MachineGames and Arkane Studios recently released two smaller Wolfenstein titles. Wolfenstein: Youngblood brought the daughters of BJ Blazkowicz into the spotlight for a co-op shooter. On the other side, they developed a VR title with Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot. While the campaign isn’t as long as Youngblood, Cyberpilot does offer a fun enough VR experience in the Wolfenstein world. Whether that’s worth the low price of admission, that may depend on you.
Players will take control of an unnamed hacker who works with the French Resistance. Involuntarily, the hacker finds herself taken into the cyberpilot program by two scientists, Marie and Jemma. Providing instructions to the hacker, Marie helps them prepare enemy robots to use in a 1980 Nazi-occupied Paris, France. It’s a simple enough premise that allows the player to follow enough during the relatively short campaign.
Starting out in a resistance facility, players will first be given a rundown of some of the basic controls. There’s various objects, switches and levers to interact with, and assuming you have the space, it works very well. Players will have to go through this facility while strapped to a chair between each mission. The facility has four levels to move between, each with different purposes. Enemy robots get prepared on the bottom floor while the top floor allows the player to pilot them in missions. The second and third floor are more for story purposes, like putting together objects or playing with toys collected through the campaign.
A lot of the facility time will be spent in the bottom floor, where players will get up close and personal with the machines they’ll pilot. In the game, there are three total robots. First, the Panzerhund, a large robotic dog with a flamethrower and a charging tackle. The second is the stealthy drone, which can fly and cloak itself, using a disintegration shock to defeat enemies. Finally, there’s the Zitadelle, the hulking mech with a gatling gun and a missle launcher. Players will hack, reprogram, and repair all these robots to prepare them for missions against the enemy. It works well enough, even if it’s mainly an excuse to see iconic Wolfenstein robots in full detail.
Once the robots are prepared, players can move up to the top floor to take their position as cyberpilot. Before playing with each robot, players will run through a virtual simulation. Controls between the three are essentially the same, using the same movement for the most part. The drone is the only exception, with the ability to ascend and descend by aiming the right motion controller. Aside from this, each one has different weapons and each have an emergency button to unleash a special ability. The developers made a creative way to heal by docking the right controller to activate healing drones when not under fire. It works surprisingly well and make for a good break between the action.
The campaign will take roughly and hour and a half to complete. It’s simple enough, starting with the Panzerhund to torch Nazis in the streets of Paris. From time to time, you’ll fight other enemy robots, which pose a more formidable challenge. The drone will be the most unique, having more of a stealthy segment, as it can go down pretty easily from enemy fire. Finally, the Zitadelle is the tank of the group, mowing down enemies and completing objectives with ease. The final mission makes the player switch between all three at pivotal moments. It feels like the developers wanted it to feel seamless, but it doesn’t really come across that way.
Action aside, some of the best moments are the quiet times at the facility. Interacting with the various objects can be a bit fun on its own, though only briefly. The presentation of the game gives off a mood that fits the Wolfenstein universe. Marie is the only voice players will really hear and she gives a well enough performance that’s believable and serious. Graphically, the game looks great, though environments will feel a bit repetitive aside from the occasional Tron-like virtual rooms. It’s clear this was mainly a quick project to get Bethesda another IP into the VR space. Usually this has gone well for them, but Cyberpilot feels like a one-and-done experience.
Games like Fallout 4 VR, Skyrim VR and even Doom VFR have enough appeal to stand alone. Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot isn’t a bad game, but the content pushes it just barely above the tech demo level. If there was just a bit more to work with, it might be better. There is one final push at the end that was pretty cool, but it needed more of it. Unfortunately, it falls a bit short, with just the campaign on three difficulty levels. At least it’s quick and easy trophies/achievements. Either way, you’d have to be a pretty big Wolfenstein fan to justify the purchase, even at $20.