Telefrag VR is a solid attempt at bringing the arena shooter genre to VR, but a lack of community may cut this game's life short.
Many of the mainstream first-person shooter mechanics found in the genre today can be accredited to the likes of Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament in the late 90s. Now, as virtual reality becomes a mainstay in the gaming industry, Anshar Studios has decided to take a crack at the genre with its title Telefrag VR. While Telefrag VR is a solid attempt at replicating the genre in VR, its biggest detriment is VR itself.
The most glaring issue is VR's relatively low active install base. While PlayStation is leading the VR industry at this time, there are not nearly enough concurrent players even with cross-play to Oculus and Vive users to truly develop a robust community within Telefrag VR. Right off the bat, it was difficult to find a game with another player even two months after launch. It took around 20 minutes for one player to show up, and then they quickly left before the first match was even over. With Telefrag VR being a one-on-one arena shooter that's relatively new and available on all major VR platforms, it's quite surprising that barely anyone is actively online. It's quite a shame too considering the actual shooting mechanics are fairly solid, even with PSVR's messy setup.
Despite the lack of an online community, the game does place players in an online lobby with a bot while searching for opponents. The bot AI is acceptable and can be adjusted based on individual preference. The one-on-one matches are initially pretty fun, but they get quite old after a couple of matches. Telefrag VR could've benefited from some additional modes or even a two-on-two option at launch. With the game's already dwindling community, it'd be a surprise if that's ever something that's implemented.
Telefrag VR drops gun pickups during a sessions but this doesn't add much considering the small scale and fast nature of matches. Armor and HP are littered throughout each arena and can strategically be picked up after taking down an opponent. The moment to moment gameplay is quick and satisfying. Players are also equipped with a teleporter that can be used to jump back and forth between various platforms. Maps also have portals that can be used to escape intense firefights or travel between locations. The action is kinetic and intense, and the only time Telefrag VR ever comes to an abrupt halt is when one of the two players dies.
Players are given a handful of unique weapons that can be equipped before spawning back in. Each of the weapons feel unique and players can equip two of them at once, adding some nice variety to the game even if the guns are generic. Nevertheless, it's easy to pick up and learn the weapons quickly, and the aforementioned teleporter mechanic changes based on what weapons the player is using. Adding another layer to this, a one-hit kill can occur if a player teleports into their opponent, an exciting but rare occurrence.
The game controls better than what might be generally expected from the PSVR. Aiming weapons is easy and teleporting across the map can be done with a simple button press. Telefrag VR supports both PS Move controllers as well as the DualShock 4, and both control well for this experience.
Telefrag VR includes a nice variety of maps and on each the teleporting mechanics - mixed with portals - give players a lot of options, the most tactical gaining a competitive edge if they become accustomed to the layout of each area. There's a surprising amount of verticality to each map that adds a layer of depth as well. Action can get a blurry in the PSVR, and that's not necessarily on the developers as much as it's on the weaker and dated specs of PlayStation's VR headset. When things are moving at a rapid pace though, it's hard to get too caught up on the blurry visuals. There are also a handful of glitches that see character models spawning sideways.
Telefrag VR has a lot of cool ideas but is ultimately hampered by a lack of players. There are only a few specific multiplayer titles that have picked up steam in the VR gaming space, and it's quite a shame to see that Telefrag VR isn't capturing the community it needs to prolong its life similar to how the amazing Sparc had far too limited a player base as well on PlayStation 4.
Telefrag VR is available now on PC and PlayStation 4 for $24.99. A PS4 code was provided to Screen Rant for purposes of review.