Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: September 10, 2018
Raw Data is a sci-fi first-person shooter available for download from the PlayStation Store for PlayStation VR. Raw Data is developed by Survios; a team that despite only being founded in 2013 is already a proven pedigree in the world of virtual reality gaming. Raw Data released in July 2016 via early access for HTC Vive, quickly becoming a surprise hit by reaching first place on Steam’s global top sellers list and is the first VR game to ever attain $1 million in sales in a single month. Raw Data went onto release in VR arcades and Oculus Rift in 2017 before releasing on PlayStation VR on October 18th 2017. Survios has continued to go from strength to strength in 2018 with the release of physically intense racer Sprint Vector, music composition and mixing in Electronauts and boxing in the form of the officially licensed Creed: Rise to Glory, while showing a wide range of diverse genres from a single development team. Can Raw Data be the best sci-fi first-person shooter on not only PlayStation VR, but all of virtual reality gaming?
The story is set in the year 2271 at a time of significant technical innovations of which Eden Corp is at the forefront, although questions are being raised over Chairman Shiro’s promotion program; prompting a group of elite operatives to infiltrate Eden Corp’s headquarters in a mission to gather as much knowledge about their darkest secrets, while making it out of their headquarters alive.
Gameplay begins with a thorough tutorial that showcases to the player how to teleport to anywhere within the room or from beacon to beacon followed by a weapons tutorial featuring how to handle and shoot a pistol, shotgun, a grenade module within the shotgun and bow, alongside engaging in melee combat with a lightsaber style blade and hand-to-hand combat that is useful to rely on when ammo has been exhausted. There are also four combat test configurations including various enemies in addition to further unlockable tutorials on defending the data core, alongside building and strategically positioning turrets.
Raw Data’s story campaign spans 10 missions that each comprise of five phases in which each phase is essentially an entire wave of enemies that attempt to defeat your character and they also focus on destroying the data core from the second mission onwards; therefore your two primary mission objectives in every mission are to defeat every enemy while simultaneously protecting the data core. Collectibles are scattered throughout each mission in the form of 50 smart pads that actually provides a greater backstory to what is taking place within the confines of Eden Corp.
Character design has a positive amount of variety as there are four heroic characters named Bishop, Boss, Saija and Elder that each has their own backstory, class, weapon, special abilities and ultimate abilities. Enemy design is extremely varied as each of the five enemy types including Automo, Dynomo, Mekomo, Tekomo and Hornet Drone has different versions. Automo is a helper robot that can be reprogrammed for alternative uses that comes in form of rigid, crawler, nitro and nimble models, while Dynamo is a heavy robot capable of equally heavy lifting and demolition jobs; Mekomo are robotic patrol personnel that fire laser projectiles with beamfire, burstfire and crawler models; Tekomo shift model is a mobile rapid response team armed with short-range teleportation, martial arts skills and sword wielding combat, alongside the cloak model that replaces teleportation with a cloaking device that enables the Tekomo cloak model to sneak up unseen; alongside the silent and quick Hornet drones equipped with rockets or lasers.
Each of the four hero’s loadouts is unique; for instance Bishop fires armour piercing rounds from a crusader 10mm pistol, while his special abilities includes the capability of dual wielding two pistols; proximity reloading for automatic reloading when the pistol touches the holster; charged shot unleashes a powerful slug that has the potential to simultaneously defeat multiple enemies; and a fusion charge shot combines double charged shots into a giant orb of explosive energy. Bishop’s ultimate abilities include bulletstorm that fires many self-replicating nano rounds without reducing his ammo and timewarp that slows time to allow greater accuracy in aiming. Meanwhile, in contrast; Elder’s weaponry is reminiscent of the Green Arrow as he fires incendiary plasma arrows from a compound energy bow, while his special abilities includes a charged arrow that makes each charged arrow more powerful and destructive to enemies; a multi-shot arrow that provides a spread pattern by splitting a charged arrow into five individual arrows; tagging arrows allows arrows to automatically home in on tagged enemies; and holo decoy lures in a large quantity of enemies by replicating Elder before exploding after taking excessive damage from nearby enemies. Elder’s ultimate abilities include crystal hazard that utilises a crystalline arrow to shatter on impact with an enemy, while explosive arrows are the explosive equivalent of crystal hazard.
Environment design has a pretty good range to the aesthetic of the surrounding environments as it includes multiple robotics laboratories, a skyport shipping harbour, a reactor and much more besides. Environments open up through the course of some phases as the environments start out fairly small, but gradually increase in their width and length with objects positioned in the nearby vicinity to allow the player to move strategically in order to evade enemies when seemingly overrun; therefore making for some positive environment design.
