Firewall Zero Hour Review – A Simple, Clean Operation
My partner stacks up behind me. Our objective, keep the laptop secure. I open the door and move through. My partner passes my right side and I enter another a doorway. Immediately the sounds of gunfire fill the room next to me. I rush the door, throwing it open. Immediately in front of me is a staircase with two enemy players lying in wait. I backpedal, taking cover behind the door. I lean out and aim a grenade. I toss it and count down from three. A muffled boom sounds with two notifications, Foreseer117 eliminated Player X, Foreseer117 eliminated player Y. Two enemy players left and my team is still four strong. This will be an easy win. Then over chat I hear a shout. This might not be so easy after all…
Firewall Zero Hour is an online multiplayer VR FPS. Taking cues from Counter Strike and Rainbow Six Siege, FZH emphasizes teamwork, skill, and communication. The game is relatively simple, there are two teams of four that are on either attack or defense. Attackers must breach a firewall access point then hack the laptop at Defense’s spawn. Defense must protect both the firewall access points and the laptop with their lives. Even through the premise is simple the action never loses its edge. Gunplay is quick, lethal, and fun. Using the Aim Controller feels so smooth and aiming feels natural, aim down sights has never felt so good. You feel like a soldier as you peek around corners, popping enemies with bullets and explosives. While you only get one life, being downed isn’t the end. Your teammates can revive you in the small window of bleedout you have. But should the enemy shoot you or the timer runs out you are dead. You can still contribute though as you have access to the cameras in the area, helping spot enemies and safe zones for your team. The matches are quick, with each lasting around four minutes at most. The way to win most matches is to be an effective team, use callouts, flank, cover fire, simply put, communicate.
Every player selects a contractor before the match, each with their own abilities. My two picks were a contractor that carried more ammo and one that could absorb more bullet damage. Others can detect others easier or hack quicker, etc. This means that players should assess what abilities their team has and try to play off of them, making the most of each member to get that much closer to victory. Loadouts can also be customized to fit your needs. Say you are playing in a closed map like Hotel or Killhouse, maybe a shotgun or a more maneuverable SMG. Or you are in a more open map, like Shipyard, an assault rifle might have the range you need to take down the enemy from a safe distance. The options it gives you isn’t limitless but it does a great job at giving you different tactical plays. Of course you can also put attachments and scopes to further improve your weapons. These unlock by rank but also must be purchased with crypto, the in-game currency. This is earned upon the completion of matches and varies by your performance. So the way to get the most is to win and get a good deals of the kills. The game has a great progression loop and I could see myself playing to unlock everything.
FZH is a VR game at heart so it doesn’t look like the best game ever made. The level designs are simple, the graphics are plain, the character models are dead-eyed, stuck in the uncanny valley. But the visuals aren’t terrible and the simple design make the maps easy to navigate, keeping the pacing going at a decent speed. With VR still being an early technology it makes sense that the scale is somewhat smaller and simpler. Hopefully with possible updates or a sequel we can see more variety and sharper visuals. But as it stands right now FZH is still great fun, only slightly held back by its technical limitations.
Firewall Zero Hour is a blast. While I wouldn’t say it’s the killer app that VR needs it should definitely be under consideration by FPS fans and VR owners. This game has ruined non-VR tactical shooters for me, the level of immersion felt in a match is unparalleled. Being able to lean using your own body never gets old, nor does the satisfaction of downing an enemy with a well-placed shot. FZH is easy to pick up and play, but tough to put down. So this is a message to the virtual mercenary contractors out there, lock, load, and get ready for one hell of a time.