Just under four years on from launch, PSVR-exclusive Firewall Zero Hour has launched its final season.
The tenth season is fittingly named Operation: X and developer First Contact Entertainment says it isn’t planning any additional seasons past this one. The game will, of course, remain in operation past the end of this season.
Included in Operation: X is the return of legendary weapons alongside 24 missions that allow you to unlock new cosmetics. You’ll need an Ops Pass to access the new content.
This isn’t a massive season by most accounts, then. But First Contact is currently busy working on a brand new game for PSVR 2. No word on what exactly that will be just yet but we’d certainly welcome an official sequel to Firewall. You can keep track of every announced and rumored PSVR 2 game right here.
Firewall first launched in 2018 and quickly grew in popularity on PSVR thanks to its tactical battles that were best experienced with the rifle-shaped Aim controller. It essentially ended up feeling like VR’s answer to Rainbow Six. We gave the game 9/10 back when we did review scores, saying it offered the definitive multiplayer shooter experience on PSVR.
Are you going to be jumping into Firewall’s final season? Let us know in the comments below.
Firewall: Zero Hour and Solaris: Offworld Combat developer First Contact Entertainment is developing a “next-generation project” for VR.
As spotted by Zuby_Tech on Twitter, the developer currently has several positions listed on its website, many of which point to a new VR project. Most telling is a listing for a Lead Engineer says the studio is seeking someone to “help us create the next generation of high-end VR games”.
Firewall Dev Working On ‘Next Gen’ VR Game
Other listings make mention of a “AAA VR” project and work on “next generation consoles”.
It’s speculation on our part, but those listings could suggest First Contact could be working on a project that’s compatible with PS5 and/or its upcoming VR headset. Sony is yet to reveal much about the device but we are expecting it to launch in 2022 and we know that the company is already reaching out to developers about it. You can catch up with everything we know about PS5 VR right here.
Plus, it would make sense to see First Contact return to PlayStation after the success of Firewall, which is regarded as one of PSVR’s best multiplayer VR shooters. The game has received continued support since its launch all the way back in 2018 and the studio eventually brought its follow-up title, Solaris, to PSVR too. We’ll have our fingers crossed a potential sequel to either could be on the way.
In other PS5 VR rumors, Sony itself recently acquired The Persistence developer, Firesprite. Yet more job listings confirm the studio is working on a big VR project tied to a popular console IP from the past 10 years.
Solaris released on Quest and PC VR late last year, and the PSVR release was meant to arrive around the same time. However, delays saw it pushed into 2021 and then into May, with a separate physical release planned for June. From today, the game is finally out for PSVR players on PS4 and PS5. The big bonus is that the game will be discounted for the next two weeks for anyone that is subscribed to PlayStation Plus, available at 50% off. No doubt this is a shot and getting lots of players into the game at launch.
Given Solaris is an online-based competitive VR shooter, a PS Plus subscription is pretty much a requirement to play the game. Because of that, most people who are interested probably already have a subscription and will benefit from the discount automatically. That being said, if you’re not a PS Plus member and you’re definitely going to pick up Solaris, subscribing to PS Plus before purchasing the game will probably save you some money.
As you would hope from a shooter on the PSVR platform, Solaris also supports using the Aim controller for those that own it, otherwise the DualShock 4 is also an option.
Alvo is a brand new competitive VR first-person shooter on PSVR that can be played with a PS Aim Controller, two PS Move controllers, or the DualShock 4. Check out our full Alvo review for more!
When it comes to multiplayer military shooters on PSVR, there isn’t exactly a wealth of choices. Alvo aims to fill the gap left in the absence of titles like Onward and Pavlov — the latter of which is confirmed to be a PSVR 2 title — by delivering the fast-paced multiplayer shooter that PSVR gamers have been waiting for.
Alvo PSVR Review – The Facts
What is it?: An online competitive shooter for up to 10-players Platforms: PSVR, Quest and PC VR coming next Release Date: Out Now Price: $39.99
Alvo isn’t going to blow your mind with an original theme or unique mechanics. It’s more of an “anything you can do, I can do better” sort of affair — eventually, anyway. There’s no getting around the fact that Alvo isn’t quite finished yet. The build numbers don’t even hide it: it’s version 0.2.027 as of the PlayStation Store release. But what Alvo lacks in content it makes up for in good foundations. This game has excellent bones, even if there isn’t very much to do.
