PlayStation VR has been interesting to watch for the last three years. Sony seems incredibly committed to supporting the platform but it arguably hasn’t had a universally agreed upon killer first-party app. That’s where Blood and Truth comes in.
After the success of their PSVR Worlds mini-game, The London Heist, Sony London quickly used it as a foundation for a fully fledged game. Blood and Truth puts you in the driver’s seat of a well-made summer blockbuster. You fill the shoes of Ryan Marks, a special ops soldier who comes from a family who has made a name for themselves in the empire business.
After an event sends him back home, his family business is quickly threatened by a crime lord known as Tony Sharp. Ryan and the rest of his family must devise a plan to defend themselves and strike back against Sharp, hitting him where it hurts most.
The story itself is surprisingly enjoyable, combining a familiar story with big bombastic set pieces. While the drama of it all isn’t particularly special and rarely are there moments of genuine surprise, that doesn’t stop you from wanting to see it all the way through. It hits a lot of beats we’ve seen before and the moments that want to carry emotional weight maybe don’t strike the nerves they intend to all of the time but it’s still engaging.
The characters are what really hold it all up on a narrative level. The charming wit, the banter back and forth between everyone, the moments of downtime with your brother Nick, these things all help craft a tone that is fun and allows you to relax on what is essentially a virtual roller coaster.
Blood and Truth never takes itself too seriously, there’s a moment where you drive past Tony Sharp and Nick mimes an obscene gesture in slow motion. As a player, you’re also given the ability to do gestures with your hands if you want so you can flip the bird, give a thumbs up, or do devil horns.
Moments like this pad out an otherwise by the numbers story but help give it a sense of unparalleled charm to make it very fresh.
As a VR game, mechanically it’s probably the best in class. While Blood and Truth is a shooter first and foremost, Sony London does so much to make sure you don’t get fatigued from being a mostly on-rails shooter. You’ll go from gunning people down in corridors to climbing pipes or monkey bars to navigate a construction site, lockpicking doors, and more.
Perhaps my favorite touches are the random gimmicks littered throughout the game. Using a spray paint can to vandalize paintings, smoking a cigar or vaping by pressing the Move wand against your mouth and then blowing into it to exhale the smoke, messing around with random junk and toys, there’s no shortage of stupidly fun distractions in Blood and Truth.
In the grand scheme of things, these are very little touches but they make all the difference. Climbing the side of a building by holding on to its pipes, and stretching out your arms is incredibly exhilarating. With VR, you’ll look down and feel like you’re really dangling off a high building and the motion controls make it all the more immersive.
I could feel my arms getting that tiring, burning sensation you’d get from lifting weights or well, climbing. It’s wildly surreal that Sony was able to achieve giving me this action star feeling all from the comfort of the couch in my basement.
As a shooter, it’s incredibly solid and is the closest one will get to a John Wick game for the time being. You’re able to carry four weapons at a time, two sidearms and two ARs/shotguns/or other larger weapons. These all have places on your body so you’ll reach down to your waist and pull it out from its holster if you want to draw your handgun or reach behind your back to grab your SMG or AR, you do the same if you want to holster them again.
Blood and Truth’s gameplay feels very dynamic and free-flowing. You can change the hand you hold your gun in on the fly, dual-wield, pick up objects and throw them at enemies, pick up grenades thrown at you and fling them back, and so much more. It’s relentlessly satisfying in so many different ways, pretty much everything I tried to do I was able to pull off.
As I was climbing across monkey bars to cross a gap, a guy ran out of a room. I could’ve kept climbing and got my feet on the ground, then drawn my gun but I didn’t. I held on to the bar with one hand, reached down, drew a revolver, and blew the guy away with a swift headshot.
I once threw a grenade at a group of enemies who were already scattering. Knowing full well it wouldn’t detonate to kill all of them in time, I shot the grenade in the air to detonate it and killed them all.
You even have options when you’re using your guns like normal. If you have a revolver, you can fan the hammer to fire quicker. You can hold your gun in one hand or in two hands for better accuracy. You can aim down the sights or fire from the hip. You can trigger a bullet time-esque mode so you can hit weak points on enemies and give yourself some breathing room in more tense situations.
By putting you as a player physically in the virtual shoes of the character, you get so much more control over the action than you would with a standard controller. It could be argued that there are hardly any shooters that give you this much freedom within the action.
There are times where the fun can be abruptly turned into frustration. Sometimes it can feel like the shooting isn’t as precise as you may want it to be, specifically when firing at a distance. It’ll look and feel like you’re aiming directly at someone but you’ll be missing every shot. This could be an issue with perspective but it doesn’t seem like it’s a skill-based issue.
PlayStation put out a video of someone playing the opening level of the game and they suffered some issues trying to hit a target in the distance, one you can definitely hit. They had so much trouble shooting it, they thought it was genuinely impossible to hit it. This is something that happens at least once a level.
There are also some bugs that can only be fixed by relaunching the game. There was one specific moment where one of my hands became glued to a gun, even when I holstered the weapon, it wouldn’t come unstuck for them grip. This meant that I didn’t have a hand to reload my other gun with so once that clip was empty, I had to reboot the game.
This only happened once but there were other glitches such as textures not loading properly that ultimately caused me to raise an eyebrow.
Even with some hiccups, Blood and Truth operates at an entirely different level than every other shooter out there thanks to PSVR. We already knew Sony had a consistent ability to deliver awesome regular first-party games but Blood and Truth proves they have superb prowess at making premium triple-A VR titles as well.
By combining flashy set-pieces filled with spectacle, neverending charm, and a mechanically sound VR gameplay experience, Blood and Truth serves as another success for PlayStation.