Courtesy of the folks at Coatsink, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in Onward, a MilSim VR shooter here on Oculus Quest 2. This one has been an intense experience, with boots on the ground in various fairly realistic scenarios, and we’ve got the usual full review and common-sense parent’s guide for you just here. We’ve still not found a great way to capture or stream video from the Quest, but as soon as we do, Onward will be one of the first titles you’ll see up and running on there, as it’s been one of my favourite experiences in VR to date.
Onward is a hefty experience which will see you playing in full PvP, cooperatively with friends and with some basic solo missions. It’s been built with virtual reality in mind, and fully takes advantage of the first-person view to deliver a tactical and realistic experience. Rather than some faster Call of Duty experiences, Onward works best when taken slowly and with a decent area to move around in.
This is definitely a title which benefits hugely from teamplay, and while it’s still fun to get involved with random matchmaking a solid team is your biggest advantage. I’ve been lucky enough to get boots on the ground with some solid squads, both with friends and randoms, and it’s easy to see the benefits that a solid strategy will make to your gameplay.
The weapons in game are fairly realistic, and the whole experience from the perspective of a non-veteran is hugely immersive. In order to reload you’ll need to eject your magazine, pull a fresh magazine from your webbing and get it in and locked. Realism really is the order of the day here, and as far as realistic MilSim experiences go on the Quest, Onward really isthe best I’ve found.
Onward is rated by PEGI at 16 and above here on the Oculus Quest store. It’s a title which provides a first person view of warfare, and while there’s no blood and gore effects, it is still one which has the potential to have a few negative consequences. It’s also based quite heavily on cooperative and PvP multiplayer, and you’ll absolutely need to talk to and work with others to get by.
With this in mind, it’s one which I’m saying is not suitable for the younger generations or a couple of reasons. The online communication with other players, often including some rather lewd drawings during planning stages, and the war-based nature of the title do spit this towards an adults only angle. In addition, the tactical nature of the title means that younger and less strategically minded players will also have a negative effect on gameplay for others.
In terms of accessibility, Onward is a bit of a tough one and I’m giving it a rating of High-Level. It’s definitely one to avoid for a little while if you haven’t got your VR legs as it can trigger some motion sickness. Playing with the motion controllers, it can be a little tough to control aim, but once used to it it’s a little bit like riding a bike.
If you can play with a decent space around you, it’ll make taking cover and moving around walls much easier, and I’ve found myself throwing my body down onto the floor to escape incoming fire. With the realistic nature of the title, every second does count and you’ll find things here much easier if you have the freedom and ability to move around your space.
Visuals – Fair (3/5): Visuals in game haven’t blown me away but they are more than adequate for a title of this type. In terms of 2D gameplay I’d liken it to Counterstrike, with some clipping and basic textures and structures throughout. That said, detail on the weapons and equipment is good, and the most noticeable drawback in the title is the lack of leg movement seen on other players while running.
In terms of overall performance things are smooth here on the Quest 2 and while textures could be improved, framerates and general performance are good and it’s been running well for me on this standalone platform.
Audio – Great (5/5): Audio effects and music in the title are really well worked. One great touch is the proximity chat, where you’ll be able to talk easily with your team with around each other, but must use the shoulder-mounted radio to contact your squad when isolated.
Narrative – Lacking(3/5): There are some basic story missions here but no real narrative to speak of. It’s not something you really expect in titles such as this, which are mostly based around the multiplayer PvP aspect, but it would have been nice to see at least a little narrative in solo missions. Importantly, it doesn’t detract from the title, but would have been a nice touch.
Replay – Great (5/5): The online multiplayer keeps on drawing me back in here and even though I’m not great at it I’ve been having a great time. You’ll find replay value much higher here if you have a decent squad, and getting together with friends who’ll take it seriously, but even while playing with “the great unwashed” I’ve had a great time
Overall the Pixel Bandits Hurt Locker Level for Onward is Grab It! . If you’re on the hunt for a strategic and tactical VR shooter, look no further than this little gem. While the visuals aren’t perfect the gameplay itself is on point, and it’s one which I’ve really enjoyed my time with.
Taking things slow is a must, and you’ll have a much better experience if you’re playing either with friends or a group who are taking it at least a little bit seriously. Even without it though, when I’ve been in game at odd times (thanks, kids) I’ve found the multiplayer and co-op to be enjoyable. If you are looking for a fast-paced run around this isn’t the one for you, but for those after a MilSim experience, this is a cracking little title which runs really nicely here on the Quest 2 standalone platform.
How difficult is the AI on hardest setting playing solo?.