After a long tiring day it can be nice to chill out in virtual reality (VR). As good as roomscale is, there are those times when you don’t want to stand up for several hours playing an adventure experience like Fallout 4 VR, instead sitting back and relaxing in a virtual world. That’s where table top style VR titles come into play, and for those lovers of real-time strategy (RTS), one of the best to come to Oculus Rift is Brass Tactics by Hidden Path Entertainment.
As you may already be aware Hidden Path Entertainment released Brass Tactics Arena a short while back for free, giving you access to most of the online functionality of Brass Tactics plus a brief glimpse at the single-player campaign. With the full launch you’ll now have access to the full campaign as well as every map for online and local skirmishes.
As for the experience itself, Brass Tactics is almost everything you could want out of a VR RTS. Controls have been well tuned to Oculus Touch, allowing precise movement of the table and forces, whether you wish to move a single squad or your entire force in one massive push. One cravat that does pop up up when planning strategic placement of troops comes in the form of selecting the same troop. For example, after a small battle involving some warriors and archers you may want to split them up, warriors in front whilst the archers stay further back. There’s no actual way of selecting just the archers to move them as a group, you’ve got to select each squad individually, making it a time consuming a laborious process. It’s not gameplay breaking, just annoying.
Another usual standard of RTS’ is resource collecting. In Brass Tactics there is none. It’s all automatic depending on how many areas you’ve managed to capture. Again, it’s not something you may miss but it does reduce that extra element to think about, which used to make or break some strategies. What that does mean however is it makes Brass Tactics a far more action oriented title focused on building armies and wiping out opponents, which is no bad thing.
And there’s still plenty to think about in battle. The videogame features a decent number of troops, from your basic archers, to winged wasps, tanks and massive titans. All of which have their particular strengths and weaknesses, especially to each other. Warriors are good against cavalry whilst archers are deadly at taking out warriors at range. This makes for a nice dynamic setup, so that a decent pick of troops can destroy a more focused approach. Then there are all the upgrades for each troop as well as the castle. Unfortunately there aren’t enough slots for them all so you have to plan wisely.
With 20 maps in total, a single-player campaign, single-player skirmish, then online options against other players as well as AI, Brass Tactics should keep you busy for many hours. That and the option to either play it seated or standing makes the gameplay suitable for any play style. Plus it’s not a bad looker either. Most of the time you’ll be wanting to keep a lofty viewpoint to see everything going on but on those quiet moments zoom in and you’ll spot an excellent level of detail.
All in all Hidden Path Entertainment has achieved what it set out to deliver, a well-tuned VR RTS that fans of the genre should be easily impressed by. Sure it’s not perfect, but in comparison to others in the same class Brass Tactics is one of the best.