Being a Mech pilot would be boss as fuck. The fact that the earliest iterations of mech pilot games go back earlier than the freaking nineties with titles such as MechWarrior is a testament to that fact. Now however, with virtual reality, being a mech pilot has never been so real, not until we develop actual mechs that allow us to step on anyone we don’t like.
RIGS takes the art of mech piloting and combines it with major league sports in a first person arena shooter. Two teams of three mechs known as ‘Rigs’ face off in three game modes that are essentially giant robot basketball, rugby, and team death match, with players viewing the action in first person from inside their very own Rig. There’s a lot of steel clashing action in RIGS, and VR made me feel totally immersed in every second of it.
The game modes, Endzone, Powerslam, and Team Takedown, all play a bit differently, and require different team strategies, apart from the fact that you can always destroy your enemies in a fiery metal wreckage. Endzone is fairly straight forward, and involves picking up a ball and getting it through the other team’s goal. If the ball carrier is destroyed the ball stays where they died until it’s picked up, otherwise the ball can be stolen by the other team with a well timed melee attack and passed between them. Powerslam is where players need to build enough energy for overdrive by either destroying enemies or collecting pick ups on the map before dunking themselves through the shared goal in the center, while preventing opponents with overdrive from scoring. Finally Team Takedown is your standard death match, and involves nothing more than a gold old fashioned mech ass whooping.
There’s a variety of different Rigs to unlock, each with a different combination of abilities and weapons that allow for a wide range of play styles. My personal favourite was Nine lives, a Mirage Rig with a double jump and the vampire ability, which restored health with each kill. Other abilities include a rear shield, an AoE team heal, and even the ability to steal the Endzone ball at range. You don’t just have your own Rig to choose though, as you’ll need to hire two more team members, each with their own unique Rigs. This means team composition is another factor to consider in your strategy.
The game features four maps with different configurations for each game mode, totalling 12 possible combinations for each match. The maps are small but full of different paths and levels, allowing Rigs to use the map to their advantage while ensuring a lot of combat. Knowing the map and switching your Rig between speed, power, and heal mode accordingly will give you a huge advantage, and adds even more the game’s strategic side.
I think an opportunity was missed with the exclusion of a free battle mode where you could set the conditions and opponent of a battle, instead the game only allows players to play consecutive league matches. Apart from this, the huge variety in the gameplay, Rig selection, maps, and game modes gives RIGS a lot of replay value.
As a launch title for the PSVR, RIGS is a prime example of the potential that VR games have. Being a fully fleshed out game experience without being too gimmicky is something I hope a lot of developers strive for. At the very least it’s the best way to pass the time until robot combat sports are a reality.