Preview: Winter Fury: The Longest Road – More Tank Please
After first hearing about Winter Fury: The Longest Road VRFocus was fairly excited to take the videogame for a spin, with the promise of both on foot first-person shooter (FPS) action and some armoured fun in a tank. While the premise is sound, that early excitement was somewhat overzealous as you’re about to find out.
The first virtual reality (VR) videogame by Spidermonk Entertainment (staffed by former Activision and THQ veterans), Winter Fury: The Longest Road is about one Allied soldier’s lone battle against Axis forces in WWII. You’re given a special, experimental tank (supposedly) with which to wipe your foe from the battlefield, but alas, being able to cause carnage across Europe in the 1940s just wasn’t quite meant to be.
Feeling very much like an older Call of Duty (number three possibly), Winter Fury: The Longest Road is essentially a fancy wave shooter. There’s no running around so it’s super comfortable to play, with each leg of a level taking place at a different location down the titular road. You tend to be located in one of two areas, either on the back of the tank or in a concrete/sand bunker of some sort, mowing down German forces (everything they say is in German for realism).
The much-touted tank you can’t actually drive, moving automatically in a third-person viewpoint until it gets to an area which then switches to first-person. When on the back of the tank you’ll have access to a nice .50-cal heavy machine gun which does a superb job of killing anything you point it at, men, men on horses, trucks, even other tanks. The same goes for some of the bunkers, which either have gun emplacements or you can resort to the pistol on your hip, or the machine gun on your chest (a Thompson naturally). Both the heavy and regular machine guns work a treat, but the pistol aim does seem to be slightly off that aren’t really up close.
Spidermonk has gone for semi-realism when it comes to certain aspects of Winter Fury: The Longest Road and more arcade-like designs in others. For example, the machine guns can be used single handed, but as you’d expect, pepper the environment – you’d struggle to hit a mountain with the MG. So holding the Thompson with both hands improves the aim while mounting the .50-cal on a sand bag or wall improves accuracy greatly. On the flipside, reloading is a stripped back affair, with a couple of quick actions needed for the heavy, while a standard weapon has an almost rapid reload effect when done correctly.
This makes for a rather lively WWII shooter where you only need to worry about health as the ammo is infinite. It’s also worth mentioning the grenades, as the studio has created a rather interesting mechanic. On the Oculus Touch controller the grip button grabs the grenade as you’d expect, with a white arc appearing from your hand. This denotes where the grenade will travel and can then be locked in place by pressing the trigger. You then throw as normal and watch as your perfectly placed explosive does the damage – no more fumbles or shit throws wasting valuable grenades. It’s a handy little system.
As Winter Fury: The Longest Road progresses things do begin to improve on the tank front, with one level involving a destroyer which needs to be sunk. There are brief – too brief – moments where you get to control the cannon and fire shells – still no direct tank control – but for the most part the destruction comes back to the mounted weapons.
At present Winter Fury: The Longest Road is a bit of a weird one. You can tell the team have a decent pedigree in this style of videogame, and there are individual elements that shine – the sniper is another one. Yet the gameplay just feels a little reined in, as if the studio didn’t want to go too big too soon. VRFocus will be keeping an interested eye on this one while in Early Access, and advise everyone does the same.