Bethesda’s historic first-person shooter franchise is back with an all-new twist. Delve deeper into the dystopian alternate history of the Wolfenstein franchise than ever before. It’s time to take on the Nazi threat from a brand new perspective with Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, available now for PlayStation VR.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot Details
Platform: PlayStation 4 (PlayStation VR)
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Developer: Arkane Studios
Genre: VR, first-person shooter
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Let’s get hacking
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot takes place concurrently to this year’s other Wolfenstein release—Wolfenstein: Youngblood. However, the two storylines do not actually directly intersect. They simply both take place around the same time, roughly twenty years after the events of The New Colossus.
In Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot you’ll play as an elite computer hacker in 1980’s Paris. Your goal is simple: take control of Nazi war machines and use their own weaponry against them. Carve a path of destruction through the Nazi infrastructure and eliminate as many enemies as possible in your wake.
Time between missions is spent in your underground base hub. You’ll study and work on the mechs that you intend to control, and get to toy around with some intriguing random paraphernalia as well. Travelling up and down the vast, deep shaft of the underground bunker is one of the more thrilling aspects of the game’s VR experience—particularly if you have a thing for heights.
Release the hunds
Over the course of Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot your time will divide between three different mech units. Although the cockpit for each is essentially the same, each mech has its own unique abilities.
First off you’ll pilot the menacing Panzerhund—on of Wolfenstein’s most recognizable baddies. Breathe fire on unsuspecting Nazi foes or simply ram them in groups with a huge burst of forward momentum. The Panzerhund also has a “panic” ability that sends a shockwave of energy out to incapacitate your enemies.
Next up is the drone. This mech is much smaller in scale, and offers more of a strategic gameplay approach than an all-out attacking one. it offers a more stealthy approach that naturally has players sneaking through tight areas and surprising foes otherwise to powerful to facing head-on.
Finally, the scale shifts upwards again with the enormous Zitadelle. There is certainly no stealth option here. The Zitadelle is a veritable mobile fortress—complete with a rocket launcher and energy shield to boot.
As far as VR games go, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot has a wonderful control scheme, and it feels great to be in the cockpit of each unique mech at your disposal. Developer Arkane Studios definitely has a strong handle on how to make a first-person VR experience fun and addictive. Piloting the mechs is simple enough to pick up right away, but still with enough variety between movement and weapons to keep from getting bored too quickly.
I am also happy to say that I had virtually no issues with motion sickness when playing Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot. I am the type that sometimes struggles with VR games that offer 360 degree movement, but with Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot I was able to play through the entire campaign in a single sitting with only the normal, bare minimal amount of VR dizziness that I’m personally accustom to. Those like myself who sometimes feel a bit of uneasiness should likely be fine, while those with stronger VR legs will have no issue at all.
Where’s the beef?
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is a skillfully-crafted VR experience, but the real issue is that there isn’t nearly enough of it. The entire campaign takes between 1-2 hours to complete at best, and the replay value really just isn’t there. With only 4 brief missions (one with each mech and then a final amalgamate mission with all three) it barely feels like the tutorial for each mech is complete before the climax of the story is already fast approaching.
The campaign can be completed on three different difficulty settings—normal, hard, and challenge. For trophy hunters there is a bit of replayability built in here as each difficulty level has its own trophy, and lesser difficulty levels do not unlock when a higher difficulty level is competed. It makes a platinum trophy run of the game closer to 5 hours. Unlocking trophies for all difficulty levels underneath the one played is usually standard for most games, and as such it almost feels like this was done purposely to stretch out a very short product.
Of course difficulty settings don’t truly add to the accepted overall “play time” of a game. If it were, most games would be able to claim that their play time is an average of 2-3 times longer than what we would generally consider accurate. And with no scoring system or challenge tracker to prompt players to revisit levels, there’s really not much reason at all to go back for more.
It really is a shame that the developer has crafted such an excellent VR experience, only to deliver such a small slice of it. To an extent Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot feels more like it should have been a more economical add-on to Youngblood as opposed to a standalone title with a heftier retail price. That said, as a single-sitting VR experience of 1-2 hours it is immensely satisfying, and if the price doesn’t throw you off then for what it is, I definitely recommend it as and enjoyable one-and-done campaign.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is an extremely fun but incredibly short VR experience.
Arkane Studios has done a top notch job adapting Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot for the VR space. It makes it all the more depressing that there simply isn’t more of it. So many developers are out there trying to capture the best cockpit experience for VR. In this case Arkane has a contender, but it’s barely longer than a healthy demo.
Still, not everyone is looking for games that take hours on end to complete in VR. Some even seek out brief experiences that can be be done in a single sitting. In this sense, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is a very satisfying VR side quest in the Wolfenstein universe. Players simply need to weigh their feelings on cost vs. the potential return before diving in.
+ Excellent controls and movement
+ A fun addition to the Wolfenstein catalogue
– Extremely brief campaign
– Little to no replayability
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WOLFENSTEIN: CYBERPILOT
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 2.5/5