Phantom: Covert Ops
Top Critic Average
Phantom: Covert Ops takes itself way too seriously and it stealth is basic and reliant on virtually blind enemies, but infiltrating an enemy base with a murder canoe in VR does have its bright spots.
Despite the fairly straightforward and overly serious tone, Phantom: Covert Ops is a cracking little stealth game with a unique core concept.
Phantom: Covert Ops is essentially VR Metal Gear Solid where players are stuck in a kayak, which is a surprisingly fun concept.
nDreams has succeeded wildly with Phantom: Covert Ops. The visuals are gorgeous, the goofy premise works perfectly in context, and the mechanics are an intuitive and downright rewarding use of VR. While you may need a great deal of VR callus to deal with the smooth motion of the game, Phantom: Covert Ops is VR stealth done right.
While it seems strange at first, Phantom: Covert Ops has been one of my best experiences with VR to date. Despite playing the entire game from within a kayak and a formulaic narrative, the meat of the game comes from its impeccable mechanics and immersion.
The idea of this exclusive Oculus stealth VR action is the intriguing and truly simulative ones - as it was in the sci-fi field for Lone Echo - capable of justifying the "only" tracing of the head and hands directly with the structure of the game and its environmental context, behind enemy lines with a military kajack equipped to advance and strike silently. If played on Rift S, the parallel design for Quest is all too evident, especially at a polygonal level, and clearly the variety of the action stops at some point, but the great atmosphere, the good level of challenge, the intelligent writing of the plot and a well thought out length (one night in real time, in substance) make Phantom Covert Ops a VR title however highly recommended.
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Phantom Covert Ops eventually runs out of water, but should be taken seriously as a creative take on the stealth action formula only VR platforms can do.
In a medium that so desperately craves additional content, Phantom: Covert Ops isn't a bad purchase for VR owners who are hungry for more games, but it's by no means a banner release for 2020. With games like Boneworks, Half-Life: Alyx, and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners this year, the bar for VR games has risen exponentially. There's an exhilarating VR experience struggling to break the surface of this title. Phantom is holding itself back from breaking loose and taking the excitement to the next level. Hopefully nDreams has enough success with this game to carry its vision into a sequel.
It's easy to see why Phantom: Covert Ops received the commendations it did at E3 2019, and it's now taken the second spot on my personal recommendation list of must-have VR titles. Here's hoping this isn't the last we've seen in the Phantom line.