During the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018 Bethesda had three virtual reality (VR) titles to talk about one of which was Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot. For 2019 only Cyberpilot returned with no other VR titles even mentioned. Thankfully, the studio did have new content to share, showcasing how development had progressed.
Just like the rest of the franchise Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot still pits you against Nazis in an alternate universe where they won the second World War. This time however you get to control a selection of Nazi war machines, turning these instruments of death against their creators.
2018s demo featured a Panzerhund; a large mechanical dog equipped with a flamethrower, while for 2019 Bethesda showcased a giant walking mech, outfitted with a machine gun on the right hand and a rocket launcher on the left. Gameplay hasn’t actually changed that much in the past year, with Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot offering a linear environment design in where you walk through a war-torn city wiping out all the enemy foes.
The mech has the exact same control scheme as the Panzerhund, with the left HTC Vive touchpad providing movement controls while the right controller handles turning. There are a few small differences, however. As you’re controlling a mech you find yourself sat inside a cockpit, with a selection of light dotted around the frame indicating health and weapon overheat. When managed correctly using a nice burst of fire rather than holding down the trigger overheating shouldn’t be a problem. Other neat features included a temporary shield which could be activated for short periods via a big red button and the healing mechanic. Take too many hits and you can completely heal the mech back to full strength, the only problem is that you’re complete defenceless whilst doing so.
The gameplay is very much a destroy everything affair, an action romp that’s easy to get to grips with and comfortable to play. Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is a lot slower than its flat screen brethren, offering nowhere near the same intensity and flavour. That begin said, it offers a different approach which the series hasn’t necessarily seen before. Thankfully, it’s not on rails, so you can wander around and take your own approach through the narrow streets.
Enemies came in three main designs, the standard trooper who tended to stay in place with their mates providing perfect fodder for the minigun. Then there were the mid-tier dudes, mechanically augmented to take more damage and deal more out; clever strafing and a few well-aimed missiles sort them out. And then there were the really big foes, appearing towards the end of the demo, these require careful management of all systems to bring them down.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot might be a VR title putting you inside war machines but the essence of the franchise is in many ways still there. VRFocus has now experienced two of its segments and currently like what has been showcased so far. Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is now scheduled for release on 26th July 2019, supporting Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, so there isn’t too long to wait to see how the entire experience turns out.