Raw Data hands on: A virtual shooter you can’t miss

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I did not expect myself to get entirely lost in the virtual reality shooter game Raw Data. I’m not a fan of shooters, I never have been and I never expected to be, however the world of virtual reality is changing that. Earlier this week, I did more harm than good to my team when I took my place on the front lines of a twenty verses twenty match in Star Wars Battlefront II, but once inside the visor with Raw Data, I not only outplayed a friend who is very well versed in the art of the first person shooter genre, I had a blast doing it.

This futuristic fighting game pairs intuitive shooting mechanics with crisp graphics, stunning colors and eerily almost-human android villains. Plans are for the game to launch with ten missions for players to shoot and slash their way through. Raw Data is currently in beta, and offer eight missions, with each mission running fifteen to twenty missions. We got our hands on a demo version, which scaled down the game in both story and in time. Despite the game demo being short and light on story, the experience left me yearning for more.

Playing cooperatively, my friend and I both played as Bishop, one of three currently playable characters who comes equipped with dual Crusader 10mm Pistols. These deadly weapons hold fifteen armor-piercing round, and can be reloaded by simply lowering the guns (Vive wands) to your sides. No longer reliant on a right thumbstick to aim, it’s incredibly easy to aim and shoot simply by pointing your gun where you want to aim and pulling the trigger to fire. That’s a good thing, because you’re going to be doing a lot of firing, and if you’re anything like my friend, you may very well be firing while screaming, because some of these enemies are disturbingly freaky.

Raw Data features a number of artificial intelligence enemies, some more horrifying than others

Within the game, you’ve been tasked with infiltrating the headquarters of Eden Corp, an artificial intelligence company which has been committing atrocities behind the facade of humanitarian effort. You need to find the raw data (see what they did there?) to expose them to the world. Naturally, Eden Corp isn’t thrilled with your mission, and sends wave after wave of both androids and drones to stop your advance. I must admit that I got an obscene amount of pleasure from blasting drones out of the sky, but not everything went down so easily. Raw Data has an impressive cast of enemies for you to unload your clip at, and many won’t go down easily. Despite some truly intimidating looking models, which come equipped with armor, ranged weapons, blades and even capable of belching fire at you, there is simply no android more terrifying than the crawler. These legless abominations crawl along the ground at an atrocious speed, crawling straight out of a horror movie and into your nightmares. While I remembered thinking they were creepy, my friend reacted with true primal terror to the sight, screaming and firing wildly out of pure instinct.

Even without knowing what we were getting into, without communicating a plan, and without instruction on how to defend our area, my friend and I naturally found a rhythm: my defending the front left section while she reped invasions from the back right. Movement was pretty natural, and is accomplished by pressing the circle pad on the top of the wand, pointing where you wanted to go, and letting go. Once finishing off our wave, we would teleport over to help the other clear their wave, if they needed the assistance, then bounce around the space a bit, ensuring that a new threat didn’t appear from an unexpected direction.

Bishop uses dual pistols, weapons which are incredibly satisfying and intuitive to use

While we were only able to play one character during the demo, there are two more currently available in the game’s early access: Saija, a sword-wielding assassin, and Boss, a former mercenary whose shotgun takes advantage of the vive wands to create realistic pump action. There is a fourth operative soon to be available, and while the game is currently a cooperative experience, Survios is actively developing a PvP mode, which is currently in closed beta.

Raw Data is an amazing VR experience, one which is forcing me to revise my stance on shooters. While I may never love them on consoles, I could spend all day uploading clips as Bishop. Raw Data officially releases on July 14th, you can learn more about the game and sign up as a beta tester by visiting the official website or checking out their Steam page.


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