All Aboard The Bullet Train - Epic's VR shoot-em-up

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 All Aboard The Bullet Train - Epic's VR shoot-em-up
| Bullet Train

Bullet Train is a game that wants you to feel mighty. You don't feel pain, you can't be hurt. Bullets will come towards you in slow motion, as if moving through custard, pleading with you to be swiped aside or even picked out of the air and pointed back at their attackers.

In this short tech demo, which hopefully will make up the basis of a full game for the VR giants, you're riding a train. You don't know where it's going, but you don't care.

I reach up with the Oculus Touch controllers and grab one of the fabric loops above me. It rocks slightly without my hand to steady it, but if I hold it still it resists swaying back and forth. Touch controls are almost old hat with VR now, but it always makes me smile. It's these quiet moments fiddling with the environment before the storm that convince me that I'm present.

Then the game tells me I can teleport. I teleport up and down the carriage, and grab an empty Chinese carton from the ground for safe keeping before the game puts a gun in my hands.

It puts a gun in both of my hands, as it goes, and when it does I suddenly understand how talented Hong Kong cops with nothing to lose really are. Firing two guns at once and hitting things is really hard you guys.

The guns felt natural in my hands, and I can even juggle them if I wanted to totally disregard weapon safety. If I wanted to hit anything I was aiming at I'd need to aim down the sights, which is where the difficulty to aim two guns at once came from. How do you look down the sights of two guns aiming different directions adequately?

As I've said previously, Bullet Train wants you to feel mighty, and after unleashing you from the train onto the enemies in the next carriage, it encourages you to find your inner badass. The more ridiculous your approach, the cooler the things you'll do.

This is how I came to emerge from the train onto the carnage of a rail platform clutching an AK47 in one hand and a pistol in another, using the pistol to sweep aside the incoming bullets as I fired.

What Bullet Train really nails is the feel of combat. Firing guns feels fun, and they've added so many interactions into the game that you'll love what happens. After emptying a shotgun into a crowd of enemies, I tossed the empty weapon at the last standing attacker and saw it take him off his feet.

You can pull bullets out of the air to shoot people with, dual wield any guns, or even use your second hand to steady the barrel of an errant assault rifle if need be.

Epic has always understood how to abstract combat to make it as fun as could be and with Bullet Train, it confirms that it hasn't lost the magic and is on track to make a great VR shooter, but whether it'll be building on Bullet Train or moving elsewhere remains to be seen. Play it if you get a chance, won't you?

Jake Tucker
Jake Tucker
Jake's love of games was kindled by his PlayStation. Games like Metal Gear Solid and Streets of Rage ignited a passion that has lasted nearly 20 years. When he's not writing about games, he's fruitlessly trying to explain Dota 2 to anyone that will listen.