League of War: VR Arena (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 03.12.2017

Review for League of War: VR Arena on PlayStation 4

League of War: Mercenaries was a mobile title that was centred on strategy and resources. It was a humble game with some impressive 3D graphics which looked great on-the-go, but pretty much is unheard of on consoles. With PlayStation VR, plenty of developers have been experimenting with their properties and now League of War: VR Arena is aiming to bring the RTS action to a virtual table-top. Cubed enters the VR arena, but is it an arena worth entering?

Between the stereotypical nationalities represented for each of the war lords, League of War: VR Arena does not have much personality. The overall look of the setting is like a day-glow G.I. Joe, which is fitting given how the small units resemble toys. Like most titles made with Unity, it's unable to escape the somewhat cheap look that is associated with this particular engine. There is a noticeable lack of shaders and photographic effects, compounded with the flat lighting, and makes for a very plain looking video game.

Things like soft focus for example; an effect that has been around in console games as early as the PlayStation 2, are not that advanced, and in a game that involves miniature tanks and soldiers one would think to have this effect used. It isn't like Unity cannot do this effect - it actually can... but perhaps it was an artistic choice? VR Arena is not an ugly title, though. It is actually rather decent looking from a technical point since it is a VR game; expect for its very generic art direction. League of War: VR Arena is a VR game that uses two PS Move wands to simulate hands, so that the user can conduct a war with miniature units.

The units are implied to be representations of full-scale artillery, and flesh and blood soldiers that get deployed as directed by the player. With both commanders effectively facing each other and using a simulated field which is the main game space, they throw forces upon forces of military might against each other until all defences are depleted. This set-up, though overly simplistic, is a logical list of rules and would require some deep strategy to compliment the straightforward goal. The problem is VR Arena has no real depth or strategy to it at all.

Screenshot for League of War: VR Arena on PlayStation 4

Each battle has already preselected the unit types to be used for the skirmish. The war itself is completely automated, with the only two inputs the user has is deploying the unit or redirecting the recharge time. The only thinking involved is knowing what troop or combat vehicle to aim in a direction. Even then there is no guarantee that the direction will be followed because in war, anything goes. After deployment, it is out of control and the only thing left to do is pray things turn out ok. In one instance where a battle may be infuriatingly difficult and after retrying eight times, the ninth retry the battle will be won seemingly with little effort regardless of strategy. This is the real problem with the gameplay: it relies so much on luck and randomized variables.

The implementation of the PSVR is effective in League of War: VR Arena, even if the gameplay is completely shallow and fruitless. The gesture of picking up little tanks or soldiers and aiming them feels natural and intuitive. Many PSVR games that use the PS Move wands tend to have the virtual hands flicker and waver, giving the impression of faulty hardware. VR Arena does not have this common issue at all and the 1:1 movement is steady and tight. For all its game design flaws, this is a very polished and smooth running VR experience.

There are a ton of battles in the campaign which gives it long legs. The problem is the shallow gameplay overstays its welcome really quickly. There is a bit of grinding involved too, undoubtedly this is the vestigial remnants from League of War's origins as a mobile game. Every battle, won or lost, nets medals, which are spent in a store where various upgrades for the units can be bought. The interface to navigate these menus are needlessly complex for the simple act of picking something off them. It is visualized as holo-pages and selections like when Tom Cruise did sleuthing in Minority Report. It can be overly involving when perusing the catalogue of unlockables to shift carefully over each selection in this manner, since it is very easy to overshoot a specific selection. There are some cosmetics like the various battlefields which is unfortunate that they don't have any function other than looking different. Every zone always just feels like a foot-ball field.

Screenshot for League of War: VR Arena on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Anyone who enjoyed League of War: Mercenaries will likely appreciate League of War: VR Arena since they have the same DNA. The audience that enjoys the kind of VR experience that involves mostly sitting back and watching things happen will probably want this. Fans of the RTS genre won't find much to enjoy here, which is a shame because the idea of a deep VR strategy game with an overhead view is a fertile concept that is worth exploring. With so little involvement for the strategy and the chaotic nature of the wars, this is a very hard title to recommend. Like head-cheese, League of War: VR Arena is definitely an acquired taste.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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