At the start of a shooter, you'll often get to some segment where the main character must train their skills at a firing range. Lethal VR is like the virtual reality equivalent of that, basically serving as a firing range for you to get used to shooting guns and throwing knives in VR while chasing high scores. Did I feel prepared for the shooting ahead, or did Lethal VR leave me feeling vulnerable?
Lethal VR consists of a series of shooting ranges where you need to take out targets. None of the targets shoot back, they're just all cardboard cut outs, floating plates, bottles, Roman statues, and other easy and satisfying targets. The shooting is really going to be the key to this game, and the good news is that it feels right. For most challenges, you'll either get a pistol or a submachine gun (or sometimes two, one for each hand) and all you have to do is point and shoot. Aiming down my sights worked well, and I was almost always hitting what I felt like I should. On the other hand, sometimes you get throwing knives where you have to let go of the trigger while flicking the controller. I could never get this mechanic to work reliably, and it felt like my knives were constantly going off in random directions.
There are several rankings of challenges, and you'll need to complete a certain amount of challenges of each rank to keep progressing. You unlock challenges in the same rank by scoring high enough in other challenges. Overall, if you just play each challenge once, you've got maybe an hour of challenges total. The real purpose, of course, is to keep hitting the challenges to get more and more points until you get a "lethal" ranking. Whether that's actually worth getting is going to depend on the player.
Each challenge is different, though most of them are some form of either shooting enough targets in time or throwing enough knives into targets in time. Challenges do get a little more unique later on, such as one challenge which put red and blue targets in front of me. I could only shoot red ones with my right hand and only blue with the left. Another had me have to pick out cardboard targets of civilians and similar looking targets that are hiding guns. Yet for every unique challenge, there's several "shoot all the targets" between them, something that's a bit of a shame.
Each ranking also has one special challenge that gives you access to a unique gun. These guns are often based off of famous guns in movies. The golden gun, Dirty Harry's revolver, Oddjob's hat, Robocop's Auto 9, and others. It was cool to get to use them, but they weren't any different from any other gun in the game. They just had different ammo counts and that's about it, and each one is limited to the one special challenge and nothing else.
To Lethal VR's credit, as a firing range meant to train accuracy it actually does seem to work. When I finished playing the game I popped in another VR shooter with similar mechanics, The Brookhaven Experiment, to see how I did. Sure enough, I actually found my accuracy scores to be a dramatic improvement over what they used to be. Could I have just played a lot of The Brookhaven Experiment to get better? Probably. It was just cool to see that Lethal VR worked for its intended purpose.
Unfortunately, the late game levels begin to take on some dubious design decisions. Levels would tell me to "not shoot civilians", but apparently the civilian targets are the exact same as regular targets (even holding guns!) but painted red instead of black. You're just supposed to know the difference without anyone mentioning it. The game also has some unfortunate glitches, the most common of which being targets either not falling over/exploding when shot (despite being counted as shot), or targets just not being counted when shot. Both of these situations lead to confusion and wasted ammo. There's also some weird quirks, like being able to shoot guns long before the reload animations are even over. With this type of game, it's hard to know if that kind of glitch is intentional or not.
There's not much to say about Lethal VR graphically. Everything looks fine, but you spend the entire game in one room. There are only a few different kinds of targets, and most of them just fall over when shot rather than anything interesting. Guns that can be fired burst or full auto feel extremely underwhelming: after the first shot there's no muzzle flash or noise when firing leading to a strange feeling of not actually shooting the gun. Normally I'd talk about the soundtrack now, but there is none: all you get is silence between gunshots. I assume so this is so you can hear targets coming out of the ground around you, but even the menus, title screen, and options are all just silent.
I really wish there was more to Lethal VR because I feel like it has a good base. It just lacks the content to back it up, and it needs to have some of its designs reevaluated. I can honestly appreciate how this VR firing range actually improved my accuracy in other VR games, but I don't think I want to actually hang out here more than I needed to.
Lethal VR actually did work as a shooting range, as I discovered with other games. It's just that, as a game, there's not much else, and what's here is dragged down by glitches and repetition.
- Actually Works as a Shooting Range
- Classic Weapons
- Good Mechanics
- Sparse and Repetitive Content
- No Soundtrack