This week, we’ve been checking out ‘Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot’, a multiplayer shooter in virtual reality that was developed by the folks behind ‘Wolfenstein’. The game was released on Steam Early Access on April 8th, 2016 and is available on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
A few years back I was rather fond of a game called “Wolfenstein: The New Order”. Though it was an absolutely fantastic game in every respect, I had a few complaints about it. The primary one was that the final boss could be a little over-the-top, and the second was that it didn’t have a narrative like the first game. In response, “Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus” was released back in 2017. It’s a fantastically fun game that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, but I’m not sure it’s the sequel to the first game I was looking for.
‘Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot’ is a first-person, narrative-driven game from Bethesda’s new VR division, which was made to showcase the company’s new VR technology. It is a fairly simplistic game, but uses the technology in a convincing way, creating an immersive experience. It’s a bit short and fiddly, but worth checking out if you haven’t played VR games before and want to see what it’s like.
Wolfenstein games, as a famous franchise, are undeniable vehicles for beating Nazi butt, with the most recent installments focusing on alternate history tales that place resistance members in the midst of a long-running Nazi occupation. While Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot succeeds admirably in this regard, it’s difficult to believe that this is the Wolfenstein game VR deserves.
Note that, despite not being mentioned as a supported headset, Oculus Rift users should have no trouble playing. Although the in-game graphic that explains the controls portrays it as a Windows VR controller, all controls are accurately mapped.
You wake up to discover that you’re a member of the French resistance, and that you’ve penetrated an oddly empty Nazi control post, where you’ve been given access to some intriguing and dangerous technology to aid in the liberation of Nazi-occupied Paris in the 1980s.
All three mech-machines available to the player will be familiar if you’ve played any of the recent Wolfenstein games. The Panzerhund, for example, is a large dog-like tank that can rush forward and do more damage than its single face-mounted flamethrower can. A stealth drone has been developed for hacking into computer terminals and electrocuting Nazis to dust (active camouflage helps you evade guards). Then there’s the Zitadelle, a gigantic bipedal machine gunner with rockets and a makeshift force barrier for when things get messy. Each has their own unique panic move, as well as infinite ammo and the ability to heal oneself.
Cyberpilot, on the other hand, is a low-stakes game where you don’t have to scrounge for dropped supplies, hunt for rare and strong weapons, or worry about your depleting health. If you die, you just resurface at your previous checkpoint with no penalties, making it feel more like an extended cinematic experience with a few extra moving components than a game. That isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but I believe that if a studio chooses this path, the narrative will be under more pressure to deliver where the action can’t. Cyberpilot, on the other hand, follows the well-worn path of a single NPC who is pipped into your skull via radio and provides you with constant mission instructions as well as a few bits of story to go along with it.
You never get a chance to form bonds with anybody or anything because you’re either strapped to a chair back at base or out on the streets operating vehicles, despite the fact that you’re voiced by a fantastic actress.
The game’s vehicles are amazing, and while shooting with the Zitadelle employs one of my least favorite tropes—floating crosshairs—these abstractions are understandable given that you’re controlling the mechanical creatures from the safety of your pod back at base.
Cyberpilot’s fixation on giving the player a paint-by-numbers path through the game, on the other hand, is far less spectacular. Every step of the way, your hand is held: you’re shown how to repair each equipment, given a brief lesson, given a single assignment in each vehicle (a simple game of navigating a metaphorical one-way street), and then you move on to the next until you reach the conclusion. There’s more on that later.
Each mission begins with a machine repair, which is more of an easy task than a puzzle, and involves little more thought than opening the little battery door on the back of your TV remote. On the other hand, the repair sequence allows you to check your vehicle in a way that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Although you’re on a one-way trip through the level, there are few surprises outside of the occasional blast door that opens to reveal an enemy, or a reinforcement pod that drops out of the sky to reveal a small cadre of weakling ground troops, there’s a good range of baddies to be found in the missions themselves. I only died once in regular mode, and that was during a drone mission where a single shot may kill you. Even on the hardest game setting, you’ll have plenty of chances to recuperate in between sections. The toughest enemies you’ll fight here are competing Zitadellen and Panzerhunde (that’s German pluralization for you). There are no bosses, and no one-time foes of any kind. Normal, hard, and challenge are the three levels of difficulty.
But it isn’t all shooting Nazis and setting them on fire in the streets. My favorite mission was the stealth drone mission, when your perspective is reduced down to accommodate the Power Wheels-size flying aircraft. Because the stakes are a little greater (a single shot would kill you), you’ll need to use your ten-second active camouflage strategically to avoid Nazi officials and other drones, as you’ll be quickly killed if you go around corners too quickly. Your other motion controller serves as an input for computer hacking. Unlike Skyrim’s lockpicking mechanic and later Fallout games’ computer hacking mechanic, you just need to hold one of your motion controllers in the correct physical orientation to get past three locks before the computer is considered open.
