Epic Games -- when you absolutely, positively need a knock-your-socks-off, triple-A title for your platform's launch, accept no substitutes. The renowned developer's latest contribution to video-game greatness is called Bullet Train and is a virtual-reality-exclusive title.
At its surface, the Unreal-engine-powered game seems like your average first-person shooter. That notion was quickly dispelled after I began the demonstration and learned that I had teleportation powers.
Triggered by pressing one of the face buttons on the Oculus Touch controllers, a small portal appeared and instantly was moved to wherever I aimed. Once activated, the resulting portal also caused time to slow down, creating a makeshift bullet-time effect. The power could also be used to transport enemies to my position for instant dispatching.
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Although teleporting hither and yon is fun, this wouldn't be an FPS without a few guns. Bullet Train offers a fairly familiar variety of firearms, including a pistol, a shotgun and an assault rifle. There are also a few grenades that you can virtually lob at hostiles.
So back to the mission. I disembark from a train into a station full of heavily-armed soldiers. It's time to go to work. I quickly teleport to a trash can across the platform, where a pair of pistols and a grenade are oh-so-conveniently placed. Quickly picking up both guns, I fire off a few rounds at the approaching enemy forces.
After clearing out that wave, I quickly teleport to another position, grab a shotgun and use a portal to move behind a pair of hostiles for a quick kill. I use my power on a nearby combatant and make swift work of him before moving on to my next target.
At this point in the demo, the OculusVR rep monitoring my progress informs me that I have the ability to catch bullets and throw them back at the enemy. Once the realization of his words sink in, I do indeed reach out towards the bullets coming at me and pluck one from the sky.
As I fling the bullet into a nearby hostile, I realize that I'm Neo. I'm the One. Okay, maybe that's going too far, but catching errant bullets and throwing them back at enemy combatants makes you feel like a bad-ass.
The feeling of great power only intensified when a huge flying robot appeared to begin the boss battle. After attempting to shoot the mechanical monster and getting nowhere, I noticed that the load of missiles it was sending my way were moving at a similar pace as the bullets. A huge smile came across my face as I grabbed a missile and lobbed it into the robot's face. Six more well-placed hits, the robot exploded into a pile of rubble and I came to the end of the demo.
Overall, Bullet Train is ridiculously fun to play, once you get the hang of it. The dual-trigger setup on the Oculus Touch controller is a natural fit to mimic holding and shooting guns. However, incorporating the teleport but into the fray can be somewhat unintuitive, especially when the action gets hot and heavy. I dropped my shotgun several times while attempting to shoot and teleport simultaneously.
Epic has yet to announce a release a date for Bullet Train. But I'm willing to bet this will be one of the Oculus Rift's launch titles. The game's fun, interactive mechanics are exhilarating and make you feel like a superhero. It's the perfect way to bring Oculus to the masses.