FPS Enhanced Reality Review: Your home turns into a VR game
I went hands-on with FPS Enhanced Reality for Quest, a XR first-person shooter that happens in your home, with bullet holes and debris flying as you take on armed invaders.
The App Lab game FPS Enhanced Reality brings a thrilling edge to mixed reality as it simulates armed attackers invading my home. The good news is that I’m well supplied for this threat. The VR game lets me load up with various weaponry. I can carry two sidearms in hip holsters, and there’s an inventory slot to hold a rifle. I can also start the game with weapons in hand, giving me plenty of firepower.
Weapon selection includes a knife, several pistols, a shotgun, assault rifles, a sniper rifle, and more. You even get to play with a rocket launcher and an impact grenade if you want to really devastate the enemy. For close quarters, handguns are the best bet. Just remember to load a magazine and chamber a round before the action begins.
FPS Enhanced Reality: Review in a nutshell
FPS Enhanced Reality is a unique opportunity to play a game that’s similar to location-based VR in the comfort of your own home. A large space with multiple routes works best.
Set up is laborious, but only needs to be done once (with adjustments sometimes needed between games). The NPCs are not very intelligent, and overall, the game feels like a work in progress. It’s in Meta’s App Lab and is being actively updated by the developer Virtual Go.
FPS Enhanced Reality is suitable for you if you …
- want to explore mixed reality experiences
- own a Quest Pro and are looking for a new MR game
- enjoy FPS shooters with somewhat realistic physics
FPS Enhanced Reality is less suitable for you if you …
- want a refined and reliable gaming experience
- don’t have the patience to set up the gaming area
- live in a small apartment or other limited areas
Gameplay works best with large, complex spaces
The game allows me to start in day or night mode, even though my room must be well-lit for good tracking. The game simulates the darkness well in night mode, and I need to use a flashlight to see my way around and spot the invaders.
I quickly learned that when the music starts pumping, I must prepare and have my weapons ready. Armed intruders don’t appear suddenly but emerge from around a corner or behind me, which is quite startling. This leads to the feeling that I need to roam around and actively search for trouble.
When it’s working well, FPS Enhanced Reality does a good job of generating a fight or flight response. Unless I fumble my weapon, I stand and fight, but it’s possible to duck around a corner or even flee to another room.
Hand-to-hand combat is possible with a knife, but that seems unreliable. Shooting or blowing up intruders with grenades is the best approach. In virtual reality, I can survive several gunshots, exacting deadly revenge on many opponents, but succumbing in the end. I’m not sure if it’s possible to win in Survival mode. You can also play a Reality mode that has a limited number of opponents.
The trouble is that I’m playing in a limited area. My home is a small two-story house. I typically play VR games upstairs since our bed lifts to offer a sizable floor space. In this case, I need more and venture into the walk-in closet, out to the hall, bathroom, and second bedroom.
It still feels too cramped for stalking invaders with a long rifle, and the handguns are much more practical. I can tell that FPS Enhanced Reality would be much more entertaining with more space and a less linear path.
I tried again downstairs, where it’s possible to make a complete loop from the entryway through the kitchen and dining room to return to the front door.
The downstairs loop proves to be a much better area for this mixed reality game, allowing some distance and different routes for attacks and retreats. Ultimately, the experience is not compelling enough in my home.
Opponents appear behind me, sometimes in a location that makes no sense. There is an option to set spawn points, and with more time spent during setup, intruders can be made to come through the entrance. That would make defense too easy, however, and random placement is more challenging.
Setting up takes time
Properly setting up the gaming area, even in my small space, takes several minutes. I reach down to the floor and press X to mark its position, then adjust the wall height with the joystick and begin drawing the walls.
Marking out the walls and obstacles is easy to do, but a slow process. The developer made the best of an awkward situation where the user must mark their three-dimensional space, even after drawing out a roomscale guardian. While Meta is only concerned with the floor for a guardian, FPS Enhanced Reality allows for half-walls, multiple rooms, dividers, and obstacles of any height and orientation.
This part of the game needs more polish and seems unfinished. The overall concept is good, but there are multiple warnings about tracking, what to do when it’s lost, and how to realign the room when the walls shift between games. That happened to me a few times. It’s better to admit to the shortcomings than pretend they don’t exist. Ideally, it should all work more smoothly.
FPS Enhanced Reality Review Conclusion: VR location gaming comes home
FPS Enhanced Reality feels like playing at a VR location, since it opens up a larger area for playing. If you mark out the walls, tables, and other objects, the sense of reality is enhanced by bullet holes and virtual debris obeying your physical space.
Adding the threat of armed assailants is potentially too intense, but the graphics aren’t so realistic as to cause me any distress. Instead, it’s just a fun shooter in an expanded space that I know well, my own home.
There are other mixed-reality games and even shooters. Spatial Ops takes a similar approach but uses virtual obstacles. The result is more refined but lacks the physics-based interaction that makes FPS Enhanced Reality unique.
At $10, FPS Enhanced Reality is an inexpensive yet advanced mixed-reality shooter. It’s rough enough that I feel like this VR game probably needed to be in beta testing for longer. Meta was right to keep it in App Lab.
The game is interesting, particularly for Meta users that own a Quest Pro. If I used a Quest 2, the mixed reality experience might not be compelling enough to be worth the effort of setting up the space.
The Quest Pro’s color passthrough has enough resolution that I can travel through my home quickly and safely. That’s critical for a roomscale action shooter. Since the Quest Pro is now much more reasonably priced, Meta’s premium headset could become more popular and inspire developers to make more mixed reality games. Later this year, Quest 3 will also arrive with mixed reality capabilities.
For now, FPS Enhanced Reality is part of a relatively small number of games with a mixed or augmented reality capability.
You can read all about the Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro in the linked reviews.
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