While navigating the myriad of Harley Quinns, Deadpools, Master Chiefs and Rose Quartzes at New York Comic Con, I eventually happened across John Wick Chronicles. A collaboration between Lionsgate Films and video game maker Starbreeze Studios, Chronicles is a HTC Vive-exclusive that puts players in the shoes of assassin John Wick — just in time for the launch of the first trailer for "John Wick: Chapter 2."
While Starbreeze has yet to set a solid release date, it's a pretty safe bet that it will launch alongside the movie next year. The company is looking to price the game at around $19.99 and has plans to add additional levels to the title to make it a full-blown game similar to its action-packed bank-robbing simulating Payday series. Speaking of Payday, expect to see some John Wick-inspired add-ons including weapons and Mr. Wick himself in Payday 2 in the near future.
Unlike other VR movie tie-in apps, John Wick Chronicles has the makings of a full-blown first-person shooter thanks to Starbreeze. Once I was strapped into the Vive and the game launched, I found myself in a swanky office. A telecom with a large button sat on the desk in front of me and who am I not to press a glowing red button.
Upon pressing the button, I started receiving a briefing, which was quickly interrupted by someone from Wick's past who, from the sounds of it, wasn't too happy with him. From there, the room was filled with the telltale laser sights of sniper rifles and I was forced to go on the defensive. I literally had to kneel down and crawl to the awaiting elevator to find some modicum of safety.
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The elevator took me to the rooftop, where I found a conveniently-place box of guns including an assault rifle, a pair of handguns, two sub-machine guns and a sniper rifle. Since those pesky snipers had followed me to the roof, I thought it only fair to give them a taste of their own medicine, and grabbed the sniper rifle. From there, I sent a few bullet-shaped love letters from my gun to their craniums. However, in order to set up those shots, I had to actually look through the scope, which meant holding the Vive controller that had the gun up to my face to line up the shot. It made for a more realistic experience, especially since I was pinned down in cover.
After getting rid of the snipers, there was the matter of the regular gun-toting goons to address. I tried dual-wielding the SMGs, but couldn't nail the head shots I was looking for so I switched over to the assault rifle. The middle ground between the sniper rifle and SMGs, it afforded me precision and rapid-fire shooting. I cleared out a couple of nests of attackers, including some who made the foolish decision to try to flank my right.
Then, in typical action movie fashion, a helicopter flew overhead with a mini-gun firing baddie. I fired at the brightly-lit propellers and rear rotor to send it crashing to earth and ending the game. Once I finished the level, the game tallied up my kills based on number of kills, accuracy and headshots, which netted me 24,569 points, which wasn't bad, but well off of the 36,381 high score.
Despite spending most of the title on my knees, I had a lot of fun with the action-packed John Wick Chronicles. I love that it gives you the opportunity to be as precise as you want, rewarding that care to murder-detail with a score. The shooting mechanic is smooth and intuitive, which should make it easy for the most novice gamer to get the hang of being an assassin. And I'm not going to lie, seeing that I didn't get the high score, makes me want to play again (and again) until I take the top spot. I'm looking forward to playing more of John Wick Chronicles when it officially launches.