STEP UP AND PLAY!
I figured it would only be a matter of time before the nostalgia factor came head to head with the virtual reality, something that has already been touched upon in Doom VFR with the inclusion of the retro levels, however Operation Warcade takes it a step further by championing the glory days of the video game arcade! Developed by Barcelona based Ivanovich Games, Operation Warcade takes a unique approach to the retro arcade light gun games of days gone by with an impressive mechanical execution but hits some extremely serious lows with its art style with PS1 graphics that appear to be more outdated than sentimental.
As I mentioned Operation Warcade takes place in an arcade. And much to this games detriment and regardless of the less than sub-par character models makes a memorable and familiar atmosphere of how it used to be in that sort of environment, with crowds of excited people gathered around each machine. You however, can only use one. A cabinet called Operation Warcade an ode to war shooters which many have likened to Operation Wolf, with an Uzi shaped light gun attached to it.
I hate to sound harsh but in the long and short of it, Operation Warcade really isn’t all that much to look at. Though I found occasional splendour in its use of virtual reality the murky textures, dull layouts and forgettable environments which range from deserts, jungles and cities, ultimately hinder a fun little title. The underwhelming landscapes go hand in hand with the rigid and soulless character models (both in the game and in the arcade) along with gunfire and explosions that have about as much impact as an Adam Sandler Netflix movie. You even get a closer look at the battlefield in the Immersion Points, an absolute fantastic addition from a gameplay perspective but something that only makes Operation Warcade’s archaic short comings even more noticeable.
Now from one extreme to another, Operation Warcade is a hell of a lot more fun to play than to witness. First of all, the variety of controllers that this game is compatible with is a breath of fresh air as you can either use your Dualshock, Move or Aim controller a fantastic addition that keeps different gamers needs in mind. The game works as a sort of rail shooter that goes continuously left to right in each level, as you gun down enemy soldiers, vehicles, tanks and helicopters in an endless bullet barrage. The trouble is that despite the change of environments and a new challenge every now and then, each stage starts to become a little samey after a while and the sluggish conveyor belt like movement of the whole thing can make progression feel awfully monotonous, but the challenges that is set through each mission which accumulate medals which go to upgrading and buffing your equipment which gives each level a little more purpose other than shoot down the bad guys. These can include, get a number of head shots, take down so many people with one grenade, save prisoners etc and brings a sense of replayability to this game.
Operation Warcade’s highest point comes from the Immersion Points. At certain points in each level you will come across a box that when shot will transport you into the game itself and get up close and personal for a short amount of time. not only does the gameplay change significantly and ranges from piloting jets and ground vehicles, sniping the enemy from afar, taking them down with a bow and arrow or just standard combat, but it’s also where the use of VR comes into its own, with enemy soldiers coming at you thick and fast giving a sense of hectic exhilaration to the whole ordeal.As you are playing you can lean your head forward and peer into the arcade screen to see more of your environment which is also a very nice touch, and there is also an identical arcade cabinet to your right that offers the game in a more traditional perspective.