Zero Caliber: Reloaded
Zero Caliber: Reloaded is a realistic military shooter based on the PCVR title Zero Caliber. Whilst it shares many features of its PC counterpart, it has been rebuilt from the ground up specifically for the Quest.
Reloaded finds its own niche on the Quest among acclaimed multiplayer shooters like Onward and Contractors by focusing on the campaign story mode and avoiding the competitive multiplayer space completely. Whilst the lack of competitive multiplayer may be a drawback for some, others will welcome the focus on the single player mode in the hopes of an epic campaign.
On that front you may find yourself wanting. The campaign will take you about 4-5 hours to complete the 20+ missions depending on the difficulty. I found it was best to put it on maximum difficulty if you’re looking for a reasonable challenge. The story and mission objectives are, in a word, standard.
Clear an area, Defend a location, rinse and repeat. Whilst the campaign has its moments, the mission objectives lack diversity and imagination. The variety of indoor and outdoor environments that include jungles, sewers and icy landscapes aren’t enough to save the game from getting repetitive at times. This is where the 2-4 player coop can help liven things up.
Bringing 2-4 mates along for the action can be a laugh. Coordinating your actions to pick off a room of enemies never gets old. Swapping weapon attachments with friends to build your arsenal is another big part of the fun, and boy is there a lot of weapon attachments to trade. This is one of the stronger points of Zero Caliber: Reloaded.
There is a lot, and I mean A LOT, of weapons and weapon attachments to choose from. You will find all kinds of scopes, grips, extended mags, skins and sights to personalise and pimp your guns. Weapons also feel realistic, making them very satisfying to handle. It is clear that a lot of time was spent providing this impressive level of gun detail and customisation. Unfortunately, the same level of care cannot be seen in other aspects of the game.
Whilst the coop mode is fun, most maps prove to be far too easy with 3-4 players regardless of the difficulty setting.
The visuals are another area that is lacking. Whereas the guns in particular look okay, the environments suffer from low res textures and objects suddenly popping-up in and out of view which can be immersion breaking. Some objects like foliage on trees are made from flats sprites that look decidedly early 90s and many of the environments, particularly those set outdoors, appear stark and bland.
One of the main areas where this game suffers is the enemy AI. Enemies can act reasonably intelligent at times by shooting from behind cover, and at other times they will act like complete idiots with a death wish.
Some will charge out of cover just waiting to be shot or roll around in the open making your job so much easier. Occasionally, enemies will also get stuck in the graphics or appear out of thin air. These glitches along with others that see you lose controller-tracking or get your hand stuck in a gun just add to the growing list of problems with this game.
Despite its flaws, Zero Caliber: Reloaded is a fun game at its core. Playing with the exhaustive range of weapons and customisation options can reach the point of obsession. Testing your personalised loadout by getting behind cover and picking off enemies with well placed headshots is also pretty enjoyable.
Get some friends in on the action and that enjoyment increases exponentially. There is also a fair amount of campaign content in addition to a shooting range where you could easily spend hours modifying and testing guns.
It is a shame then that glitches, unbalanced gameplay, and some dodgy visuals along with equally dodgy enemy AI should take something that could have been great and turn it into something mediocre.
Zero Caliber: Reloaded is not a bad entry into the VR campaign focused FPS genre, but there is certainly a lot of room for improvement.
Whilst ducking behind cover to pick off enemies with realistic and highly customisable weaponry is a lot of fun, it’s let down by poor enemy AI, bugs and repetitive mission design. Coop is enjoyable but the difficulty can feel unbalanced when playing with 3 or 4 players.
Some aspects of the game such as the weaponry look okay, but the graphics are mostly poor, suffering from low res textures, bare bones environments, and pop up.
Weapons and explosions sound good, each gun sounds different. Speech is clear and good audio overall.
Something about water being a scarce resource and the world as we know it coming to an end. A forgettable story that you probably won’t pay much attention to as you go through the game..
A fair offering.The campaign will last you about 4-5 hours but it can be too easy when not played on the hardest setting. The shooting range also offers some extra play value.
Realistic feeling guns add to the sense of presence but poor graphics, glitches and pop up breaks the overall immersion.
Smooth locomotion movement with comfort options. It can also be a little physically demanding as you need to move, crouch and lean.
Learning Curve: 8
Easy to pick up and play, you’ll be running and gunning in minutes. Guns can be different in the way they are locked and loaded so you will need to learn the different builds of each gun you use.
Value for Money: 6
The length of the campaign coupled with fun but flawed gameplay could make it just worth the $24.99 price tag for FPS fans.
A distinctly average campaign focused military shooter which is strong in a few areas but falls short in many others.
Zero Caliber: Reloaded
Summary: Grab your favourite guns, customize them and experience action like you never have before!
Game Modes: Single User, Co-op
Genres: Action, Shooter, Simulation
Platforms: Oculus Quest
Developers: XREAL Games
Publishers: XREAL Games
Release Date: May 13, 2021