If you’ve always wanted to play a true competitive first-person shooter in virtual reality from the comfort of your own home, well, now you can.
Thirdverse has launched a brand new competitive FPS experience, X8, all in VR and it runs on the device you own, no PC required.
As someone who has no VR experience and didn’t own a VR headset, I was sent a Meta Quest 3 so that I could test the game. With that in mind, this review is based on my own thoughts and I was not paid or asked to be positive in any way.
I’m going to share my immediate thoughts after jumping into a game with the developers.
X8 brings hero tactical shooters into virtual reality in style
Getting into exactly what X8 is, to me I was immediately reminded of Riot Games’ Valorant. At it’s core it’s a 5v5 tactical shooter with character based abilities.
The goal of the offensive side is to deploy “the syphon” (bomb/spike) at specific spots on the map (sites) which are meant to be defended by the opposing team who will need to defuse the syphon should it be armed.
There are quite a few heroes to choose from, all having three unique abilities and hero-specific items to make them feel even more differentiated. I tried out a hero that was eerily similar to Cypher from Valorant with a trip wire, reveal, and all that you’d expect.
Jumping into the gameplay experience, the game is incredibly smooth. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the performance of the game which I never saw dip below 70 frames per second, and it felt even better than that. Had I not looked at the FPS, I would have thought it was actually higher.
Even at times where there was a lot going on with gun fire, smokes, and other abilities, the game’s smoothness never came into question for me.
Graphically, it’s solid. It’s VR, so it’s not exactly the same fidelity of playing a high end game on your PC, but it holds up well for what it is.
There’s variety in not only the heroes, but also in the weapons and how you use them. You can dual wield essentially anything if you want to, but like with any shooter, controlling the recoil is the deterrent.
I tried a rifle, a big SMG, and a pistol, and each felt and looked unique. You’re able to hip fire or bring the weapon up into an aim-down-sight position which helps to tighten your spread for a more accurate shot.
In terms of movement, you can walk, sprint, and crouch which opens up different possibilities for positioning, rotating between sites, and more.
One of the cool aspects of VR is that you really do have to participate in multiple areas of the game yourself rather than just with the stroke of a button.
If you want to reload, you gotta drop your mag, reach over your shoulder to grab a new one, and then move to slot it into your weapon. Want to pull and throw your knife? Then reach down, grab your knife, and let it rip.
I’m a fan of bringing the player into the game, and I think X8 does a good job of this.
In terms of cost, well X8 is free-to-play. The team plans to make money via in-game skins, which they showed me their first one, and it’s very cool. The weapon gets its own look as well as unique animations for shooting and more.
My one major issue is one that not everyone will face, and it’s a problem with any fast moving VR experience — the motion sickness. The motion sickness that attempting to play a competitive first-person shooter brought on to me was brutal.
I made it through the session, but ended up laying down for an hour afterwards and still felt it in waves throughout the day. I get motion sickness from rollercoasters, flying on a plane, reading things in the car, etc. so if that sounds like you, be prepared.
The developers and others on the internet have shared that a lot of the time, if you play in short bouts, you’ll potentially build up the ability to play without the consequences. If you’re up for working through it, I say go for it!
Overall, I think the game played great, had plenty of variety in almost every aspect, and performs well. If you’re looking for a competitive FPS, I’d definitely suggest giving X8 a try.