Devster’s Swords of Gurrah may favor blades over bullets, but there’s something about its deathmatch carnage that feels distinctly Halo.
It’s not just the map design, some of which seems to lift almost directly from those multiplayer masterpieces, but also the game’s frantic pacing, delivering a melee system similar to the ingenious, sword-breaking gameplay of Ironlights but removing some of that game’s sensible restrictions. The result is a multiplayer romp unlike much else in VR.
Swords of Gurrah is a bit of a sandbox experience, offering a number of different modes in which up to 12 players can compete. But it’s great fun just as a 1v1 brawler in which two players nervously stalk the map before an explosion of flurried arm swings and panicked parrying ensues. See for yourself below.
So you get a smorgasbord of sharp things to prod at your foes, each not far off the energy swords Master Chief wields. Every weapon is laser charged and, upon contact, they’ll shatter for a few seconds, leaving you unable to attack. Hold the trigger, though, and some weapons will harden, meaning they won’t shatter but can’t cause damage, either. The trick is to know when to block and when to seize an opportunity. Making those calls is where the fun of Swords of Gurrah can be found, especially when deciding on a weapon. Do you go for a far-reaching spear for the ranged advantage, but struggle with up-close combat? Or will powerful, well-placed axe swings win you the game?
There isn’t much to stop it from descending into pure anarchy at times, though that’s more down to the nature of VR than it is anything else. You won’t really get anywhere with endless waggle though; fast, assured strikes to open areas are necessary for victory. Swords of Gurrah is one of those games that gets better and better the more you understand it, but even low-level mayhem proves a giddy, goofy delight.
The game’s in Early Access right now but the updates keep coming in. Early this month, Devster dropped the Katana update, which adds the titular weapon complete with sheath. You can hold the latter to block incoming attacks before striking back, or take the blade with two hands for a cinematic samurai feel.
Swords of Gurrah is available on Steam with support for Index, Rift, Vive and Windows MR, and is currently discounted by 50% until November 27th.
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