Telefrag; to kill someone by teleporting into the space they are occupying. Originating in 1993’s Doom, this strange tactic became a staple of games like Unreal Tournament and Quake, and it’s these classic arena shooters that subsequently inspired Telefrag VR. However, this shallow experience struggles to emulate those that preceded it and fails to fulfil the tantalizing promise of bringing “a hellishly dynamic multiplayer arena shooter” to VR.
A brief tutorial helps acquaint you with the game’s controls, which will feel familiar for anyone who has played a VR shooter. Moving and shooting is intuitive and responsive, allowing you to dash around environments while letting you orientate yourself smoothly on the fly. The intricacies of learning each gun and its unique teleport ability presents the only learning curve. Six weapons, ranging from plasma rifles and pistols to rocket launchers and flak cannons, provide a suitably varied arsenal, further diversified by alternate firing modes which make bullets ricochet off surfaces or home-in on enemies.
Entering a quick match against AI bots, Telefrag’s seemingly simple but satisfying loop soon clicked with me. The genre’s staples are all present; comically oversized guns and big, glowing pickups hark back to arena shooters of yore, and combat feels suitably fast paced and floaty. The real hook to combat is telefragging, and seeing an enemy erupt in a shower of blood as you blink into them is undeniably satisfying. Each gun offers its own twist on teleportation, some taking you instantly to your destinations while others let you set traps for enemies as you await the opportune moment to blink in for the kill.
The stadia in which you do battle are conducive to the game’s central mechanic, encouraging constant movement and teleportation around the fractured verticality of their M.C. Escher inspired dreamscapes. Ancient Grecian pillars, statues and structures blend with chrome and neon to create a unique sci-fi aesthetic that benefits from stellar art design and often looks impressive in VR. However, these arenas do begin to feel limited after half a dozen matches spent exploring; their size and scope acting as a facade to an otherwise cramped play area.
While the game’s level design seems to want to encourage frantic, intimate fire fights and tense games of cat and mouse, it all too often feels restrictive, making player paths predictable and the flow and thrill of combat muted. This stunted potential seems to mire Telefrag VR as an overall experience. After an hour spent with the game, I had wielded every weapon, scouted every arena and earned almost half the trophies. Although my enjoyment of Telefrag was fleeting, I’m sure the game will hold some player’s interest, yet this may be more out of the scarcity of arena shooters in VR than the quality of the experience itself.
In concept, Telefrag VR is a thrilling arena shooter that conjures nostalgia and brings something exciting and vital to PSVR. The experience it delivers is severely limited; the initial novelty of its core mechanic soon wanes, leaving a shallow and altogether uninteresting shooter that does little else to hold your attention. In a year with games like Blood and Truth and Sairento, Telefrag VR feels like a significant step back in PSVR’s catalogue of Move-centric shooters.
Telefrag VR PS4 Review
Overall - Bad - 4/10
Telefrag VR is a blast for your first few games as you teleport around and blast enemies. However, this novelty swiftly wears off leaving a severely shallow experience unworthy of your time or money.
- Interesting art design and aesthetic.
- Telefragging an enemy is undeniably satisfying.
- Plenty of easily farmed trophies.
- The novelty of gameplay wears off very quickly.
- Arenas are small and soon become predictable.
- A dull, shallow experience that is unlikely to hold your attention for more than an hour.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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