If you felt trapped, would you do whatever you could to escape even if your life depended on it? Would you try without hesitation or would you try to find different alternatives? Fear of the unknown can allow making those split decisions we may not typically have made and can somehow test how far we are willing to go without giving it a second thought. But does developer Truant Pixel show us what it’s like to go rogue at fast speeds? Let’s find out with RUNNER for the PlayStation VR2.
RUNNER is an action arcade shooter that features visceral first-person arcade driving combat that embraces the unique style of late 1980’s prestige anime that features high-speed combat, intense encounters, and an incredible throwback soundtrack. So before you go taking to the road thinking you can outmaneuver and outsmart anything and everything, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, grab your favorite place to sit. Second, clear your mind. It will be challenging out there, so you don’t want to have any distractions. Third, make sure you actually charged those Sense controllers as you don’t want to encounter that boss and get ready for that final shot only to have the controllers die because you forgot to charge them. And finally, get ready to have some fun. With all that said…let’s continue…
Immediately when I started the game and saw the name I instantly received Sega CD vibes. I don’t know if it was the simple tone that was being used or the look, but it really put a smile on my face and I haven’t even gotten to the menu yet. Once in the hub, you will want to take a look around. Behind you, you will see some names that are wanted for questioning. This is a nice touch for the leaderboards. But you also get to see under the bulletin, what has been updated with the latest version of the game, which is also a nice touch. But when you get into Options, there are a few things to check out. From your Main Camera Height to the Music Volume. It’s all here for you to adjust to what’s best for you. Of course, you could try the Free Play Mode, but keep in mind, trophies and Leaderboards will not be available but might be a good test to get used to things before trying to get your name on top of the boards for when you do play.
Before every mission, you will have Intel on what is going on for the story as well as other important parts of information to learn about such as Shield Energy Tanks. And I do love the Anime that is presented here You play the role of Mina as you are trying to find a way out of the city known as Presidium and the only way to escape is on the Thoroughfare. Since you will be on your bike trying to blast enemies and dodge their fire, you do have some tricks as your bike can fire back and you do have two guns that you can use as well. But you will want to pay attention through the tutorial as it will help with the controls when it comes to some of the later missions.
RUNNER features a unique control scheme that allows players to run and shoot using only their hands. You can also use your hands to interact with the environment, such as picking up weapons and dodging obstacles. Usually, when you are having to control a vehicle, you steer with your left and the action happens with the right. But here, if you use your gun in your left hand, you can still control your bike with the right t and vice versa. You don’t just have to use your guns, you also have grenades that you can throw and swords that can be used.
As you are moving, there will be powerups that you will want to collect that will change what type of firepower you will have such as missiles and lasers. You will also want to pay attention to your bike’s display as you you have your energy and shield levels to look out for. Shooting enemies will sometimes release shield boosters that will increase your shield levels and energy can be found by going past and under vehicles as well as being able to enter different R.U.S.H. Zone sections of the Thoroughfare. And the game allows you to go at top speeds without making you feel ill, which again, is a very good thing.
After each level, you get to see how well you did with your rank and score. You also have the ability to customize your bike with different colors to really make it your own through the Camo Kit. But no matter what bike you may have or what it looks like, RUNNER is a very challenging game, so don’t get frustrated by trying and nothing is working, just keep working at it and you just might be surprised.
And if you want some extra fun in the game, while playing, hit pause and then change the camera mode. You have the Social Screen View that is the default VR view point. But you have two additional modes. Chase and Replay-Style. Chase is going to be used if you have ea friend that uses a Dualsense controller and steers the bike. The security cam, is the more traditional replay-style view.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Playing RUNNER with the Anime style, colorful explosions, and Neon-drenched city, everything is clear and beautiful thanks to the PlayStation VR2 display and the unique anime-inspired art style. The game’s environments are richly detailed and the character models are expressive and well-animated which really helped the story that kept me engaged in it all. The sound design has a soundtrack that is enjoyable especially when you hear everything through the Pulse 3D Audio headset that helps the game sound effects sound realistic and helps to create a truly immersive experience.
There are a few things that I would love to see. For one, multiplayer. I know this may not help with the story aspect, but being able to race others in this anime art style, would be awesome. Second, more levels. I really did enjoy my time with the game and will keep coming back for not only the style but the leaderboards. And finally, more of the RUNNER universe. I can see where new characters and stories could be born from this world and I do hope that comes true in the future.
RUNNER doesn’t hold anything back and is not going to hold your hand. It gives you the instruction manual to live, but it’s up to you to survive. Sometimes we are faced with challenges in life that after a while, we may give up. But it’s those times when we don’t give up and keep trying that really show us that we can get through anything in life with a little determination.
RUNNER is out now for Quest 2/Pro, PlayStation VR2, and coming soon to Steam VR. A review code was provided.
To learn more about Truant Pixel, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Also, check out the RUNNER video review:
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some leaderboards to climb.