Here’s a peek at the first few levels of Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom on Quest 2

Here's a peek at the first few levels of Peaky Blinders: The King's Ransom on Quest 2

I’ve never seen the TV show before, but from what little information I could gather, it seems like a bad idea to fuck with the Peaky Blinders. That’s exactly what I did in this episode of VR Corner (above) and, to be honest with you, the consequences aren’t nearly as bad as the Shelbys claim. In fact, I had a great time!

Earlier this week I got access to a press demo of Peaky Blinders that got me through the early levels of the game. And I mean smoke in the literal sense because, as you you will see in my video, you can generate and smoke as many virtual cigarettes as you can fit in your lungs. Cough.

Much like with Maze Theory’s previous TV tie-in, Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom is a superfan’s dream come true. It gives you the opportunity to inhabit the world of your favorite TV show, interact with the cast, visit familiar locations, and most importantly, feel like you’re part of the story.

With that rigidity comes some downsides, as the plot and gameplay here seem to stick to an extremely linear path that leads you by the hand at all times. This isn’t a TV show like The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners that gives you a known world and then leaves you off the leash for you to make it your own. It’s a carefully curated experience where you can only see and do what the developers want you to do.

During the game, you will meet many well-known characters from the TV series, like whoever.

Thankfully, it feels like Maze Theory learned a lot from the reviews published after The Edge of Time was released. The Doctor’s Adventure was a nice outing filled with Easter eggs for fans, sure, but the labored action and minimalistic level design made for a brief and highly forgettable experience for everyone.

As you’ll see in the video above, the early levels of The King’s Ransom might be quite small and linear, but there’s a lot more interactivity compared to The Edge of Time. There’s also more detail, more characters to interact with, and most importantly, more action. That means it feels more like a full-fledged immersive experience rather than a short companion piece to a TV show or, worse, a promotional tie-in.

It’s certainly not perfect yet. While every inch of the world of Peaky Blinders seems to have been lovingly recreated (thanks to very realistic VR Cillian Murphy cheekbones), at this point in development a lot of things still look rather rickety or half-implemented, especially there. where combat is involved. Firing and reloading your guns is fine for example, but you can’t store extra ammo on yourself, so you have to search the ground for more each time you’ve emptied your gun. The enemy and friendly AI is equally atrocious, leaving the one firefight I experienced feeling more like a mole-stabbing game than a kill shootout.

From what I understand, this is a very accurate recreation of the pub from the TV show. Honestly, I wouldn’t know.

In terms of visuals, everything I saw inside the Quest 2 looked great except for a few rough edges here and there. Granted, the grit and grime of 1920s Birmingham was nice and crisp in the standalone headset, but I wish I could have tried the demo on a high-end PC to really get the most out of the time machine that Maze Theory built.

If you’re a big fan of the Peaky Blinders TV show, The King’s Ransom definitely looks like something you’ll want to check out when it comes out sometime this year. For everyone else, and I’m talking mostly to VR veterans who are used to much freer experiences here, I’m not sure this one will be worth much more than a quick glance. Unless you really like smoking cigarettes and just want to do it without destroying your lungs.

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