The press might be calling it “Echo Combat,” but I call it “Zero-G.” Even though this is the first game I’ve tried from developer Supermassive, I’m already an avid fan of their work. All of their games are immersive, with convincing first-person experiences that require you to use the controller to interact with the environment.
I had very high expectations for ‘Echo Combat,’ as I had a very positive experience with the game’s predecessor. ‘Echo Combat’ is essentially a spiritual successor to ‘Echo Arena,’ which I reviewed back in August of last year, and the similarities are obvious: Just as ‘Echo Arena’ was a first-person shooter in a zero-gravity environment, ‘Echo Combat’ is a first-person shooter in a zero-gravity environment. But that’s where the similarities end. ‘Echo Combat’ is the first “public alpha” for the game, and I’ll warn you now that it’s not quite finished.
‘Echo Combat’ is the latest game in the Armor Games’ ‘Echo’ series. The game has you take the role of Mark Morgan, a new trainee pilot for the Navy’s elite Echo team. As a newbie pilot, you’ll test the team’s newest fighter, the Armitage, in a series of four-on-four, zero-gravity deathmatches. It’s a pretty standard premise for a VR shooter, but the action is quite good, and the zero-gravity gameplay is more fun in VR than a lot of other games. There’s also a cool stealth element to the game: if you think your opponents are about to fire upon you, you can sneak up on them. Read more about echo combat quest and let us know what you think.
Echo Combat, a VR team shooter, is the company’s newest addition to the zero-g family. If you haven’t participated in any of the open betas, Echo Combat will provide you with plenty of opportunities to yell at youngsters and go out guns blazing in a blind rage as you fire and seek shelter, perhaps hitting your walls in the process.
Details about the Echo Combat Review:
Ready at Dawn is a developer. Oculus Studios is the publisher. Oculus Store is where you can get it (Rift) Rift was the subject of a review. The film will be released on November 15th, 2018.
Echo Combat, like Ready at Dawn’s free sport game Echo Arena (now under the Echo VR banner), emphasizes on rapid action, which, due to its ingenious movement system, offers some really amazing chances to experience gaming speeds that rival those of flatscreen shooters.
Skip the following paragraph for more substantial parts if you already know how to navigate around in Echo VR. If you haven’t played Echo Arena or the studio’s adventure game Lone Echo (2017), here’s a short overview of how to get around:
You have a few tools at your disposal as a combat android: a thruster on each wrist that allows you to move about the battlefield, air brakes, and a boost function with a brief cool-down time. Physically holding on to and pushing off of the walls and objects that litter the arena-style layouts allows for finer mobility. I’ll go into more detail about this in the Comfort section, but after tens of hours in both Echo VR titles, it’s fair to say that moving about the game’s properly crenelated landscapes is a very pleasant and immersive experience.
The game presently has four traditional main weapons, all of which are single-handed handguns, divided into two four-player teams (orange and blue): a fully automatic pulse gun, a shotgun, a strong single shot pistol with laser sight, and a sluggish but extremely powerful rocket launcher. Another choice was greyed out, implying the presence of a fifth weapon.
These guns are fairly typical fare for shooters in general, but instead of continuously reloading and managing ammo expended, you’re given a fairly long cool-down time for each gun, making every shot count and every interaction crucial to survival. Because friendly fire is no longer an option, trigger discipline is essential. I’ve gotten caught in crossfire many times, causing me to shoot erratically just to overheat my weapon and be forced to flee under cover. It’s a great change of pace from the usual tropes of searching for expensive pickups and camping armor spawning. As the game has progressed through the betas, it seems that Ready at Dawn has prioritized the term “balancing” above all others.
Players have a similar balance with secondary weapons and support tools, with nearly every one having a practical counter; for example, you can arc heal but also do arc damage with a stun weapon, you can scan for enemies but also go into a no-weapons stealth mode and sneak behind enemy lines, and so on.
The controls are straightforward. Guns are permanently connected to your dominant hand, allowing you to grab whatever you want without needing to holster them. I thought I’d be missing out on the realism aspect here, but in the end, it simply simplified the job of navigating and ganking opposing idiots. Reaching behind your shoulder and physically throwing secondary weapons in the approximate direction of the adversary is also a simple way to deploy them. Depressing the directional sticks activates boost and air brakes, both of which are readily engaged in the midst of a firefight.
A useful spectator option is now now available, allowing you to join a game and move about the map normally, although as an unseen, silent ghost who can see all players highlighted in their respective team’s colors. This may be useful for both eSports contests and obtaining a close-up, risk-free look at the strategies used by the top players.
Overall, it’s a fun, although I have a few small quibbles with the gameplay at this time. Payload and Control Point are the only two gaming types available in Echo Combat. That’s not the worst thing ever for a $10 game, though I can see myself needing more of everything in the near future. Minor niggles persist:
I was looking forward to playing the newest map, Dyson, after playing every beta before to launch, however the only public match option available right now is Quick Match, which forces me to play whichever map the game chooses at random. It took almost an hour of playing on the previous two maps before I was able to go in on my own. The beauty of Echo VR is that you can jump in for a few minutes of entertainment and then leave, but there’s a noticeable lack of user control that makes this tough. A voting system would eventually fix this, but because there isn’t one, you’re stuck with Echo Combat’s strange match-making method.
Finally, there are the trolls, who are a problem in all online games. They grope, play loud music, and overall behave like toddlers trapped in adult bodies. I sympathize with the studio since it seems that there is no obvious way to dealing with obnoxious individuals when you need to depend on them for a vital boost, healing, etc.
If the match-making system allowed you to play multiple games with the same players in a row, you might be able to kick a troll and replace them with a user from the lobby, but alas, you’re thrown back into the lobby after each completed match to face whatever turd landed in your virtual punch bowl moments before.
This isn’t really appropriate for any area, but I thought it to be a powerful foreshadowing of what’s to come in virtual reality.
Ready at Dawn has made the game’s purchase process ridiculously simple, allowing you to buy it from an in-game terminal simply by pressing a button, automatically returning to a secure Oculus screen and inputting your PIN, and then returning to see access was granted with ease—no need to wait for downloads if your Echo VR is already up to date.
Because of how appealing of a concept it is, I can’t help but think that more games will follow suit. On launch day, almost everyone was playing Echo Combat and discussing strategies, mocking one another for defeats, and so on. While I was already there with the intention of playing, it’s easy to understand how appealing the notion of being surrounded by a crowd of enthusiastic, like-minded individuals all eager to press the huge “buy” button is.
As I bent over to ask someone at the terminal in the main lobby area if I should purchase it or not, it created an intriguing dynamic. Before being whisked away to his own Echo Combat battle, he offered a loud “yes.”
In terms of the game itself, danger is usually a plus in VR games, but due to the game’s easy mobility system, shooting mechanism, and secondary weapon deployment, it’s even more so.
My only real break in immersion came when I reached the walls of my home office. Make sure you have enough space, or at the very least acquire some serious guardian discipline, since it’s all too easy to become lost.
Echo Combat, like its elder brothers, excels in user comfort due to the series’ signature “grip the world to move” approach. Snap-turning for conventional sensor arrangement and 360 support for users with more than two sensors are also included.
This game likewise best enjoyed standing, but if there is enough space in front of you, you may play sitting without difficulty.
Most VR games have you standing in the same place for the duration of your gaming session, so the usage of the ‘tablet controller’ or ‘wii remote’ is usually very limited. However, with ‘Echo Combat’, that will not be a problem! You will be able to walk around the virtual room using the motion sensors on the controller, and use the special grenades you find to blow holes in walls, and use the grenades to shoot at enemy bots.
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