Right now, Alvo gives players the choice between four original maps, with the fifth choice being a night variant of the Monastery map. Each map can be played via three different modes: 10-player Free For All (deathmatch), 5v5 Team Deathmatch, and 5v5 Search and Destroy (team and objective-based). Three additional choices will be available in the near future once development has finished: Zombies, Domination, and private match.
Each map is multi-tiered and offers plenty of places to hide or take cover behind, although only one of them is close to the size you’ll find in similar titles like Contractors or Onward — neither of which are available on PSVR, anyway. The largest map, simply called “IndustrialMap”, is a much more tactical experience compared to the others, which are often quite small and can feel a bit crowded in a full Free For All game. The biggest negatives here are the quantity and variety of maps, not the quality.
On the surface, Alvo — a Portuguese word meaning target — seems to take aim at one of the biggest classics in the PSVR library: Firewall Zero Hour. While similar in theme, Alvo eschews the slower, tactical nature of Firewall and, in its place, delivers a formula that’s more akin to Pavlov or Counter-Strike in pacing. Getting shot is quite unforgiving and you’ll find that you die within fractions of a second if an enemy spots you first. Loading times, likewise, are blazing fast, and the multiplayer matches I joined all took mere seconds to go from sitting in a lobby to shooting enemies.
It’s a refreshing pace when compared to Firewall’s wait times, which can be a buzzkill to the excitement that you might otherwise have for the next round. Like Counter-Strike, players will vote on the next map at the end of each round and scoreboards will show who did the best. Unlike Counter-Strike, however, players will earn Alvo Coins based on how well they played. Skilled players will find themselves unlocking an arsenal of weaponry in no time, while other players will need to put in more practice time before they can get a shiny new gun or add-on.
Sensible Upgrade System
While some games in this genre give players access to everything up-front, Alvo gives everyone the same starting weapon collection and rewards players who put time into the game with additional firepower. Players start off with an AK-47-like gun (called an Annihilator) and a pistol, and can also choose between three grenade types, as well as a pick of 13 character models. Six additional primary weapons and one additional secondary weapon must all be unlocked with the aforementioned in-game currency, Alvo Coins.
In addition to the standard weapons, players can earn two types of attachments — a laser and a bayonet — as well as a rather impressive set of seven different types of scopes, and a slew of different skins for each weapon. Since Alvo Coins are earned and cannot purchased with real cash, only the most dedicated players will be running around shanking you with bayonets or shooting you with shotguns.
It only took me a few rounds before I was able to buy a scope (for reference, there are no scopes at all in Firewall Zero Hour), helping long-range shooting substantially. A few rounds more and I had my second primary weapon, which helped me play more to my personal style. That’s the kind of upgrade path I can get behind, as it persuades players to spend time in the game rather than coercing them to spend more money.
A perks category is also listed as “coming soon”, but no additional information on those items is available just yet. As you upgrade your arsenal, you’ll be able to customize four individual load-outs for quick selection in future matches.
Alvo on PSVR Review — Comfort
Alvo fits squarely into the “intense” category for comfort. This is a game where you’ll be using the joystick to virtually look and move, just as you would on a standard first-person shooter on your TV. Because of the PSVR’s limited range of physical movement tracking, you’ll be using the right stick to turn your character — either by tapping to move in incremental degrees or holding to smooth turn. Jumping and sliding could add additional discomfort for some players as well. There are some vignetting options enabled by default to dim the edges of your view and help with motion sickness, but players who suffer from these effects will likely prefer taking a seat instead of standing while playing. Options for using the DualShock 4, Move controllers, or Aim controller also help provide a range of custom options to aid in suppressing motion sickness.
