When you hear about Ninja Theory, you may think back to some of the excellent titles the studio has put out, like Heavenly Sword or DmC. What may not come to mind is the idea of the developer dipping their toe into the waters of virtual reality gaming with an on-rails shooter experience, but that’s apparently the case with their latest title, Dexed.

There is no story to game, simply a series of environments to get through that will take players deep underwater or into snowy peaks. Similar to games like Rez Infinite, players are locked into a set course through each stage, locking on to enemies as they spring out of their monster closets and firing away before they get too far. There’s no bumping soundtrack this time, though. Dexed is meant to be a more soothing experience – there’s even a “Zen” difficulty level which removes all enemies and allows players to simply lean back and enjoy the gondola ride.

Gameplay does slightly differ from Rez in that there are two types of enemies, fire and ice. And, lucky you, players can shoot both ice and fire balls. Ice enemies must be taken out with fire and vice versa and, while it sounds easy enough, waves will come in varying patterns that make it a challenge. A stream of ice-ice-fire-ice enemies might intersect along the way with a fire-ice-fire-ice string, requiring a lot more precision than I could muster up on the DS4, which uses left and right triggers for the respective shots. I’d imagine players with Move controllers would fare better, giving each hand one element to control.

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The environments look nice enough, but the total lack of enemy variety means you’ll see the same skulls flying everywhere. There are certain challenges to it, though. Hitting multiple enemies with a single volley will rack up the points and a combo meter builds until a mistake is made. On higher difficulties, firing the incorrect shot at a target results in potential damage and a score penalty.

When all stages are complete, there’s an arena mode that could be endless, but given my skill with the game, I’ll likely never put up enough of a challenge to really find out. There’s no railed path In the arena, but players are put to an even bigger test as targets will fly into a giant Cerebro sphere, swoop around a bit, and dash out of an exit portal. Players take damage if they manage to escape, so the tension is ramped up as it becomes crucial not only to make shots, but to make them quickly.

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Dexed isn’t likely to turn a lot of heads, but it’s perfectly fine for an on-rails shooter. It will likely appeal more to score-chasers given that it’s focus on precision, combos, and the leaderboard position given at the end of each run. There’s not much else to it, but it doesn’t cost much to get in the door. I’m hoping that this is just an example of Ninja Theory testing the waters for something else down the road.

 

KAIJU VERDICT

2/4 Pops: Decent  There might be problems that mount up and prevent it from being a top tier game, or it might not do enough to quite make it stand out, but a 2 can still be an enjoyable experience that the curious should try.

Review copy played on a PS4 Pro with PS VR (required)

Review code supplied by the developer

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