There is no shortage of shooting games for Meta VR headsets. The left and hand controls seem to be specifically designed to mimic the feel of carrying two pistols or the trigger and pump of the rifle. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to find great shooting tools in VR.
Robo Recall and Robo Recall Unplugged, both among the first Oculus Rift and Quest games, respectively, set really high standards when they came out — and not just for wave shooter games. They harnessed the full potential of Oculus hardware to deliver crisp and immersive graphics, responsive controls, and uncompromising actions that are challenging and operable years after their release.
So why has no one tried to produce a supplement? Stephen Hawking taught us that robots with cognitive abilities are destined to disobey their programs and try to control humanity. The inevitable recollection of the bot we thought we put down five years ago will happen again and I can’t wait any longer for Epic Games and/or the Meta to happen.
The Meta Rift and Quest versions of Robo Recall are the same story-based shooter game in which players take on the role of Agent 34, a corporate summoner for Roboready. The game begins with a scary first-person cinematic scene where you stand amid a crowd of assistive robots watching a breaking news story about a sudden robot uprising on a TV screen in a street-level store window. As the details unfold, the robots begin to stare at you because something beyond their programming is making them turn against their human masters.
The place is called City Center, and it’s an urban landscape of streets, alleys, and rooftops that looks like something out of Walt Disney’s original plans for EPCOT. You’ll roam across nine maps, completing various missions that include shooting rogue robots in the face, ripping them apart with your hands, throwing them at each other or into a Roboready carrier for further study.
The goal couldn’t be simpler than a shooting game. If something tries to shoot you, you shoot them back as fast and as creatively as you can for higher multipliers and your overall score. So, what makes them so special?
Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun
The main function of Robo Recall is shooting. Although you only have the very basic arsenal of pistols, shotguns, pistols and machine guns at your disposal, there is more than one way to sabotage a defective robot in this game.
You start with a pair of guns that you hold from your left and right hips like a western gunslinger and you can use two guns at once for maximum damage and multiplayer. Your score doesn’t just depend on how many robots you kill or how accurately you send them. Increase your multiplayer by holding their lifeless skeleton in the air to get a series of “Juggler” and “Kneecap” bots bonuses before taking them out by “heading” and grabbing the bots by their chest handles and dislodging their arms or heading out for a “Beatdown” bonus “. The potential for funny achievements and abilities is limitless.
You can unlock more weapons as you progress through levels and earn special upgrades like increasing ammo capacity, muzzles and laser sights for your guns by completing achievements like high scores, shooting accuracy and time completion. So even if you’ve completed the basic story line, the challenge of improving your skills creates more playability that doesn’t feel old even if you’re starting from scratch for the fifth or sixth time. Just imagine how much play you could get out of if the game was longer.
There is also a combat system that you can use to improve your attack when the bots start to pile up on you. You can throw bots at each other, which is useful in levels where you need to collect as few bots as possible in allotted time period by throwing them into a conveyor without killing them. You can turn bullets, gunshots and laser blasts into your enemies by blocking them with your guns. You can catch a bullet mid-air and return it to them for an impressive kill and a “Back to Sender” bonus. You can grab and throw incoming missiles to kill my patients. There are even some robots that transform into powerful weapons when you hold or control them.
Go get it, tiger!
New consoles or VR headsets need simple games that can show gamers what their technology can offer when they first enter the market. Robo Recall was one of the first games for Oculus headphones that aimed to do just that using Epic’s Unreal Engine.
But it’s clear that Epic Games and Oculus put a lot of work and heart into something that made it more than just a launch experience. They have created something that is a cross between Isaac Asimov’s films and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, and prove how easy or immersive virtual reality can be for gamers.
The atmosphere and style of the game don’t take themselves seriously. The game is narrated by two voices: a cool audio commentary, an account called Dolores who outlines instructions for each mission, and a colorful, hyper-exciting commentator named Philip who puts out phrases and exclamations for his best kills and moves. It’s like a PG version of Duke Nukem with the booming voice of episode announcer Michael Buffer. Philip’s lines are repeated sometimes but you are too immersed in the action to notice and it always gives you a confidence boost and a good chuckle.
Pretty much all the dialogue is pure satire and comedy. The robots sing “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do” as their life force drains. Dolores speaks like a weak-willed boss trying to encourage her employees under the whims of her corporate masters. Odin, the game’s deep-voiced and rocket-propelled boss, is fiercely determined not only to take over humanity but also to rule the internet like a tyrant vows to “delete both of you like an embarrassing tweet”.
It sounds like you’re into a Douglas Adams online novel, and if the right writer comes along, they can create an expanded world that tackles very real technological concerns in a fun and engaging way.
Someone needs to issue another summon
Robo Recall may not have been designed to be a full-fledged franchise like Fortnite, another Epic Games title launched in 2017 that achieved Many More cultural influence. The more obscure VR title, though, feels like the start of something more.
It has a witty story that lays a dystopian foundation for a cynical world where our worst fears about artificial intelligence and automation came true at once and are likely to happen again.
It delivers immersive levels in minute detail that you don’t even notice until you play them often like the correct time on the office elevator floor screen or the wonderful responses given by Philip and Odin in the heat of battle.
It has an arsenal of stylish and slick guns that Apple seems to have entered the gunsmithing business. The only difference is that these guns work and you don’t have to sacrifice house payments to get them.
The original Robo Recall might still be playable after all these years, but there’s still potential for an expanded sequel with more levels, locations, and single-step moves for better kills and executions.
The most likely reason we don’t get the Robo Recall supplement is the cost. Fortnite is a financial giant compared to Robo Recall; The cost of pumping resources into a VR experience that won’t reach a large number of people is unlikely to be inefficient. But that’s a shame, because there’s something special about Robo Recall that seems far from over. Every time I complete the game, I feel like I want more.
I never wanted a robot uprising to happen this much.