Fast-Paced Gameplay and Tight Gunplay
As was said before, Alvo relies on speed and intensity to overcome its fairly barebones experience. This will hopefully evolve over time as the developers add more content but, for now, players who love fast-paced shooter experiences and want to play something like Counter-Strike in VR will feel right at home here. You don’t have the slower, more realistic type of physics that you’ll find in something like The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners or complex reloading mechanics like in Onward or Contractors.
This is a more arcade-like experience and everything else reflects that. Heck, you can slide like an action hero by pressing crouch while running similar to Solaris — a move that will absolutely make you feel badass if you kill someone while pulling it off. Turning and aiming both feel exactly as you would expect while playing a light-gun game in an arcade, with no additional interpolation or weapon weight. Weapons will get caught on walls or other objects if you get too close, though, so you’ll need to be mindful of things getting in the way of your aim.
Alvo PSVR Review — Aim Controller vs PS Move vs DualShock 4
Alvo’s developers have created excellent control schemes for all three types of PSVR controllers. The DualShock 4 and PlayStation Aim controllers will feel most natural at first. In fact, the DualShock 4 even behaves as if you were holding a gun, requiring players to physically aim the controller, similar to Hitman 3 and Firewall. While the PS Move controllers don’t have a joystick — or any obvious way to move virtually, for that matter — Alvo’s developers cleverly devised a way to move in any direction without much fuss by holding the big button where your thumb rests and orienting your left controller in the direction you want to move.
Even though it took me a couple of rounds to get adjusted to this method, I actually found it to be a rather palatable way to play the game. The Move controllers made aiming easier than when using a DualShock 4 and didn’t suffer from any of the weird drifting I sometimes experience with the PlayStation Aim controller. Using the face buttons to turn left and right brought back memories of Goldeneye on N64, which is extremely limiting in stressful close combat situations, but it worked surprisingly well given the controller’s usually limited nature.
Controls are straightforward for a shooter. Square reloads, Circle toggles ducking, Triangle cycles between primary and secondary guns, L1 jumps, L2 tosses a grenade — this was one of my favorite mechanics as it allows you to quickly throw one in a pinch without really needing to aim — and R1 and R2 are used for melee or shooting your weapons. If you’ve played any modern shooter at all, the controls just make sense, and don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel.
Visually, the game is good enough for a PSVR game built with the PS4’s hardware in mind. It reminded me a lot of the recently released Hitman 3 in terms of model and texture quality, while the sound effects were pretty lackluster. You’re not going to be impressed by any of it, but it gets the job done well enough and gave me nothing to really complain about. While I played this on a PS5, PSVR games cannot be built with PS5 hardware in mind, so it’s still running a PS4 game in backwards compatibility support at the end of the day.
Alvo PSVR Review: Final Impressions
If you’re a fan of multiplayer shooters, there’s no doubt you’re going to have a solid time with Alvo. It’s seriously great fun thanks to lighthearted, arcade-like mechanics and a low learning curve that’s instantly accessible to anyone who’s played a shooter before. Quick matches and fast loading times keep the action going, and built-in voice communication makes it easy to work with teammates without any fuss.
But there’s no denying that the game is quite barebones — something that’s especially worrying for a title that’s been in development over four years and, yet, is only launching with five maps and three game modes with lots of unavailable features in the menu. The $40 price tag seems a bit steep to me for such a small amount of content, even with the promise of plenty more to come.
Still, there’s not exactly a wealth of other options in the PSVR world, With solid bones and what seems to be a welcoming and excited community, it’s likely that you’ll have a fantastic time with Alvo if you enjoy multiplayer shooters. Even in empty rooms, bots will automatically fill up the roster and make sure you have plenty of target practice before the real battles begin. Just don’t go in expecting any sort of single-player missions or a campaign mode, because there isn’t one whatsoever.
This review was conducted using a PlayStation 5 playing Alvo as a backwards compatible PS4 game. For more on how we arrived at this score, read our review guidelines.
Alvo is now available on PSVR for $40 with a 25% discount for PS Plus users until 4/27/21. Both PC VR and Quest releases with cross-play are planned for the future.
Originally, Solaris was coming to PSVR late last year around the same time as the Quest and PC VR version of the game but got delayed. Now, it’s slated for release in just a couple of months.