The controls are appropriately mapped to two PlayStation Move controllers that represent your left and right hands with your main hand mapped as the right Move controller and your off hand mapped as the left Move controller by default. The default control scheme consists of pressing the trigger button on the right or left handed PlayStation Move to fire your weaponry situated in each hand; pressing triangle on the left or right Move controller to holster the weapon in that hand; pressing the move button on the main hand Move controller to select an ability; and pressing X or O on the main hand Move controller to perform a quick turn; pressing square on the main hand Move controller to use a meta-tool. Teleportation is simply a factor of holding the move button on the off hand Move controller, using the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality to choose an area of the room and releasing the move button when the highlighted area of the floor is where you would prefer to teleport to, while an alternative in some environments is to transport to a pre-positioned beacon by using the same technique. Raw Data also allows for full locomotion by pressing the move button on the off hand Move controller to walk forwards, while pressing X or O to strafe left or right respectively. However, no matter if the player chooses locomotion or teleportation movement; the player will have to stand-up at times to reach for their ammo clip before reloading or perform an exaggerated movement to reach for a weapon that is situated over their shoulder that seems to conflict with the purpose of options to prevent potential motion sickness. Elsewhere, there is no support for PlayStation Aim and DualShock 4 controllers.
Graphically, Raw Data is visually one of the best looking PlayStation VR games with real excellence that genuinely increases immersion. For instance, during the second mission when the surrounding environment is dark without much of a light source in the room resulting in a member of your team enabling a spotlight on your weapon that lights up the area you are aiming towards to provide a scary feeling of enemies moving towards your character’s position from either side. Meanwhile, there are amazing character models, animations, environments, weaponry and explosions that all elevate the immersion even further.
Raw Data’s presentation is immersive as the player is situated in a room within Eden Corp’s headquarters with a view of the horizon in which the menus are positioned around the desk area in the centre of the room. Menus are navigated by using the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality of the Move controller followed by pressing the trigger button to select a menu or option.
Voice-over artists bring life to their character’s personalities including Todd Haberkorn voicing Chairman Shiro having previously voiced Teruteru Hanamura in Danganronpa V3, both Danganronpa 3 TV series and Danganronpa 2; Adam Harrington voices one of the male protagonists having previously voiced Bigby Wolf and The Woodsman in The Wolf Among Us and Jerry and Leland in The Walking Dead: 400 Days, alongside a further cast of talented voice-over artists. Sound effects includes your chosen playable character firing their weapon and utilising their special ability and ultimate ability against incoming enemies, enemies firing their weaponry at your character as they engage in battle, explosions and defeating enemies complimented by dramatic instrumental music composed by Jeremy Nathan Tisser (Jurassic World and Dragon Age II).
The trophy list includes 46 trophies with 28 bronze trophies, 16 silver trophies, 1 gold trophy and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Basic Comprehension bronze trophy for completing a single tutorial; the Not Without Incident bronze trophy for completing any level with Bishop; and the Bishop’s Opening bronze trophy for unlocking one of Bishop’s abilities. Harder trophies include unlocking all abilities for each heroic character and completing each mission on nightmare difficulty. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 15 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are four difficulty levels including casual, normal, hard and nightmare with the major differences between the casual and hard difficulty levels being that enemies tend to be more clustered together at times within certain phases instead of being spread out, while enemies take a lot more damage before they are defeated and your chosen character takes less damage before being defeated. However, the player still gets the opportunity to resume from the most recent checkpoint on hard difficulty such as when having defeated a quantity of enemies to reach the main enemy within that phase. The pacing of the checkpoints is an excellent design choice as it prevents frustration by giving the player a semblance of a chance rather than the player having to start from the beginning of the mission. Meanwhile, nightmare difficulty is unlocked after completing all 10 missions on hard difficulty.
PlayStation VR’s version of Raw Data rather surprisingly lacks any co-operative multiplayer that other VR headsets feature, despite the notion of social screen multiplayer bringing VR into the living room for families and friends to enjoy simultaneously. Meanwhile, the same can be stated for the lack of Raw Data’s PvP competitive multiplayer titled Hostile Takeover that is also available on other VR headsets, but not PlayStation VR, despite its strong potential for being applied within online multiplayer and social screen functionality.
Online leaderboards focus on high scores with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and their total high score for each of the 10 missions on every difficulty level, while players can compare their positioning on the leaderboards with global players within any given leaderboard.
Raw Data’s replayability stems from a single player story campaign spanning 10 missions with collectibles in the form of 50 smart pads, four difficulty levels, online leaderboards and full locomotion and transportation movement supported. However, despite the amount of replay value within the tutorials and single player story campaign; it must be stated that the PlayStation VR version does not have anywhere near the replay value found in the versions of Raw Data released on other virtual reality platforms due to the lack of online co-operative and competitive multiplayer.
- Title: Raw Data
- Developer: Survios
- Publisher: Survios
- System: PlayStation VR
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1 (Online Leaderboards)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 8.46GB (Version 1.04)