Gaming

Conjure Strike hands-on — this mix of Overwatch and Dota 2 shows team shooters work in VR

When I played Megalith at E3, it was a little bit of a revelation for me. Intuitively I knew that hero shooter-style games, or rather action games that pit players against each other in an arena and let them pick from a host of characters each with vastly different powers, would be a good fit for VR. But I’d never tried one. Now with Conjure Strike, another team-based VR shooter with objective-based game modes, I’m convinced this style of VR game is here to stay.

The small development team at The Strike Force have done a great job of boiling down the core principles of what makes games like Overwatch and Paladins and even MOBAs such as League of Legends or Dota 2 so fun and popular and then doubled down on those ideas for Conjure Strike.

You can see a full match I recorded while playing with the developers yesterday right here:

Right now the game has three modes, each of which are played on a map dedicated to that mode only, four classes, and four different powers per class. All of the matches are played out in 2-vs.-2 settings and offer a lot of really fast-paced action. The two game modes I tried were an assault/defend mode similar to Overwatch’s payload or Echo Combat, as well as a King of the Hill mode that felt more like a MOBA with minion turrets auto-spawning and each team controlling a base.

Personally, I enjoyed the assault/defend mode a lot more (which is shown in the gameplay video above). The map was much larger and more elaborate with various different elevations and points of cover, whereas the king of the hill map felt very claustrophobic and was extremely difficult to win on if you didn’t capture the initial point at the very start.

I tried out a few of the different classes, such as the newly introduced melee-based class that requires you to actually punch with the Oculus Touch controllers to attack, or the range-based hunter class that shoots a rifle-style gun and gets a powerful sword slash ultimate ability.

Those were all fine and dandy, but I absolutely wreaked havoc as the Elementalist. That class’ default attack is an orb that explodes on contact for AoE damage and it also gets a powerful channel beam and an ice orb that freezes enemies. As someone that enjoys playing as Pharah in Overwatch, I’m a sucker for a good, fun AoE-focused ranged character.

The art style doesn’t really do much for me, but its simplicity likely means that it’s easy for the developers to rapidly create new content in the future. I vastly prefer the more detailed style of Megalith, to cite another VR game, or any other hero shooter I’ve tried honestly. It doesn’t look bad, it just doesn’t feel as polished and articulated as it could. Luckily the exciting gameplay and tense team dynamics more than make up for it.

With over two months left to go until launch, most of the work going on right now is play-testing and balancing. When I picked the Elementalist I noticed it was very easy to take out enemies on the other team if they didn’t have shields or at least another Elementalist to provide a counter with big damage threats.

Other classes like support roles and healers are in the works too, as well as new game modes and maps, so it certainly seems like the kind of game that could very well find a good amount of post-launch support if the community rallies around it enough. Since it’s entirely multiplayer focused, having a healthy population is going to be crucial.

Conjure Strike is currently available in Early Access on the Oculus Home Store for Rift. When it launches later this year, tentatively late September, that launch will also happen on Steam to include Vive support and cross-platform play  between storefronts as well.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2018

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