The latest VR shooter from First Contact Entertainment (creators of Firewall Zero Hour) is a sci-fi competitive VR shooter that feels a bit like Quake in VR due to its speed and intense arena levels. It’s a very breezy, fast-paced game that’s accessible and easy to quickly jump in and out of. The closest comparison is probably Hyper Dash.
Soalris is a notable release because other than Firewall Zero Hour, there really haven’t been many options for shooter fans on PSVR. Alvo is coming soon too, but the headset is on its last legs at this point.
The PS Aim Controller continues to be one of the best things about the PSVR platform, so I’m all for seeing more games support it, but it’s a shame games like this didn’t hit PSVR earlier in its life cycle. Hopefully PSVR 2 on PS5 is backwards compatible and it can give late-life cycle games like this one new life when it releases.
Solaris is coming to PSVR very soon with a planned digital release in May and physical release from Perp Games in June. For more on this game make sure and read our Solaris: Offworld Combat review and stay tuned for all the latest in VR.
Alvo is a very fast-paced 10-player online VR shooter with influence from non-VR shooters like Counter-Strike that’s planned to hit PSVR first this March, followed by PC VR and Quest with full crossplay across all three platforms.
This one has been on our radar for years and it’s finally nearing release now. We first wrote about Alvo about 2 1/2 years ago and it has come a long way since then, as evidenced by a new trailer back in September. As you can see in the footage above, it doesn’t look like a game hampered by the technical and hardware limitations of the PSVR at all whatsoever. There’s good reason why it landed on our list of most-anticipated VR games for 2021.
Most notably is the speed of movement and fluidity of actions. You’ll see the player vaulting over fences, sliding around corners, and ducking behind cover with the response time of something you’d see in a PC VR shooter like Pavlov or Contractors, not a PSVR shooter. As someone that has spent a lot of time playing every VR platform out there, I can say that this does not look like a rigid PSVR game. That’s a very strong compliment.
I have a lot of love for Firewall Zero Hour and the new ground that it broke, proving there is a market for competitive-focused VR games on platforms like PSVR, but the speed and intensity of games like Alvo is definitely appealing to me as well so I’m eager to jump in and try this one out for myself soon.
According to a developer we spoke to via Discord, a closed beta for PSVR is planned for late January or early February in Europe and North America with a full release on PSVR planned for March. The footage we’ve embedded above is captured on PS4 Pro using PS Aim Controller but it will also support PS Move controllers or DualShock 4.
In terms of features, it’s got a full slate. In addition to grenades and guns like the M16, AK47, P90, pistols, shotguns, and even scoped sniper rifles (yes, real working scopes, not full-screen blackout “scopes” like in Medal of Honor or Population: One) there will be killstreak rewards as well.
This is a full smooth locomotion shooter with running, jumping, climbing, sliding, and going prone with three game modes: free-for-all, team deathmatch, and search & destroy.
The number of maps available at launch is still in flux, likely sitting around 4-6 with 2-3 nighttime variants of existing maps to add a bit more variety. Post-launch support is expected to include new maps, weapons, characters, and game modes.
The developers have already got PSVR and Rift crossplay operational, but it will eventually be coming to the Oculus Rift PC store, Steam VR, and Oculus Quest sometime after PSVR launch. There will also be PS5 optimization patches as well as HMD optimization for other headsets like Vive and Index as well.
Alvo is currently in closed beta on PSVR with a full release planned for late February or March. Releases on both PC VR and Quest are expected to follow afterward, with full crossplay between all three platforms.
Solaris: Offworld Combat is getting squad support in its biggest post-launch update yet this week. The update will also introduce a brand new map, several fixes and improvements, and will enable players to freely move their non-primary hand.
When Solaris first launched it delivered on the promise of fast-paced, easy-to-pickup-and-play thrills with addictive gameplay, satisfying gun mechanics, and vibrant map designs. However, the inability to group up and play with friends was a huge issue.
According to developer First Contact Entertainment via email, squad support was “probably the most requested feature” since launch, so it’s finally getting added.
