After just two days on sale, ‘Phantom: Covert Ops’ has already hit the top of the US Oculus Quest charts. Celebrating its 50th week at number one this week, ‘Phantom’ shows no signs of slowing down.
The game offers an engaging story that follows Andrius Romanov as he joins a covert operations organization to stop a government cabal from establishing control over an ancient technology; and will see players doing everything from stealthy infiltration missions to dogfights in space as they work to stop those who would seek global domination. The results are nothing short of phenomenal.
The story of ‘Phantom: Covert Ops’ is a refreshing break from the standard military shooters that have become popular through VR titles. With an easy to follow plot and high-quality voice acting, the game presents a compelling narrative that stands out as one of its greatest assets. In addition, players are able to influence NPC reactions which further enhances the feeling that you’re present in the world rather than playing a video game. Though at times this can lead to some confusion on what your next objective is – which can result in some frustrating moments – it never reaches a point where it compromises gameplay.
Players can expect a variety of mission types with unique objectives designed to take full advantage of both virtual reality and motion controls. For example, missions may task you with infiltrating a high-security complex and downloading critical information, but will require you to keep your body out of sight as well as navigating the room by ‘phasing’ through objects similar to ‘The Matrix’. On the other hand, players can work to safely escort friendly forces or repel an enemy attack by switching freely between first and third-person views. There are even dogfights in space that involve utilizing motion controls for both flying and aiming lasers at your targets – which equates to some intense action moments. Though each mission definitely has its own identity, they never become repetitive enough that they feel like chores and you’ll find yourself anticipating what challenges lie ahead instead of dreading them.
While the game does allow for single-player missions, ‘Phantom’ really shines in its multiplayer offerings.
With two game modes and seven maps to play on, the action is fast and frenetic with high-speed chases across rooftops as you attempt to stop an enemy arms shipment. There are also multiple ways to complete your objectives that keep all players engaged – even those who are lagging behind – through their entire run. Customization options are also present allowing you to craft your own unique avatars that show up throughout the world during races or by other players at hubs. This helps give each match a sense of uniquely tailored immersion that can be further fleshed out with different abilities for your avatar’s suit.
While playing solo is definitely rewarding, it is worth noting that the game can become somewhat tedious at times due to ‘phasing’ mechanics which require you to teleport or shift into objects. Though this does help keep you hidden on some levels, on others, there are times where you go through lengthy periods of non-action making the game lose its sense of flow. This mainly stems from how some missions don’t really give any clues as to what your objectives are – meaning that figuring them out could be a challenge – and for those who aren’t fans of trial and error could result in quite a few frustrating moments.
In addition, using motion controls can cause players to have difficulty walking upstairs or jumping across gaps since doing so requires you to lower your controller. While not a game-breaking issue, it certainly is something to keep in mind if you’re prone to motion sickness or have any issues with your hand-eye coordination.
But what the game lacks in polish it makes up for through its sheer fun factor. Each mission has a unique style that players won’t find anywhere else which helps ‘Phantom’ stand out among the sea of other VR titles currently available today. And while this uniqueness does come at the cost of losing some cohesion throughout the world, you’ll be having too much fun to care as you shoot down enemy fighters and teleport across skyscrapers like a cybernetic ninja!
Rating: 8/10 (Great!)
Recommendation: Buy It