Commanding an army of toy soldiers, tanks, and helicopters sounds like a solid premise for a competitive real-time strategy game. However, does League of War: VR Arena manage to make its innovative core gameplay worthwhile?
You play League of War: VR Arena by standing at one end of a table while unleashing an army of toy soldiers and vehicles at your opponent who's standing on the other side. Basically, there's a global competition to see who can command the best army in the world which is kind of a silly plot but what do you expect? This goofy narrative actually paves the way for some interesting characters that are surprisingly diverse and fun to encounter. Anyway, the controls merely involve moving two PlayStation Move controllers and squeezing the triggers to pick up units. Then, you simply aim and let go to deploy them. They'll commence marching or driving down the table in order to confront enemy forces and hopefully destroy your opponent's base which is the goal of each match. There are some complexities such as a rock-paper-scissors dynamic and you can charge specific units to deploy them faster. It's simple stuff that's easy to learn although the difficulty becomes rather challenging.
The graphics are super-sharp and look fantastic in VR. I found myself moving my head around the battles just to see the units up close. I have a fascination with vehicle models in games so being able to observe them at all angles in their detailed intricacies is a treat. Even though the graphics are impressive, the audio could use a lot of work. For starters, the music is quite generic and there are some jarring edits that sound like a CD skipping. The voice acting is decent and provides more personality to the cast of characters but there are far too many repeated lines and they never seem to match what's happening onscreen. On the plus side, the sound effects are great and add a lot of satisfaction to battle. Simply put, the visuals are superb but the audio could use an almost complete overhaul.
League of War: VR Arena contains a solo campaign that has you control a variety of commanders in the hopes of destroying all of their opponents. It gets pretty tough about halfway through each character's playthrough and there's a lot of replay value considering just how many battles there are to fight. Unfortunately, there is no online multiplayer component but I honestly wasn't expecting one because not many VR games feature an online mode. That being said, arcade mode can be played via local multiplayer and the matches are rather enjoyable as one player controls their army via the TV screen and the other uses VR.
The biggest issue that League of War: VR Arena suffers from is that its basic gameplay gets stale after only a few hours because it's the same thing over and over again. I wish new mechanics were introduced throughout but nothing really evolves. Finally, the artificial intelligence is way too reaction-based. When you play against a human, there's a mix of deploying troops blind and reacting to your opponent. However, the AI seems to only react. To prove this, I started a match and just sat there without doing anything. So, my opponent did the same. Then, I launched everything I had within the last 15 seconds or so and won the match.
League of War: VR Arena provides a simple gameplay dynamic that can be enjoyable both solo and with a local chum. That being said, the easily exploitable AI and tiresome formula will ensure that the war concludes before its soldiers have a chance to prove their valour.
- + Basic strategy gameplay that's easy to learn yet becomes quite challenging
- + Sharp graphics that really pop in VR
- + Pretty fun local multiplayer
- - Simple gameplay gets stale quickly
- - Audio could use a lot of work
- - AI is far too reaction-based