Black Hat Cooperative Review
Black Hat Cooperative is a two player game in which one person navigates maze like areas in search for an exit while the other player helps identify keys, bits, enemies and potential death traps. The game requires two players and that the PS4 is hooked up to a TV. No multiplayer capabilities are offered at this time, but regardless Black Hat Cooperative can provide hours of fun and strategic game play.
Quick Facts Genre: Local 2 Player Strategy Game Price: $9.99 Game Length: ~2.5 hours Controller: Dual Shock PlayPSVR Score: 7
The first thing I noticed about Black Hat Cooperative was that I couldn't play it by myself. I opened the game and there was no where to hook up with someone online and I certainly couldn't play the game by myself. Until I realized that I actually need another human with me. Like a physical human that I could touch if I reach my hand out. That is rare now days my friends. So before you read further or if considering the purchase and you don't have friends or family that would come play this isn't the game for you. However, if you do, you will be in for a treat.
The game play of BHC is pretty simple. One person wears a headset and the other watches the TV. The person in the headset controls a first person view of someone trapped in a variety of maze-like areas that contain hidden traps, locked doors and enemy robots roaming around ready to decimate you. The idea is to get to the endpoint of the level while collecting as many bits (just little crystals essentially) as possible. The person watching the TV can see the entire area, what doors are locked, where the enemies are and their ranges, where lasers exist and where exactly each trap floor is located. So in order to get to the end of the level each person must communicate effectively with each other and exercise extreme amounts of teamwork, especially at later levels.
The graphics of the game aren't anything remarkable, typical 16 bit blocky graphics, but that doesn't interfere with the game play one bit (you see what I did there?). The controls are also nothing too special. L2 speeds up, X allows you to open doors, and there are certain codes that utilize other buttons. The controls are fine and since the game doesnt even really use tracking, none of this is an issue.
One thing that I really didn't expect is how difficult the levels were. Aside from the first two or three, you really have to exercise massive amounts of communication and be on the same page. I can't tell you how many times one little detail was either left out or not followed and it resulted in me falling into a trap floor or right into a lazer. But this made the game much more enjoyable and a lot more exciting. It also adds to the value of the game by taking much longer to finish.
Only on a few select levels did I start to get annoyed because you just keep re-playing the level over and over because it is so hard. At some point after you have failed so many times you just lose some motivation, so you have to take a break. But this didn't happen too often and then when you actually beat the level the joy you get is some of the best on the PSVR. Especially since you are now celebrating with someone else.
The game is just really fun, because even when you lose it is fun because either you didn't listen or your partner told you wrong info and someone "goofed" so it's funny. Oftentimes you will get to a point and a robot will notice you, but you can run for it. Most of the time another robot shows up and you still lose, but in the time you are running away like a crazed mad man, both you and your partner are having a great time. You are laughing and cheering, just hoping to somehow bypass all the obstacles in a miracle run that ends up with you reaching the trophy at the end. Regardless you will be high fiving and laughing the whole way through this game.
The game will take about 2.5 hours give or take to beat, which is pretty good. You don't want your friend to be over for 10 hours to finish a game and it is perfect for parties. At $9.99 the value is there and even better, with each person you play with your experience will vary and it will still be fun. Yeah you might have seen the levels before, but after the 4th level you won't remember what ways to go, where the trap doors are, where each robot is hiding, etc. So it has a very large replay value factor, which I covet in PSVR games.
Another interesting fact about this is that BHC is almost two different games. Your role obviously changes completely based off whether you are wearing the headset or not. But the skills needed to succeed are also different and it is remarkable how different the experience is playing from both positions. So this adds in not only the enjoyment factor but replay value too because with each person and each position you are playing differently. It is just a remarkable concept and a ton of fun.
The one thing that honestly would be pretty nice is having even the capability of mutiplayer. Because you aren't always going to have your significant other, friends or family at your disposal to play this game. Having an multiplayer option not only would be relatively simple (says the dude who couldn't even develop film, rather than an entire VR game) but would really allow a wider base of fans to play the game at all times. That is my one main critique of the game and my one request. Granted, any additional content, levels, etc. would also be a welcomed addition.
One last thing to mention about the game play itself, is that there are a couple more advanced features I have yet to mention. The enemy robots can be scanned by the person on your headset, which provides the robot's name and allows a code to pop up on the TV that the other person can then read to you. If you input this code in correctly then you can freeze or blind that robot to pass them successfully. But this requires bits, which is why it is important to collect them. Again, this adds another communication dynamic that requires speed, listening and execution. There are also doors that require a passcode and certain robots that chase you but stop only if you enter a specific code (which is like 10 different buttons) which is given to you by the person watching the TV. This adds to the drama, stress and ultimately enjoyment of the game.
Black Hat Cooperative is an absolute blast and one of the rare true 2 player games on the market. With an unique concept, solid execution and exciting game play, BHC reigns as one of the top party games for the VR but is versatile in that it provides hours of fun for just you and a friend. As long as you have someone to play with, this is a $10 well spent and I encourage you to pull the trigger and be prepared to have a great time.