E3 2018: Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot Hands-On Impressions


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Fire breathing war machines.

The original Wolfenstein 3D is an iconic FPS that, along with DOOM, helped put first-person shooters on the map. Since its release, murdering Nazis has remained one of the gaming worlds most beloved pastimes, and Bethesda aims to continue the long-running tradition with the release of Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot — its latest VR iteration based off of one of its most successful franchises.

Cyberpilot was first announced during Bethesda’s E3 2018 press conference, and I had an opportunity to go hands-on with the game on the E3 show floor yesterday. Now, a big part of why Wolfenstein is so successful is because of how well it blends over-the-top violence with a thoughtful yet gut-punching narrative of a demented alternate reality in which the Nazi’s won the war. Wolfenstein isn’t just a silly shooter full of blood and gore, it manages to juggle multiple tones very well. Suffice it to say, Cyberpilot doesn’t seem to follow in those elaborate footsteps.

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot isn’t just another on-rails shooter.

Taking place about 20 years after the events of New Colossus, Cyberpilot puts you in the role of a resistance fighter who’s also a hacker. Meaning that instead of blasting through the front door with your trigger finger on turbo, you take control of their war machines and use these machines against them. The demo I played had me piloting a fire-breathing Panzerhund, which is basically a walking tank that breaths fire.

I was happy to find out that this isn’t just another on-rails shooter. I played on an HTC Vive Pro, which gave me the ability to control movement with the left Vive wand’s trackpad and steer the cockpit by moving the right Vive wand sideways across my view. Although the controls were intuitive it still felt a little clunky walking around with the trackpad.

I could see my characters hands inside the cockpit, but they couldn’t interact with any of the HUD elements. I kept getting the urge to pull on the levers and push the buttons, hoping that it would trigger another feature on my war machine, but nothing ever happened. The reasoning for this could be that you’re playing as a hacker and you’re just “virtually” piloting it, but it still left a significant disconnected feeling for the experience in its entirety.

Piloting a giant war machine should make you feel powerful, but I never really got that feeling.

The war machine I used had two attacks: a ramming attack and fire breath. The fire breath had great range and did quite a bit of damage, but also lacked the kind of punch you’d expect from a giant flamethrower. Piloting a giant war machine like the Panzerhund should make you feel powerful, but I never really got that feeling. I would have much rather had missiles or even a machine gun with some recoil and haptic feedback. The fire breath gave me the sense that I was simply just spraying water from a hose.

Bashing things with the ramming attack was fun, but the only bashable items were all the cars laying around in the street. Sometimes, they were even placed conveniently right in front of large groups of enemies.

But that was it — I went through a few dirty streets, lit a bunch of Nazis on fire, and fought a few other mechs. The full game may very well turn out to be better, and I’m especially looking forward to trying out some of the other war machines that will be available, but right now I can’t say that I’m impressed.

There’s still no word on a release date, but Bethesda says that Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is on track for a 2019 release on multiple VR headsets.

For more on Wolfenstein, check out the E3 2018 trailer for Youngblood.

Filip Miucin is IGN’s Nintendo Editor. Find him on Twitter @filipmiucin and every Friday on Nintendo Voice Chat.





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