Firewall Ultra review for PlayStation VR2

Platform: PlayStation VR2
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: First Contact Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

(Ed’s Note: This review score has been updated to adhere to our new Numerical Grading system as of 11/10/2023)

Firewall Ultra for the PlayStation VR2 was poised to be the de-facto FPS in VR. Top-notch graphics and immersion promised a shooter experience unlike any other. Unfortunately, what we have here at launch is a far cry from the promises of what could have been.

Firewall Ultra feels like a more traditional flat shooter, poorly adapted for VR. This is an unpleasant feeling for a game that was built from the ground up to BE a VR shooter. One of the big drives to VR, and something that is almost universally hailed as a key component of a good game, is the ability to interact with things in the environment. With Firewall Ultra, all of that has been stripped away in favor of button presses, which taints the experience. Almost all interaction in Firewall Ultra is tied to the same button, the L1 button.

Opening doors, grabbing ammo, using the laptops, reviving teammates, it is ALL tied to the same button. On top of that, reloading is ALSO a button press, followed by an animation that you have no control over, which is surprisingly jarring when your hands all of a sudden start operating on their own, then return to your “control” seconds later. Throwing a grenade? Press a button and look where you want your character to lob it. Want to aim down the sights of your gun? Well you *can* try and do it the traditional VR way and bring the gun to your face, but if you want to have any type of accuracy, you have to press an ADS button. This all serves as a very real, very frustrating roadblock to enjoying Firewall Ultra.

The game itself is somewhat barebones here at launch, with only 8 maps and 2 real game modes to speak of, Firewall Ultra was set to succeed or fail on the back of the actual gameplay. With that being so underwhelming, the shortcomings of the actual game become even more apparent. Matches are typically lightning-fast, followed by extended downtime between games. This further heightens the feeling of tedium that permeates almost all of Firewall Ultra.

In addition to all of that, progression is abysmally slow. Unlocking new weapons and attachments is a grind that I don’t see ANYONE investing in, at least not as it is now. This is something that I foresee getting patched out very quickly, with adjustments being almost mandatory if they want folks to stick with Firewall Ultra for any length of time, which they very clearly do!

There is already a roadmap for post-launch content in place, and the team at First Contact clearly wants to make this game something incredible. There is the foundation of what could be a great VR title here, with some neat mechanics only possible on the PlayStation VR2. Eye tracking is a big one, and when you are ADS-ing, if you close your non-dominant eye, the game recognizes this and pulls the sight closer, mimicking real-life aiming. While this doesn’t ALWAYS work out correctly, and occasionally bugs out and sends the sight off into space, it was a pretty effective mechanic for long-range engagements.

The PvP, 4v4 competitive mode is clearly the “main” game mode here, but there is a PvE mode that functions somewhat similarly, although against large groups of AI-controlled opponents. This is co-op and can be played with other people on your team working together against the AI. This game mode is a blast, and I am honestly excited to try more of it out if I can link up with some friends and get some time in on it.

I will be transparent and say that I have only spent about 5 hours with Firewall Ultra at the time of this writing, and have not had the ability to link up with friends or colleagues yet, so all of my time has been spent with random party members online. That 5 hours has been something of a chore though, and I was ready to step away within the very first hour of time with Firewall Ultra. As I said earlier, there is definitely something here, and an adjustment to environmental interaction, reloading, and the combat engagements itself could turn this around. Unfortunately, as it stands here now, I cannot truly recommend this as a VR game worth spending your time and money on, at least not yet.

Note: Sony Interactive Entertainment provided us with a Firewall Ultra PS5 code for review purposes.

Score: 6