Population: One brings an addictive Battle Royale shooter to the VR world. Squad up with two other teammates and drop into a colorful, near future world where you and your team must fight together to survive to the end. Population One brings unrivaled vertical freedom and mobility with its Vertical Combat System which lets you climb anything you can see in the world and fly from any height! There are 18 players in total, forming 6 teams of trios to fight in the ever shrinking zone of the map. Scavenge resources, build walls or climb anything you desire and fly your way into limitless action scenarios to be the last team standing!
Climb, Fly & Build
The experience that Population: One provides in virtual reality is simply mesmerizing and more unique than any other battle royale game that I have played. There is just something so exciting about holding the weapons with your Oculus quest controllers as if they are actually in your hands and manually reloading the weapons by sliding in the magazine and retracting the gun mechanism to load up a bullet in the chamber but more on that later. The three key features of the game: Climb, Fly and Build opens up limitless combat scenarios which help deliver fresh and exciting moments in every game played.
If you can see it, you can definitely climb it ! Simply move your hands towards the object until it is blue and off you go with climbing.
Climbing in VR is such a cool experience and can easily help you get the high ground to scan the area or get some nice sniper shots in. There are currently two types of snipers, the AWP or Sako and I had a few issues with the scopes particularly the resolution while zoomed in was not that great on the Quest 2 but that has been fixed with a recent update! Nonetheless, climbing is such a fun experience and you can even hang like Spiderman with one hand and equip any weapon and yes any weapon, shotgun, smg, assault rifles and even a sniper with the other hand, of course at the cost of accuracy.
To fly, simply raise your hands in a T-pose and your wingsuit glider activates. It offers flying in VR with the ability to shoot with any weapon. Just read that sentence again and tell me that is not the coolest thing. Feel like you are missing out from typical COD killstreaks that enable cluster bombing from above ? Well, here is a pro-tip: you can be that air strike. Simply, scavenge out for backpack upgrades that unlock more slots for you to carry items and search for grenades. Then, climb somewhere high till you spot an enemy or coordinate with your squad to ambush them and rain grenades from above! Moreover, flying just makes the game feel more dynamic and fast-paced.
The building mechanic feels inspired from Fortnite but is actually way more simple. Do not worry, there is no fast paced editing required or different types of building structures, it is just a simple wall that is auto-snapped based on where you position your controller. This can be quite a handy feature to build cover if you are in an open area but from my experience in the matches that I have played, the games are too fast paced with the flying to focus on building but it is nice to have that option.
⚠️VR – Comfort 😷
Note that this is a fast paced shooter VR game and thus quick movements like turning around, climbing, and flying may cause motion sickness for some people – motion sickness is a sensation of dizziness, where your body’s sensory organs send mixed messages to your brain, causing dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea and especially since VR is so immersive, it is quite easy to fool your brain into thinking that you are actually on the battle field. Accordingly, there are plenty of comfort options included in the settings to reduce motion sickness such as snap turning with the joysticks rather than smooth motion and even various comfort levels that dims or reduces the FOV, field of view which is is the extent of observable environment you are able to see at any given moment, in certain actions. Personally, I have no problem with motion sickness and thus turned off all the comfort settings. However, my friend who recently tried the game made the mistake of turning off all the comfort settings and got motion sick shortly afterwards. Therefore, if you are new to VR and struggle with motion sickness, then I advise that you approach such fast paced games with caution and use the comfort settings.
Weapons, Bananas & Sodas
As you would expect in a battle royale, you have your usual weapons in your arsenal such as Assault Rifles, Shotguns, SMGs, Snipers and pistols. Moreover, the weapons have different rarity levels that is distinguishable by color with legendary weapons spawning rarely or in special drops that fall to the ground. Reloading is a two step process where you have to load the magazine in and retract the barrel chamber and it does not need accurate control with your hands which is honestly great, feels arcadey and is satisfying. However, it needs some practice in the heat of a battle as I found myself looking down at the weapons quite often to reload. Moreover, you can actually force eject your magazine even when it is not low by clicking the right joystick to ensure you have full ammo before engaging in a fight. Lastly, I would suggest to grip your gun with both hands as that will greatly reduce recoil and give more accurate shots especially if you aim down through the iron sights but you can definitely hipfire if needed.
With respect to healing, the game offers shield power ups, bananas and soda cans. It is those simple things that always make me laugh such as spotting a banana in a distance and having to actually peel it and move it towards my head as if I am eating it to actually replenish my health. Bananas offer immediate health replenishment while soda cans heal slowly over time. If your health depletes, you turn into a ghost spectator which can slowly move towards your team mates. In order to revive downed players, you have to use an electric defibrillator for which you charge up electricity by rubbing them with both of your hands and once it is charged up just simply push them onto the downed player to revive them.
If you love battle royales, then experiencing this fast paced arcade-style shooter in VR is a must. It is a new and an addictive VR shooter that offers freedom of movement with its verticality to climb anything you can see which is unrivaled in other shooters. Gameplay feels smooth and engaging and my review of this game, playing it wirelessly on the Quest 2 ran flawlessly; it is also available on Steam for PC VR, Oculus Home for the Rift and a PSVR port planned for 2021. There are microtransactions but that is purely for cosmetics such as weapon and player skins for which you can easily unlock by playing. Furthermore, the community is great, from my experience, everyone is friendly and willing to help and the coolest thing is that you simply fist bump players to add them as friends! Population: One is definetly one of the best VR battle royale shooters that has a solid foundation and a growing audience which I hope translates to more content being added to the game such as solos mode, a new map and maybe utilizing the Quest 2’s increased power for better textures.
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