Imagine going to a planet where uncertainty is the only thing guaranteed to be certain. How would you prepare for it? Would you train for all possible possibilities, or would you take what you already know and embrace it to the fullest? Or maybe, you would try and wing it and hope for the best. When I think about it, I believe most would try to prepare as much as possible. But being a planet, hopefully, we each would have a skill that we could teach each other and adapt to the best of our abilities would allow us to. But does developer, Joy Way, allow us to let out our aggression while we try to survive? Let’s find out with Dead Hook for the Quest 2.
Dead Hook is an explosive mix of the rogue-like and shooter genres but with brutal combat and captivating storytelling. Explore the elder planet Resaract, and choose your own playstyle against a variety of enemies and bosses as you try and save your loved one. Before you go out and try to explore this planet, there are a few things that you should know. First, make sure you have some arm space. You just never want to hit anything or anyone. Second, make sure your headset and Touch controllers are charged. You don’t want to be in a battle against enemies only to die because you forgot to charge them, do you? Third, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone. The story and its characters are an important part of the experience, so I am only going to show from the early parts of the game. And finally, have some fun. With that said, let’s continue…
In Dead Hook, you play the role of one Adam Stone who just happens to be a mercenary, smuggler, thief, and devoted husband who, from an outsider’s perspective, has not made the best choices, but had to do the things he did for a reason. As you start the game, you start to learn some things, while other things may not be as clear. In fact, at times, when you start to get a question answered, other questions may start to form. Grace will be communicating with you for the majority when you are not in the middle of some heated action. When Grace first starts communicating, she has the assistance of the AI, called Raven. Due to a malfunction during the trip, parts of your body, such as your vocal cords, became damaged. This should hopefully all clear up during the re-hibernation process.
This starts the training process of learning how to use your EXO suit with such important things as moving, shooting, and using your hooks. You know, pretty much what you would when visiting a planet with hostile enemies that want nothing more than to kill you. Using the hooks is pretty simple. Raise your arms and activate the hooks by holding either A or X buttons and when they attach to a surface, pull your arms towards you. It’s a little awkward at first, but you will honestly have it down in no time and be swinging around like a pro.
Along with your hooks, you can access a variety of weapons that you can use in battle. Push the Grip button (L1/R1) and then hold the Trigger button down for 3 seconds to activate the weapons. To reload the weapons, grab the weapon’s scope and pull the scope towards you. And if you have a weapon in each hand, then you can use the other weapon to move the scope toward you. This really does come in handy when you run out of ammo and does add a bit of a challenge during those battles. The weapons can also be hosted on your shoulders. Speaking of weapons, you also have the ability to do a sword strike with laser blades, however, you have to make sure you have enough charges to perform this. In order to have enough charge, you are going to need to take out those enemies. But using the laser blades is pretty awesome. You will have different tasks that you will need to complete within the path that you take. Each room that you enter will consist of different challenges that need to be completed This could be simply taking out all the enemies to even taking out the enemies in a certain time in Time Trials.
Each run will become a little more challenging and if you die, well, that’s ok. Because you can come back and try again. If you die, it could be because you need to have a little more firepower and this is where you get to upgrade your weapons. However, the way you go about it may have you feeling like you are doing some Chemistry as you will have to choose your upgrade, pour the ingredients so they can be put into a glass, and then mix it. Once you have crafted your upgrades and are satisfied, it’s time to try again.
The room where you teleport down to the planet will be the same each time and each time without weapons. You will also notice two doors that give a brief description of what is needed. You will notice that the enemies with numbers over their heads. You want to try and kill these in order. That’s where it adds to the challenge of trying to survive and all the action that is going on at the same time.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. When I first started playing Dead Hook, it made me think of Joy Way’s other game, Outlier. It’s a game that came out, where it had a similar premise. Unfortunately, the game was canceled and now, Jow Way has graced us with the Dead Hook presence that gives a good graphical presentation. Seeing the way the hooks shoot out and how you can use those as a weapon as the enemy explodes looks good close-up as well as the individual weapons and enemies. Some may look at some of the graphics and start to question, but it’s when you get into the action of it all that you start to understand and start to get into it all. But then it makes me start to think how things would look if Dead Hook was on a different platform such as PlayStation VR2. With the sound, you have the soundtrack that is this heavy metal with the guitars and drums that is like the IV bag that keeps pumping with the action as things start to get intense. When the action is taking a break, you then have this Sci-fi type soundtrack along with the narration of the story and the understanding of it all. When you add in all the sounds, music, and narration well as the enemies, you are in for a good time.
There are some things that I would love to see. For one, more variations within the game. For some, there is this repetitiveness feel to the game. Yes, you do get a variety of enemies and weapons, along with the story, but there is this repeated feeling within the game. Maybe add a third or fourth door with different challenges just add to what is provided. Second, upgrading improvement. I know that there is crafting in games, but in Dead Hook, it seems like extra steps with the grinding when I want to get back into the action because I was having fun. And finally, online multiplayer. Dead Hook screams for action, but how much fun would it be if you could do online Co-Op or even battle each other using hooks and sending players to the lava pits of death?
Dead Hook brings the unexpected action that we didn’t know we needed and throws it right in our faces. Sure, there are parts that could use some fine-tuning, but for the majority, everything is as to be expected as I hoped it would be. Speaking of fine-tuning, the developer has already added two updates since launch and that shows that they do listen to the players and that is a very important thing. Sometimes we have to hit those speed bumps in life in order to make us appreciate what we do and who we have in our lives. But isn’t it worth it to hit those bumps in the road if that means we become better because of it?
Dead Hook is out now for the Quest 2/Pro on the Oculus Store. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some crazy action to get into.