Trying to Survive in Population One

For what seems like forever, I’ve seen advertisements for battle royale game, Population One, in VR. It seemed like it was always coming soon. Now that it’s out, I bought it after seeing the reviews were good.


Population One building walls then climbing and shooting a rifle
Practicing with Build Gun and Climbing

After starting up the game, it calibrates for height and dominant hand, then away I went. The start of the tutorial walked me through the basic mechanics of the game. All seemed well polished (unfortunately rare for many VR games).

Moving Around – I used the standard free locomotion movement with the left joystick. It was fluid and didn’t cause any type of motion sickness with the moderate comfort option enabled.

Wing Suit – Jumping off any high structure, I just needed to put my arms out in a T pose to activate the wing suit that comes standard. The gliding is nice and smooth. You can steer like you would with a real wing suit, except no pitch control. To go lower you have to drop your arms long enough to drop to the desired height. Hope they patch in pitch control.

Climbing – Using the grip buttons on any wall allowed me to quickly climb up tall buildings. It worked pretty well and missed grabs were pretty rare. You have mechanical bracelets on that give you an in world reason for why you can climb anywhere.

Weapons – these were easy to use, but that’s sort of a complaint I have. When you need to reload, you just push a clip into the gun and cock it to chamber a round. There’s no grabbing a clip from you belt or back, it’s just hovering right under the gun flashing yellow and waiting for you to push it up. This is great for fast paced combat, but it screws with my muscle memory for so many other games where I grab the clip myself.

I also am so used to pressing a button to release the magazine, only in this game that step is skipped and that button leads to me either holstering the gun or switching weapons. The chambering of rounds does vary per gun, so you arm them as you would in the real world.

Defibrillator– you can revive fallen team mates by pressing the weapon select button and choosing first aid. You have to rub the paddles together to charge them before you can shock you teammate back to life. I like it and make me yearn for a Battlefield VR game with a mechanic like that for medics.

Items – there’s bananas that give you an instant health boost, but you first have to peel all 4 sides. The soda can gives you health over time, but you have to pull the tab before drinking it. There’s shield batteries to give extra protection. You also can get a build gun allowing you build metal walls or platforms. You can use this to create a makeshift fort for yourself.

Waiting Room

Population One players in gun battle flying thru the air in wing suits under wind turbines
Wing Suit Gun Battle

Once I moved on from the tutorial and found my first online game, I was dropped off into the game map with the other players to play around before the official match started. I grabbed some ammo and guns to practice shooting at people for fun. It made me notice that you have a red crosshair you can use to aim when hip firing, but it goes away when you put the gun up to your face to aim down the sights.

I practiced climbing up the different building and using the wing suit on parts of the map. It was a smart move to allow players to play around the map as the waiting lobby instead of staring at a list.

First Launch

Population One inside launch pod with fuel gauge and eject lever
Launch Pod Rocketing Thru the Map

When the timer was up, we all spawned in at the top of a tower with a force field keeping us from the launchers. Once the game start timer ended, we were off running towards the launchers. It was basically a metal cage with a big launch button in the middle.

After pressing the big button, it automatically launches you via rocket engines up and then forward thru the map. A big Eject handle allows you to choose where you want to get off on the map, standard battle royal stuff, but I like this nice touch.

Once I ejected, I used my wing suit to run into a tall tower and then climbed up to the top. Unfortunately for me, there was no loot, so I had no guns or ammo. I could have just chilled up there for a while, but I would be toast as soon as I found someone who was armed.

I used the wing suit to go down to a house and finally grabbed a hand gun with some ammo. The next house I busted through had an SMG and ammo. Speaking of busted, you don’t open doors, you break thru them action hero style.

It wasn’t long before I got into a fire fight and lost to a guy that had picked up a shield already. We both ran into the closing borders and that might have been what ultimately killed me. