My continued love for rail shooters has only been strengthened by virtual reality. One of the best things to come out of the VR craze (at least for me) is the temporary revival of the genre while people are still busy figuring out how movement works best. Mortal Blitz is another entry to the genre, and it attempts to mix things up by giving you a whip to pull around enemies and objects. Does this change help improve the genre, or should you call off this blitz?
If you ask me to summarize the plot of Mortal Blitz for you then I'm going to stare at you blankly. The best I could figure out is that you play as a soldier named Yuhei who is a member of a rebel group called "ex-F.O.R.C.E." that is trying to bring down the evil government. The government is, naturally, making biological weapons and missiles because... well I'm sure they have a reason. It's slapped together quickly and told in weirdly lengthy incomprehensible chunks with some hilariously terrible voice acting (one of the characters can't pronounce the word "barracks" correctly, despite her insistence on constantly saying it), so don't worry if you end up missing the entire plot of the game. It's not really the focus.
In a very basic sense, Mortal Blitz works like any arcade rail shooter. You get a pistol in each of your hands, you duck behind cover to avoid attacks, and you need to shoot at enemies while they attack you. It handles all of this pretty well, and I had a lot of fun just shooting at enemies. Unfortunately what the game lacks are those big set piece moments you see in arcade games. Most of the time, the levels are all very similar to each other: you shoot some enemies and teleport to the next spot where you'll shoot more enemies. There's no unique situations or boss fights to help change things up.
Mortal Blitz's attempt at a big game changer comes in the form of an electric whip. At any time, you can unequip your weapon in either hand and use the whip instead. You can use this whip to pull objects in the environment towards you and can either hang onto them to use as a shield or throw them at enemies to deal damage. You can also pick up grenades or other weapons you find on the ground in order to expand your arsenal.
While the whips are already fun on their own, you can combine them with your enemies to perform a Groggy Finish. When an enemy is low on health they become stunned and you can grab them with a whip, pulling them through the air and turning the game to slow motion for a few moments. At this point, you want to put as many bullets into this enemy as possible. You'll be awarded points depending on how much damage you do, naturally, but it also causes the enemy to drop health pickups and power-ups that you're going to want as you continue to advance through the levels. The system is honestly an interesting idea, but I feel like it could have been used for so much more. At the current time, it's just not as fleshed out as it needs to be to truly be a game changer.
The campaign lasts about an hour, and you'll go through some extremely similar locations during that time. Most of the campaign seems to involve alternating between two areas: trains and medical facilities. You'll fight on a train to get to a medical facility so you can fight on another train that takes you to another medical facility that leads to more of the same. It lacks really interesting locations that are often present in rail shooters. Once you finish the campaign you can replay it on harder difficulties, and you also unlock a training arena where you can go through fifty challenges of trying to shoot orbs out of the air under a time limit. Mortal Blitz is a bit light on content, but I did at least enjoy most of what I played.
Unfortunately, Mortal Blitz doesn't really do enough to distinguish itself from the crowd. It's not bad mind you, in fact I genuinely enjoyed my time playing it. The shootouts were fun and the Groggy Finish system was enjoyable if not entirely fleshed out enough to be more than "shoot people flying through the air in slow motion for a reward." The game ends with a notice saying more is coming, and I hope that's the truth. If what does come in the future improves on what's already here, it could turn out great.
Mortal Blitz was reviewed on PlayStation VR using a copy purchased by the reviewer.
Mortal Blitz is a perfectly fun on-rails shooter that doesn't do enough to distinguished itself from other on-rails shooters available on the market. Still, if you enjoy the genre, you'll probably get an hour or two of fun out of it.(Review Policy)
- Basic Gameplay is Fun
- Groggy Finish is a Cool Idea
- Story is Nonsensical, Poorly Acted
- Short Length
- Systems Not Fleshed Out Enough