Despite my complaints, I didn’t have a bad experience with Cyberpilot. The game runs smoothly, and I’ve never been stumped as to how to complete any given assignment. I didn’t experience any game-breaking problems, and the game looked pretty darn fantastic once I dialed in my settings (more on that below). In fact, one could argue that Cyberpilot is too easy, low-stakes, and narratively thin to leave an indelible impact even an hour after you’ve finished the game. Although I understand why they chose the cockpit concept over the franchise’s typical first-person shooter gameplay style, it wasn’t Wolfenstein-enough. In the Comfort section below, I’ll go through this in greater detail.
My personal playtime lasted an hour and a half. Even though it’s on the short side, even for a $20 game, what irritated me the most wasn’t the dollar-to-playtime ratio calculation we all perform in our heads, but the fact that there’s a real game underneath it all. Stealth missions could be developed further to become more complicated and rewarding. Hacking terminals could be even more difficult and rewarding. Shooting may have been more of a test of tool selection than of frantically pressing the triggers until everything goes ‘bang.’ Almost all of the game’s fundamental aspects can be used as jumping-off points for something more in-depth and meaningful, which is something I didn’t discover here.
Without giving anything away, the finish is incredibly anticlimactic, which makes me think there might be a chance for another Cyberpilot in the future, while there’s also a chance it was merely a sudden and unsatisfactory finale. There’s no way of knowing.
The attention to detail, both visual and in unexpected places, is one of the best aspects about Cyberpilot. I’m guessing a lot of this was repurposed content from Youngblood, the franchise’s bigger funded sister. Although I refuse to think that Nazis in an alternate timeline would listen to a strangely patriotic rendition of German New Wave, you can’t help but admire the effort to create an environment that exists outside of the dismal bunkers and locked-down city of Nazi-occupied Paris. Although the mechs themselves aren’t particularly heavy, the aesthetic component of their design cannot be overlooked.
Object interaction was standard, however it’s worth noting that Bethesda’s VR versions like Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR present the player with a plethora of goods that can’t be picked up with your hands. You’ve been given the task of picking up and inspecting each object offered to the player in the bunker.
The performance isn’t as strong as I’d hoped. Strangely enough, despite having the exact recommended specs for the game, I noticed some little judder when the settings were set to medium. In reality, all of my settings were set to low by default, so I had to fiddle around with the various toggles (particle effects, texture quality, and so on) to improve the visual clarity. One approach to do this is to use the game’s fixed foveated rendering setting to allow my whole field of view to be drawn at maximum quality; otherwise, the edges of where the scene is shown at its highest quality are painfully visible. Cyberpilot, in my opinion, still requires further optimization so that systems with less than the recommended spec can obtain an adequate graphics experience without having to set everything to low, which is fairly blurry and unappealing.
By default, the user is presented with smooth hand-controlled locomotion (not depending on stick movement), which can be uncomfortable for some users. However, if you can’t take smooth turning, a variable snap-turn is available, making it a very comfortable experience overall. Despite the fact that I am not a fan of smooth locomotion, the game’s cockpit helps you feel grounded in your near-field, making racing simulators and mech games one of the most comfortable genres to play despite the quick and continual movement.
There are a few instances of strong forward acceleration (Panzerhund’s bum rush), but they appear to be managed well enough to be a completely pleasant ride.
Last but not least, as a completely seated experience, I would have wanted to see different desk heights for the surfaces back at base, similar to how Owlchemy Lab handles any table in Vacation Simulator (2019)—just readjust the table to your favorite height. I live in a small apartment and spend much of my time at my workstation playing seated virtual reality games. Because you have to place your motion controller under your actual desk to grasp stuff when the virtual desk is somewhat lower than the physical equivalent, you may lose track. Most individuals won’t have this problem, but if you’re in a tight space, you might want to back up and give your office chair plenty of room.
The ‘Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot’ (2016) videogame was released by Machinegames, the same organization who developed another shooter called ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ (2015). This time around we’re in the midst of a (sci-fi) war again, as it’s become clear that the Nazis are still at the helm of the world. In order to combat this, the Resistance sends you, a cyber-commando, into enemy territory.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Wolfenstein Cyberpilot worth it?
Wolfenstein Cyberpilot is a game that was released on the PC in 2017. The game is set in an alternate timeline where Nazis won World War II and created a computerized version of Adolf Hitler to help them rule the world.
How long is Wolfenstein Cyberpilot?
Wolfenstein Cyberpilot is a short game that can be completed in about an hour.
Is Cyberpilot VR only?
Cyberpilot VR is a standalone game, meaning it does not require any other games to play.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- wolfenstein: cyberpilot
- psvr headset
- playstation vr worlds
- vr for ps5
- buy psvr