A new version of Fury is coming as well, dubbed Fury Major, which will focus on centralizing player engagement with more close quarters combat moments. Stamina is also getting reworked so you no longer lose any for sprinting and you’re only impacted for spamming slide over and over.
The other major change which should improve player immersion dramatically, at least in my opinion, is that now your free hand has full tracking. Previously whichever hand was not your primary hand (for example your left hand if you are righthanded) would just be glued to the gun at all times even if you moved the controller around. Now, they’ve unattached it, just like in the main menu, so you can move it freely. Weapon accuracy is unaffected.
There are a handful of other changes as well, such as crouching in real life triggering a slide if you’re sprinting, daily XP bonuses and weekly challenges, balance adjustments, and more.
For more on Solaris: Offworld Combat follow the game’s official Twitter and YouTube and make sure to check out our full review and launch day livestream right here.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the official launch of PlayStation 5 in select territories and for those early adopters who also want the console to power their PlayStation VR, they’ll need a free PlayStation Camera Adaptor. Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced that new VR customers will find the device included in bundles at the end of November.
The main PlayStation Twitter account revealed that customers in the US and Canada will find the adaptor in the PlayStation VR Marvel’s Iron Man VR Bundle. While over on PlayStation Europe, the account noted that the adaptor would feature in the PlayStation VR Starter Pack this month.
It was revealed last month that Japanese customers buying bundles would get the adaptor, so it’s good news this has been rolled out to more locations. Of course, if you already have a PlayStation VR then you’ll need to go down the route of ordering one of the free adaptors from SIE’s website which isn’t too difficult. Don’t expect instant shipping as SIE notes deliveries could take up to two weeks.
All of this stems from the current PlayStation Camera being incompatible with PlayStation 5 and the fact that the newer PlayStation HD Camera won’t support VR. PlayStation Move, Aim and DualShock 4 wireless controllers will support PlayStation 5 but the DS4 controller won’t work with PlayStation 5 titles. On the plus side, most VR games will be backwards compatible and some like Firewall Zero Hour will make use of PlayStation 5’s improved hardware to reduce load times and increase the visual fidelity.
PlayStation 5 has a split worldwide launch with the console available in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea from tomorrow, 12th November. As for everywhere else, they have to wait until 19th November. The standard disc drive edition retails for £449.99 GBP/$499.99 USD whilst the Digital Edition will cost £359.99/$399.99.
For all the latest PlayStation VR updates, keep reading VRFocus.
First Contact Entertainment confirmed that Firewall Zero Hour will offer PS5-specific improvements when playing the PSVR game on a next generation console.
As confirmed by Sony earlier this week, some PSVR games’ specific features will see improvements when played in backwards compatibility mode on PS5. We already know that PSVR exclusive Blood & Truth will feature a higher resolution and higher framerate on PS5, and now we have details for another PSVR exclusive — multiplayer FPS game Firewall Zero Hour.
Developers First Contact Entertainment put out a tweet with a video that details the improvements coming to Firewall on PS5.
Note: This review was originally published on September 26th, 2020. It’s now been updated to include the PSVR version.
Following up on one of the most successful and well-known PSVR games, Firewall Zero Hour, is no small task. Especially when your next game, in this case Solaris, launches first on different headsets (before the recent PSVR homecoming). But for all its differences and unique challenges, I think Solaris is still mostly a worthy follow-up to the breakout PSVR hit.
The big difference here is that Solaris is not a realistic-style tactical military shooter. At all. Whereas Firewall borrows heavy inspiration from the likes of Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, Solaris is more like an alternate reality sci-fi version of Quake with its focus on pick-up-and-playability and quick-paced gameplay.
Everything in Solaris is about as streamlined as it can possibly get — for better and (in some small cases) for worse. For example, there are no game modes to pick from, maps to select, playlists to queue for, or anything like that. The main menu literally just says ‘Play’ or asks you to put on the helmet to enter a game. That’s it. From there you’re spawned into a match with seven other people in a 4v4 game to capture control points that move around the map, sort of like Headquarters in Call of Duty. It’s very quick and efficient and, above all else, very fun.
