When you think of multiplayer shooters, what comes to mind? A particular name, a map design, or maybe it’s the way weapons reacted that holds a place in your memory. But when it comes to multiplayer games and everything it incorporates into their world, the design can either break or make the experience with players coming back for more. So does developer Vankrupt Games give the game to keep us coming back for more? Let’s find out with Pavlov for PlayStation VR2.
Pavlov is a multiplayer VR shooter with realistic weapon handling. Play a variety of game modes with over 65 interactable weapons and attachments in various environments. So before heading into battle, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, find your best play area. You will need some room and you don’t want to duck and hit your head or lean into a wall, or worse, a civilian of your house. Normally, I would say find your best place to sit, but we will get into this a bit. Second, make sure those Sense controllers are fully charged. This is a battle, and you don’t want to be in that One in the Chamber mode and die from that one bullet because you forgot to charge them. Third, keep practicing… lots of practice. And finally, have fun. With all that said, let’s continue…
You may have heard the name Pavlov before and that’s because it originally came out on PCVR in 2017. And since then, the game has had and continues with a lot of updates to make it the best experience possible. This is a good thing as now, PlayStation VR2 can experience all the hype, and for good reason, surrounding it. As someone who has been wanting to try the game for myself, I was excited to start the game and I can say that playing on PlayStation VR2, from a visual standpoint, really looks great even if I was just looking at the main hub. Just looking at the different options with the black and red that really stood out, not only for the colors but for the anticipation of what would be my future with all the blood that was about to come out of me. But just seeing the blizzard-like snow with the clouds and the destruction of the buildings just really made me stop and admire everything.
I get it, enough with the weather, and move on to the game. From the start, you have a selection of options. You can play on or offline, go through training, play with your friends, settings, and even view the credits if you wish. The first thing in the settings is how you would like things to be with the Setup Behavior. Do you want Crossplay Multiplayer enabled? What about Gore? For those new to VR, you may want to elect the Movement Vignette. In the Player Menu, you can elect to have free spectating on so you can fly while spectating and other options such as Overlay Effects that will show on the screen. But don’t forget to have that Haptic Intensity level up as it adds to the immersion. Under Input, make sure you select your dominant hand and how smoothly you want to turn if you want to auto-sprint. I would suggest turning on Toggle Grip and Inventory Lock if it is not set already. For the Audio settings, everything should be checked and the volume levels should be at 80%. This is a good level to start, but you may find that you need to adjust it based on the headset you are using.
Now, you could go in and jump in a game, but I will say as always, go through the training so you can learn the basics. Even if you need to go through it twice, there is nothing wrong with that. With the training, you do have different options such as the Shooting Range, Shooting Range WW2, and Killhouse. Each one does a good job and helping you prepare for the battles you are about to be in. In the tutorial, I noticed something which I am not sure why it’s not in the game, but there is no crouching. This means that you will need to be standing to really play. I decided to play sitting and there parts through the training that I even had to get up in order to progress.
As you can see, even I had some difficulty when playing sitting down with grabbing ammo. One thing about Pavlov is the weapons. With the number of weapons that there are, they are going to load and fire differently. So it will take some time to get used to them. I am not saying this is a bad thing, but it will take some time. And part of that time is finding out what weapon is best for you. But when you do find that right weapon and can feel it fire with the Adaptive triggers and the haptics, you start really feeling the immersion. Then of course you have other weapons like grenades where you have to pull the pin out to then throw or you can try and cook the grenades if you are feeling lucky.
After the training, you might want to hit the shooting range just to try and feel more comfortable with the weapons and how each one can load and reload. I think my favorite part of the training was Killhouse as you can run around and shoot the targets that pop up. Yes, it can feel glorious going through this house and make you feel like you are the best in the world, however, keep in mind that the reason for this is simply that I am not being shot at, but still.
Once you believe that you have done all you can through training, it’s time to show the world what you have learned or missed depending on the player, and do what Pavlov is meant to do, add the social aspect with Multiplayer. You have a very generous selection of Game Modes to select from. There are familiar modes such as Death Match, Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and even Zombies. But Pavlov wanted to do more, so they are giving more. Modes like Hades where players will fight through a series of increasingly difficult challenges, Prop Hunt where a team is disguised as props in the map, and the other team tries to find them which is quite funny when you start to play it, the Trouble in Terrorist Town or TTT where one player is the traitor who is trying to kill the other players without being caught, and even the Predator mode where one player is the Predator and is hunting down the other players. So you do really have a wide range of choices here which adds replayability and fun as you never know who you may be communicating with thanks to the proximity chat, along with the radio to use with your team no matter where they may be or playing with as the game opens itself up and invites all to play.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. With all the action going around, I still had to look at the different environments on the maps. Playing in the dark on certain maps with just the right amount of light where it counts made me appreciate the hard work that went in when bringing that game which has been on PCVR since 2017 to the now PlayStation VR2 and its features. I did feel immersed when playing and that is important when you add in the variety of weapons and the precise controls, it does add to the immersion. The sound would be as you expect with hearing the different weapons, the clear communication of the players, and just the overall soundscape of the 3D audio thanks in part to the Pulse 3D Audio headset.
There are just two things I would love to see added. The first would be mods. More content the better. Second, would be a crouching and sitting setting. Pavlov is best played when standing, but when the PlayStation VR2 asks every time you start it if you are playing sitting or standing, why not make that a requirement for each game? There are players out there with disabilities that may not be able to stand for long periods of time and limiting those that can’t play standing is not a good thing. This should be something that could easily be added or better yet, should have been added from the start.
Pavlov does provide the fun, the replayability, and the desire to come back for more. It allows us to hang out while playing together in battle with a common goal. In life, we are all supposed to be on the same playing field, but may not have the same abilities. VR is about making everyone being able to be on that same level and abilities when in real life we may be at a disadvantage. When we see someone either in life or in a virtual one, it’s more important than ever to be kind because you never know when that kindness may help someone forget about their own pain on that battlefield of life.
Pavlov is out now for PlayStation VR2 and is also available on Steam VR. A review code was provided.
To learn more about Vankrupt Games, please visit their site, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Also, check out the Pavlov video review:
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have a battle to fight in.