Blood and Truth for PlayStation VR review: Cinematic gold

First-person is tricky in VR. You think it would be easy, after all, being in VR is all about being in the action, but so many games make the same basic mistakes. Locomotion is either too frantic or too clunky, the game leaves you to wander aimlessly, or the combat is janky.

Blood and Truth — the latest PlayStation VR game from London Studios — suffers from none of these things. It seems to know exactly what kind of game it should be and it plays to all of its strengths flawlessly. The game breaks a lot of the traditional norms for FPS games and sticks to one premise: you are the hero and you should always feel like one.

The Good:

  • Cinematic fight sequences
  • Amazing motion capture
  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Good array of weapons
  • The soundtrack is great

The Bad:

  • Occasional tracking issues
  • No AIM controller support

What you'll love about Blood and Truth

The cinematic quality of this game is the true standout. Every minute of the game feels like a movie. From the opening rescue mission in the Middle East to jumping through a closed window onto a neon sign, every piece of the action is scripted to bring you the most cinematic way of doing something and it really makes a difference.

The motion capture the team at London Studios has used in Blood and Truth is some of the best I've seen.

The control system is very simple. There is no teleporting or even free movement, you simply look toward the choices the game gives you and hit the middle button. This makes the game incredibly linear, that's true, but the game normally gives you five or so options of movement and two or three directions of travel, which helps give the illusion of choice. Remember though, this game plays like a movie, with huge set pieces, so it needs you to move through the level in a predictable way.

I didn't feel limited by the movement at all, in fact, it was one of the least vomit-inducing ways of moving through a VR game that I've ever used. Even in the most fast-paced, hectic, fight scenes, there was no feeling of nausea. The movement feels natural and fluid, even in the heat of battle and makes decision making intuitive. Most of the movement also keeps you in cover, which is very helpful when the bullets are flying.

Keeping the premise that Blood and Truth is a movie, the acting and the motion capture have been focused on in the best way. Your CIA handler in Blood and Truth is a guy named Carson and the likeness the character has to Colin Salmon — the actor who voices him, and one of my favorite character actors — is astounding. The motion capture the team at London Studios has used in Blood and Truth is some of the best I've seen. When I get up really close to Carson's face you can see the individual muscles move around his face when he talks. This level of detail adds to the feeling that you are the star of the movie and completes the dramatic feel of the entire piece.

The game isn't just shooting either. You play Ryan Marks, a current member of the S.A.S. — Britain's elite special forces — and eldest son of the Marks crime family. Because of your special forces training, you can do more than just shoot things. You also carry a pack around full of helpful tools like lockpicks, wire cutters, and a screwdriver, to help you infiltrate on the down-low. I get the feeling that if you wanted to you could skip quite a lot of the smaller combat situations by using stealth instead of violence, and your bag of tricks gives you the opportunity to do just that.

If you do decide that mindless violence is the route you want to take, then Blood and Truth offers you many ways to achieve it. The array of weapons you find across the map is excellent and you get a chance to modify them in your safehouse. You can buy upgrades with stars that you collect as you play, including laser scopes and underslung rocket launchers, to really spice up your missions.

Special mention needs to be made to the soundtrack here as well. The game is set in London and features a lot of heavy London accents. The music is perfect for the area you are in and the music is timed to coincide with the action as it plays out on screen. It is as well timed as any blockbuster movie, well, except Baby Driver — that score was epic.

What you'll dislike about Blood and Truth

For a game set in London and acted by British actors, Blood and Truth can sometimes go a little overboard on the cockney gangster accents. Steven Hartley, who plays Tony Sharp — the bad guy of this story — is a well known English actor, with a much softer accent than he has here. It's clear to me that the acting has been heightened, perhaps because the game is so intense, but occasionally it just comes over as hammy.

That didn't really affect the gameplay, though, but tracking issues do. A lot of the action happens very close to you in relation to your physical body. To reload you have to touch your Move controller to your chest to pick up the ammo, then load it into the gun. On more than one occasion, in the heat of battle, instead of picking up a clip, I shot my sister in the face and lost the level. Even worse is the placement of your holsters.

I have never felt more like the hero of a story than I have playing Blood and Truth.

The game is best played sat on a chair to avoid the motion sickness you can get from jumping out of buildings, but your holsters are set on your hip. And you have to pull the trigger to put your gun away. You now have the issue of struggling to put the move controller down by your leg — made so much worse if you have armrests — while trying not to shoot the floor. It can be maddening at times, especially if you are dual-wielding.

The last issue is more a wish-list item. The PlayStation VR has a peripheral that feels custom made for this game, the Aim controller. A lot of the game, especially in later levels, has you using two-handed assault rifles that you then have to aim down the sights or sniper rifles that you have to look through the scope.

Using two motion controllers to try and line up sights is almost impossible and I found myself hip firing through the whole game. I know the Aim controller limits you slightly when it comes to opening locks and the like, and even the climbing pieces would be a challenge, but Aim control would be great to have.

Should you buy Blood and Truth?

I have never felt more like the hero of a story than I have playing Blood and Truth. It feels like a whole new genre of game, where they blend the best of movies and the best of action, to bring you a unique experience. This game is a must for anyone who loves action movies and wishes they could be Jason Bourne, of Jason Statham, if even for a few hours.

4.5 out of 5

There is enough content in Blood and Truth to hold you for 20 to 25 hours of gameplay and London Studios have promised updates in the way of new challenges, a worldwide leaderboard, and even a hard mode to make the game even more exciting. I think everyone should play the game on cinematic mode at least once though — you get hurt but never seemed to die — to really get that movie star vibe.

James Bricknell
Since the days of the HTC Hero James has had two or three Android phones stuffed into pockets. James is always on hand to offer advice on phones, apps and most recently, PlayStation, especially VR, It's now something of an obsession. Find him @keridel wherever Media Socials itself.