War can be a scary thing when you go at it all alone or with a team. Not knowing who may be around the corner waiting at the right time just as you start to make your move and then it can be all over in a blink of an eye. Everything you were fighting for could either be gone or still that end goal just waiting for you to make your mark. It’s one to think how we would act vs actually being in battle and seeing how the outcome could vary greatly. So does developer Mardonpol Inc shows the fun of a virtual war? Let’s find out more with ALVO for the PlayStation VR.
ALVO is an online VR Tactical shooter where you have where you, of course, try to get as many kills as you can and depending on the mode, may lead your team to victory. For anyone that has played an FPS will have a familiarity here from the beginning. I will say this from the start, if you have the Aim controller, use it. Yes, you can use the DualShock 4 or Move controllers, but the way the game feels with the Aim controller just doesn’t compare, at least for me, to the other control schemes. ALVO doesn’t give you any sort of training and maybe that’s one of the things I liked about it. You start in the hub where you can see the leaderboards to your left, the three-game modes at the current state, Free For All, Team Death Match, and Search and Destroy in the center, and then to your right is the loadout where you can select your character and weapon you would like to use. There is a selection of weapons to pick from, but those have to be unlocked. So the better you do in the game will allow you to earn points so that you can unlock the different weapons.
I will give one tip before starting ALVO and that is to make sure the controller of choice is charged. On my first attempt at ALVO, I thought my Aim controller was charged, so I went with the Move controllers just to see how it would work, and it did work. Not nearly as good as the Aim controller, but it is nice to have different options. One thing you will notice when you jump into a game, there is not much of a wait before you are into the action. Even if there may not be enough players at the time you are playing, the game fills up the spots with BOTs and this allows you at least to get a feel of the game and how the controls will work. So even if you end up in the last place, don’t worry. You know what they say, practice makes perfect. And unlike previous experiences you may have, when you die, there is no waiting for what seems like a lifetime to respawn, we are talking seconds here. So thank you so much Mardonpol, thank you.
Another thing that the developer got down is the movement. Sometimes for people in VR when you move faster than walking, there can be a sense of motion sickness. Not here and that does have to do with the blinders that are used when you are running. Now, like any good soldier trying to move and avoid being hit, you will need to slide and jump your way to make sure you can gain that vantage point. I can’t tell you how many times I actually slid when someone was coming at me and was able to make the kill. So don’t underestimate the power of the slide. Jumping whether it is on boxes or ladders to get you to those higher positions may not look like how one would actually use a ladder. But this is war, this is not about your ladder-climbing skills, this is to get to where you need to no matter how you may look. And to be honest, I was laughing watching people get on top of roofs or climbing on walls. I attempted this wall climb that I saw before me. Needless to say, the saying “don’t try this at home” became an important rule I was living by, well at least at first starting out.
After each round, you have the choice of voting on the map. Right now, there is just a handful of maps with a night variant of one. Don’t’ let that sway your decision of playing ALVO as new maps will be coming as well as new content. The current modes as mentioned earlier, have Free For All with allows for 10 players, Team Deathmatch which is 5v5, and Search and Destroy which is also 5v5. But each of the maps does offer places to hide and take cover if need be and the more you play, you will start to learn where the best spots are. So no shame in hiding behind a vehicle and watch players go by to take the shot. If you feel that your aiming is not where it should be, feel free to throw your grenades as you can hold two of them. So choose wisely of the type as you can have that deadly normal one, the smoke grenades, and the flashbang. If all else fails, use the smoke grenade as a marker to hopefully get the one that got you. You might be surprised how much fun Hot Potato ALVO Edition really is. Remember, only a few seconds in between respawns.
Any time that there is voice chat, things can get out of hand. If you don’t like what someone is saying (I never came across anyone insulting anyone, but did hear music), you can easily mute them. Now, if they are on your team in Team Deathmatch, you may want to ask if they could turn it down, because if you mute them, that may be the teammate you need to let you know where the enemy is. So just be respectful of the other players and just have some fun. I mentioned points and how those can unlock different weapons and items such as adding a laser to your weapon and attachments such as different scopes with different skins. It really took me no time at all to start being able to unlock different weapons until I found the ones that felt best for me, plus you can change how your character looks at any time.
Some might be thinking that there only three modes in total and after ALVO was first announced back in 2017. While that might be true, they are fun with the game that starts pretty much instant, there are also new modes coming such as Domination, Zombies, and even private matches are coming along with new maps, weapons, and perks that will be unlocked in the future as well. Plus, the developers are playing the game as well and they are hearing what you are saying and asking questions while everyone is playing to see what people think. Before the last couple of patches, there were some instances where some players either would be invisible or invincible regardless of how many of the team of Team Deathmatch were throwing at the player, and the player would not die and killed us all. This was humorous because if anyone of us were in that same situation, we would do the same thing. But that is when I was playing and one of the developers stated that a new patch to fix this issue would be up in about 4 hours. And what do you know, the patch was live at that time. So if that doesn’t say something about live feedback, I don’t know what does.
When looking at the graphics, to some they may not be as polished as they might like. But with all the action going on, I am not stopping to smell the roses or look at the bricks on the wall. I am in it for the action and honestly, it didn’t bother me at all because again, it’s about the action more than anything. Some also might question the price, but think about it in the long run. Would you rather pay the price for what it is now and get the content as it comes or pay a lower price and then have to pay for all the DLC? Listening to the different sounds, I did like how the different weapons had a distinctive sound, and even hearing the smoke from the grenades added to it all. Plus, when you can hear the attack dogs barking along with everyone talking, it really is a good mix of everything.
There are some things that I wish were added. No there is not any training going on, you just really go and get a feel of it all. Would it be nice to have a place to test out the weapons and get a feel of the different controls, yes? Is it needed, not really. I would love more maps, and yes they are coming, but I hope they add some with snow or with different weather elements because trying to have a Free For All in a sandstorm would be pretty awesome. And lastly, I would love to see ALVO develop to have tournaments or into some type of Esport event in the future. The foundation is there, but it will need the players, the content, and as long as the feedback is being heard and ALVO keeps trying to improve itself, good things are going to come.
ALVO does bring the fun and addictiveness of virtual war. It shows us how far its come since it was first announced. Sometimes in life, we have our wants and we have our dreams. Sometimes those wants become something, later on, we find out we don’t need. But it’s our dreams that give us the motivation and the direction we need to go. And couldn’t we all chase after our dreams just a little bit more?
ALVO is out now on PlayStation VR. A review code was provided. To learn more about ALVO, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Mardonpol, please visit their site.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have to get back to the action.