VR Spotlight: Stand Out VR Battle Royale
With battle royale games like Fortnite Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sweeping the nation it’s no surprise to see a few developers dip their toes in the water to see how the genre adapts to virtual reality.
Stand Out is just such an experiment, which comically mimics a lot of common themes in the battle royale market but manages to carve out its own niche among gamers thirsty for a chance to bring home a chicken dinner in virtual reality.
As just such a thirsty individual I’ve been playing a lot of Stand Out, and despite its undeniable flaws it’s one of the most addicting VR games, and one of the most relaxing battle royale games I’ve ever played.
Keep it Casual
A huge part of that fun is the fact that it manages to find a middle ground between the fundamental PUBG experience and Fortnite BR, which means that it’s a little too goofy to take seriously but not goofy enough to feel like you’re playing a whole different kind of shooter (aside from the obvious VR component).
This is partly because of little gameplay touches, like the fact that rather than using holsters you literally just stick guns to your chest like everything’s kitted out with super-Velcro, or the fact that you can literally snag weapons out of someone’s hands or off their Velcro-vest to kill them, or that you heal by eating apples and chugging painkillers while shoving them in your face like a hungry, bleeding toddler.
But beyond that, Stand Out manages to remove some of the complexity, and therefore the level of investment that comes from more serious Battle Royale experiences while also keeping bullets flying and enemies dropping.
It largely accomplishes this by declaring the first circle while you’re still in the plane and by removing complex gear elements like armor and attachments. As a result, you get high player density that keeps things fast paced and frenetic, and if you die you don’t end up losing 15 to 20 minutes of progress to someone sniping at you from across the map.
That doesn’t mean the game wouldn’t be improved by a bit of extra complexity and gear, but it’s refreshing to play a battle royale game that lets you just drop in, snag a gun, and start killing with no breaks until the top ten. If you die, it’s no big deal and you can just immediately requeue and get rolling all over again. Yet on the flipside, if you don’t go down early gunfights consistently get your heart racing the way only a battle royale game can.
Server population is also surprisingly good, which makes sense considering how addictive the BR formula is as a whole. It’s so high that I originally thought that the matches were filled out with bots, but there’s actually a pretty close community of about 50-75 players that fill out the servers every weekend like clockwork. It means that the servers might never be packed like a PUBG lobby, but there were consistently more than enough players to satisfy my bloodlust on a match by match basis.
A Blocky Ride
That said, graphically Stand Out doesn’t look impressive, in fact it looks pretty bad. You’ll find no shortage of low resolution textures, generic boxy buildings, and goofy character models that make PUBG look realistic by comparison.
Of course, this also means that the game feels well optimized and delivers the level of performance you need to render a smooth VR experience. Even with a GTX 970 I was able to run at a consistent 90fps, which means aiming, snagging items, and in general moving around the environment is just as smooth and consistent as you want it to be in a competitive title.
It’s especially important because like a lot of competitive titles Stand Out only has options for traditional locomotion, so it’s definitely the kind of game where you can get VR motion sickness if your FPS drops or if you’re particularly sensitive. I still managed to play one or two hours at a time without feeling any discomfort, but your experience could vary based on specific tolerance levels.
Guns and Servers
Unfortunately, there are still some things that really need some polish to make the game feel less frustrating in general, especially considering Stand Out is packing a $24.99 price tag.
For starters, guns are frustratingly well kitted out, which sounds like a beggars and choosers paradox, but it’s accurate. Essentially, it’s great that optics and 4X scopes are on most weapons you can snag, but it kills me that this includes so many weapons that are best used for close range engagements. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good scope, but I don’t want to have to try and use one on a submachine gun when my target is 20 feet away. The game seriously needs a mechanic that lets you rip scopes or other parts off guns in some capacity or another, because it’s really frustrating to die because you’re trying to nail mid-range shots with a weapon that really needs a red dot or iron sights.
Additionally, the servers need some serious polish. Hit registration is frustratingly laggy, and the refresh rate on the server is so low that you often take shots behind cover, through walls, and through the floors. There’s even the return of the ol’ kill trade mechanic, where close engagements between two players sometimes just results in the server killing both of you because it feels like it.
Despite these little quirks, Stand Out is still ridiculously addictive, and the lighthearted nature of the title makes it difficult to get really frustrated, and if you’re willing to tune on your voice coms and get chatting it makes for some truly memorable moments that keep you coming back for more.
Although it’s hard to recommend a $24.99 VR title that’s entirely focused on the multiplayer experience because of empty server syndrome, Stand Out is one of the few titles that feels like it delivers an entertaining and addictive experience that has the community to keep the servers alive well into the future.