One Man, One Kayak, 3 Guns!
During E3 I got the honor of having a private 30 minute session with Ndreams to test out Phantom: Covert Ops and it maybe to early to say it's the best Vr concept game ever, but it feels so right!
Phantom: Covert Ops is a tactical stealth VR title that has players taking control of a military kayak. You must paddle your way through swampy waters and avoid or take out enemies along the way. This definitely is one of the most interesting takes on the stealth genre I have seen. I am extremely happy to say that after about a 35-minute session with Phantom: Covert Ops, it completely delivers a unique and exhilarating experience that's second to none. You are a Phantom: an elite and deadly covert operative with a single night to prevent all-out war. Dispatched intore mote,hostile wetlands in your tactical kayak,utilise military-grade weapons and equipment to evade and neutralise the enemy threat.Immerse yourself in a gritty and authentic arena of war across an intense campaign in VR. Engage yourtargetslethallyor infiltrate unnoticed from within the shadows: it’s your mission to execute your own way
During my demo, the main mechanics was explained to me before I started. You reach on your chest for the tranquilizer, reach behind your back to take out the submachine gun, then the sniper is attached to the side of the boat. Pretty regular stuff you would find in a VR experience. Then you reach for the paddle and everything just clicks and you think “how has nobody done this yet?” To move forward, you would paddle exactly how you would in a real kayak. To stop, just stick one side of the paddle in the water to slow down until you reach a halt. Turning is exactly how you’d expect. Start paddling on one side to turn and hold down the quick turn button to easily make quick adjustments. I even had one moment in the demo where I was near a wall and needed to pop back out away from it and I thought “Can I just?” Sure enough, I pushed the paddle against the wall and pushed myself back into the middle of the water. I like to believe a good VR experience makes you forget that you are playing a video game and perfectly immerses players in it. Phantom: Covert Ops does just that. I forgot I was at a video game conference and I was kayaking through swampy waters while avoiding or taking out bad guys.
What nDreams have created has sort of made me rethink my stealth tactics a bit. Since you are in a kayak rather than on land, there is no taking out enemies from behind cover or sneaking behind their back to choke them out. Enemies will often be elevated above and shining their flashlights into the murky waters to keep a lookout. You must navigate around these lights to stay covered. If there is another boat making its way down the water, there are usually some tall grass on the sides of the water that can be used for cover. What I loved about this game wasn’t just the stealth, it was about how thoughtful the stealth was and how there was usually multiple ways to sneak through an area.
Phantom: Covert Ops is doing something quite different and I couldn’t be more excited about it. While titles like Superhot and Blood & Truth will get your adrenaline pumping, this title makes your heart race in a different way. The thoughtfulness of the stealth action gameplay and the uniqueness of the overall concept has me eagerly anticipating its release.
Phantom: Covert Ops is set to release sometime later this year for Oculus Rift, S, and Quest.