Actual Bytes: The Light Brigade is a lucky VR roguelike
The Light Brigade has no direct relation to the British light cavalry unit made famous in Alfred’s poem Lord Tennyson (if you go to Wikipedia page of the poem, you can hear Tennyson himself read through a phonograph record from 1890 – Cool Factz!) But with a bit of connective tissue, it’s generally a bad idea to rush into war. In the case of the game, that’s because The Light Brigade is VR roguelike, a game that blends Dark Soul-like fantasy with WWII-era weapons in which you play as an unarmed warrior. mentally fragile but physically fragile is responsible for saving the world.
You start off armed with a Gewehr-43 semi-automatic rifle and a pat on the shoulder from the leader of your I-don’t-believe-it-not-Christian cult. From the ruins of the church that serves as the center of the game, you adventure into randomly generated environments, hunting down enemy soldiers stricken by some crystal-based unrest. Although these soldiers may be sick, they are still alert, aggressive, and deadly accurate. Chances are you’ll die quickly, but hopefully not before you’ve accumulated enough experience to level up. When you respawn at the chapel, you can upgrade your current class and eventually unlock new ones, helping you venture deeper into the wilderness next time.
It’s such a familiar set of ideas, that the bulleted summary of the Steam site makes me pause to see if I should cover it. However, once I jumped in and started the game, it immediately caught my interest. See, before any of the stuff I just mentioned, first play through a brief tutorial sequence, and the first thing you do in this tutorial is pray. You do this by bringing your palms together in the classic Sunday School fashion, which is a bit awkward when you’re clutching two chunky oculus controllers, but the game itself looks much more dignified.
Prayer has a functional purpose in The Light Brigade. It helps you open doors, interact with some objects and can also be used to locate enemies. But it’s also a clever way to orient you in the world of The Light Brigade, merging the game’s themes of faith and legitimate conflict with the inherent versatility of VR, while helping you blend in. enter the psychology of the characters in the game. Also, when you pray, your hand radiates light, which will definitely help me not to stray into atheism if that happens while being forced to pray.
When you pray, your hand radiates light, which will definitely help me not to get lost in atheism if that happens while being forced to say a prayer
This is not the only small interaction that leaves a big impression in The Light Brigade. Like many other VR games, Light Brigade swaps its normal jump for short-range teleportation. But the Funktronic Labs developers have iterated over what has evolved as a functional compromise into a satisfying sprint, with you gliding to your designated spot, accompanied by an ethereal jingle. Its primary use is to expand the environment, but it’s equally useful for swooping between hideouts when enemies are focused on you.
The combat itself swings between tense confrontations and frenetic encounters. The Light Brigade’s WWII-era weapon for the God-centered fantasy world has a more distinctive flavor, while also being great for grappling from a VR perspective. Tuck clamps into magnetic wells, pull latches and sliders, align your iron sights while enemy bullets hit the rocks and rubble around you, those are good things. Can feel a bit static at times, Enemies tend not to move much, while beginner shooters are best played by crouching behind a tree and shooting at enemies until they fall down. Other classes like scouting and shooting are more dynamic, with their respective M3 Mauser submachine guns and Colt 1911 twin pistols requiring you to get closer to the enemy to be effective.
When roguelikes were born, the Light Brigade was no longer as difficult as it first appeared. The little health you start with means you can get killed in a few shots, but it’s pretty easy to avoid taking damage, as there’s a lot of hiding and enemies signal their attacks . If you die, you have two chances to get your body back before the Game ends, which is easier to do once you know where everyone is. I managed to reach and defeat the first boss on the third run. It is challenging, but not punishing.
The Light Brigade also has some impressive ways to tweak your character. There are five different classes, each with unique weapons and light-based “magic” such as a temporary light shield that the shooter can deploy. Weapons can be customized using accessories found in the field or purchased from vendors, such as a barrel attachment that I stumbled across that causes my bullets to deal poison damage. You’ll also find sparkling chests containing “tarot” cards scattered across the levels, giving a slight but significant boost to stats. These feel a bit out of place in the larger game, but I’ll forgive this entirely because of the amazing hologram effect these cards have in VR.
My only real concern with The Light Brigade is that it’s a bit basic in terms of visuals. Its semi-shaded art style is pleasant enough, but it can’t hide the sparse, cramped nature of the environment. Animations can also be rough, especially for wolf enemies who seem to be running through molasses. None of this is a deal breaker, just don’t expect to take your breath away.
For just £20, The Light Brigade offers a lot of fun. It doesn’t have the big, gimmicky hooks that many VR games rely on, instead incorporating a series of smaller, thoughtfully implemented ideas that I find more engaging than I expected. I won’t say that I completely believe in the truth of the Light Brigade, but I also won’t slam the door if it comes to discussion about the future.