League of War VR Arena puts you at the head of the action as a battle commander on a VR battle table. League of War gives you the task of engaging in open conflict against your opponent standing at the other end of the table. It is a pretty cool setup. You are in a war room with the table in front of you, and using the PlayStation Move controller, you can pick and choose your units of choice to roll out and assault your opponent’s base.
In a nutshell, the objective of the game is simple and therein partly lies the problem. The core gameplay remains highly unchanged throughout the entire game and I believe this is could be damaging to the life of the title.
The title contains 13 trophies, so not a huge challenge to collect them all for any trophy hunters out there. Most of these are obtainable by completing each character’s story path.
We are given 2 game modes: Campaign and Arcade. Campaign puts you in the shoes of one of 9 different characters, all with their own hollow story. There isn’t really any difference between them, apart from which units you start out with.
Arcade mode is essentially exactly the same as campaign, but rather than be given a predefined opponent, you can choose who to face off with and even play with a friend. This is achieved by you using the VR and Move controllers, and player 2 using the Dual-Shock and TV screen.
Whilst in battle you will have 5 pads in front of you: 1 for each unit type, and also 4 towers that make up your base. On the unit pads you are able to see a ring that goes around it and a hologram of the unit assigned to the plate. Once the ring fills up, the unit becomes solid and you are able to place it onto the table.
The game has no tutorial… OK, yeah, it’s pretty simple, but with the rock, paper, scissors mechanic on all the units, it would be useful to have some insight on what unit counters what. Not to mention that a mechanic that becomes an essential part of the gameplay further in, is never mentioned. I actually discovered it by accident: if you hold the trigger down on the unit you require, it diverts all your building resources to build it quicker.
The units can essentially be broken down into 5 categories: foot soldier, recon unit, tank, artillery and aircraft. I found the most dominating unit to be the aircraft. They build super quick and pretty much wreck any other unit on the battlefield, but this has its downside…. If you play as a character that doesn’t have aircraft or gets them very late on in the story, the battle is hard (and not in a fun, challenging way). In addition to this, every time you fail (and you will a lot), you have to hear the same dialogue over and over again. This can also lead to some unwanted frustration as the characters’ dialogue, poor accents and big headed remarks can be very grating after a while!
Within the game, every completion or defeat grants medals. These can be used in the game’s Arcade mode to purchase units, and build a squad setup of your choosing. This is as about as far as the title goes in the way of customisation, which is a real shame as it would be interesting to have a few more custom options to really make the units feel like your own, and possibly to add more life to the game as you try to grind out a specific unlock.
For a title aimed at tactical warfare, it has very little option for you to use said tactics. For example, the foot soldier is sent out and directed to shoot a helicopter (for some reason this works really well). Once that is complete you then have no control over it and the AI takes hold of your unit. This can lead to some, quite frankly, annoying situations where a unit that is strong at taking down aircraft will ignore the other aircraft right next to it, and punch a tank instead.
I also encountered what I believe to be a bug in the game. I repeatedly had an issue when trying to speed build units. The game seemed to loose the tracking of the Move Controller when held still. This caused the hologram hand you see on screen to go flying all over the show. Not ideal when your base is being rushed by enemy units and you need to build something to defend it quickly, but are unable to because the game thinks your hand is orbiting Mars!
My conclusion on the game is that despite the bugs and issues mentioned above, when it plays, it plays fairly well, and is enjoyable for the first hour or so. The title gets dry real quick however, and it’s exactly the same gameplay with a different voiceover boasting about how good they are in battle.
Points for improvement would be the inclusion of a tutorial and maybe some different game modes to keep things interesting, like Arcade mode being a points based system, so you can maybe set some to scores, quickest victory, etc.
League of War is available on the PS store now for £18.99 but you may be best waiting for a sale before parting with your hard earned cash.