walls (amongst other things) get in your way. Second, make sure your controllers are charged as you don’t want it game over because you forgot to check. And finally, just enjoy your time in this world. With that said, let’s continue…
When you first step into the world of AGAINST, the first thing you might notice will be the setting of the streets that are filled with dust and chaos. And then when you throw in the heavy beats of the music, you have a feeling that some action will be coming your way. The first thing you will want to do is configure the height calibration. It is suggested that you play standing to get the most out of everything, but you can play seated and it also works quite well. So play what’s best for your situation. Once you have the calibration, it’s time to start the tutorial. And really, the tutorial could not be any more straightforward. If you see any arrows, return to the center of your play area. Dodge anything that is thrown at you, slice any enemies in the direction that is shown, shoot at the targets, and move both hands up to jump when the time comes as well as move your arm in the direction when the arrow comes to help run along the walls. Other than that, try and get the highest score possible, but remember, move along with the rhythm of the music as it will help you become the best that you can be in the game.
But it’s at the start of each level, that you realize that you are starring in your own comic book. The game makes you look to the side and the story starts to unveil itself. You are playing as a detective trying to figure out what the mastermind of one Dr. Vice is up to. And before you even have a second to really ask a question, you are put into the action of it all. Weapons that you will use are a sword for slicing, a revolver for shooting, and brass knuckles for punching. And these weapons can change when you least suspect them to do so, which helps mix up things which I quite enjoyed. But I will say there is nothing like shooting at enemies as you run along a wall or from an awesome jump that you just made.
There are a variety of enemies to keep your interest from henchmen that come at you with different weapons to the obstacles that you will need to try and dodge to even the boss battles that you will try and beat. Be careful when taking too much damage or it will be game over before you know it. Luckily, the way to replenish your health is not by collecting objects, but by defeating enemies. But it’s always fun beating a boss and being able to unlock the next level so you can see more of the comic book style that gets you ready for your next mission.
At the end of each level are leaderboards where you can try to climb. So don’t get discouraged if you are not at the top of them. Just keep practicing and you will see things start to turn around. When you play, you might be thinking that there may not be that many maps. And while it’s true, that there are only seven maps, don’t let that discourage you. Because what Joy Way has done is given the ability to create your own custom maps with the AGAINST Beatmap Editor where you can create your own maps. It’s all there, place the enemies, weapons, and obstacles where you want them to be and even use your own music.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. When it comes to the graphics, I really love it when I am put into an environment that brings out the colors that can match the environment and help bring the story to life. And that’s what Joy Way has done here. Not only is the comic book style refreshing, but seeing the lights from the buildings like people are living there while all this crime is going on around them and have the lights glow just right to even seeing the red blood flow over to the buildings is a nice touch. The music is also very pounding which may not be for everyone’s liking, but it got me in the mood for it all. Being able to hear as you slice, punch, or even deflect bullets while also hearing the music at the right times just somehow added to the fun as well as showed how hard the developer worked to get it to all sound just right.
There are a few things that I hope get addressed and updated. First, was the drift. And what I mean by this is, there was a point in the game early on when my hand was stuck in the air and no matter what I did, it stayed there. I had to restart the game and I was good to go from there. It only happened once or twice. Second, even though I did the height calibration, it was in the second map where it looked like my hands were the size of a baby. I laughed and by the next map, it corrected itself. And finally, I would love the ability to switch between weapons on the fly and depending on the enemy and the action, get more points because you used a punch instead of slicing for example.
AGAINST allows us to break free of our normal life activities and just have some fun in Virtual Reality. It brings enjoyable visuals that are easy on the eyes while bringing the action, rhythm, and music while also bringing the replayability with custom maps and music and allowing others to play them as well. Sometimes we are given a path that we have to follow in life, but sometimes it’s how we innovate that walk of that path that can make the journey as much fun as the destination.
AGAINST is out now on Steam VR. A Review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have custom levels to play and create.