In addition to the four guns (starting pistol, automatic assault rift, grenade launcher, and rocket launcher) there are two equipment items: proximity mine and deployable cover shield. It’s enough gear to add some strategy to encounters, but does feel a bit light overall.
Another example of this streamlined approach is the lack of an inventory, weapon switching, or reloading. You walk over weapons to pick them up and then it auto-switches to that new weapon. You shoot the special weapons until they’re out of ammo and it switches back to your starting pistol. No reloading ever required. In this way the “weapons” actually function a bit more like upgrades since they’re temporary. It adds intensity because you can visibly see when others pick up the weapons and creates competition to see who can get them first.
Solaris: Offworld Combat Review – Quest vs Rift
Solaris: Offworld Combat is out on both Quest and Rift with cross-buy and cross-play support. So even if you only have one headset, you’re playing against and with people on both platforms at all times. Visually it’s extremely similar. So similar in fact, that other than a few particle effects and lighting enhancements you can barely tell the difference. Gameplay is functionally identical. The only difference I’ve ever really spotted from a performance level is at the start of a match on Quest, before you’re ever in combat, there is a little bit of jitter and stutter as things are initializing, but once you’re in the game and actively playing, that all goes away. Refer to the video below for a side-by-side comparison.
However, not all of the streamlining they’ve done is for the better. One great example of this is weapon handling. In Solaris, you literally cannot control your left hand at all. Every weapon in the game is essentially one-handed just like the pistol, which is fine in and of itself, Half-Life: Alyx did this as well, but in Solaris your left hand isn’t tracked at all. If you reach out with your left controller it doesn’t do anything, you’re only using it as a thumbstick to move around.
The issue with this is twofold: a lack of presence and immersion, but also a lack of gameplay opportunity. In games like Onward your left hand is equal to the right hand, you could pull your pistol with the left hand, cradle the gun on your left shoulder and even pull the trigger left-handed if you wanted to. But in Solaris your left hand is basically the left half of an Xbox controller in your hand without tracking.
All that being said — you will forget about it. While playing I tended to rest my right controller on top of my left controller to steady the aim regardless of weapon so it generally felt like I was using both hands in-game even though I wasn’t. I genuinely stopped noticing or caring about it during the heat of battle.
Solaris: Offworld CombatReview – Comfort Settings
Solaris: Offworld Combat should be avoided if you require teleportation movement to enjoy VR because smooth, direct locomotion is the only option. That being said, there are some settings you can tweak to make it more comfortable if you’re not extra sensitive. In the main menu options you can switch between smooth and snap turning or turn on/off the FOV vignette for turning and sprinting.
Another odd limitation is the restricted physical crouching. I know the Quest and Rift S are capable of accurately tracking me as I lay down on the ground, or even roll around, because I’ve done it in games like Rec Room and Onward, but there are invisible barriers in Solaris that only let you go down as low as the crouch button animates.
Probably more than any other shooter I’ve played in VR, Solaris is the most seamless to play. It’s pure entertainment that just works. You never have to fuss around with anything feeling wonky or off because all the things that usually cause those issues in VR just aren’t here. On the surface things can see simplistic, but in the moment they absolutely are there to ensure the game is as fluid and playable as possible from top to bottom.
Solaris: Offworld Combat Review Final Impressions
Solaris: Offworld Combat is more than just the sum of its parts. While it’s easy to nitpick some of the decisions made, like your left hand not really being tracked in the game or the lack of a party/friend system at all for launch, the fact of the matter is that it’s still just incredibly fun to play. Visually it looks great on both Rift and Quest and the gameplay has that quick and seamless feel of Quake mixed with a slick Tron-style aesthetic. Despite the issues, Solaris is easily the most accessible and streamlined VR shooter I’ve played in recent memory and scratches the arena shooter itch I’d forgotten I had.
Solaris: Offworld Combat is out now on Rift and for Quest with cross-buy and cross-play functionality across both platforms. This review was conducted using both versions of the game, but most time was spent in the Quest version. A PSVR version also release today, May 18th. For more on how we arrived at this score, check out our review guidelines.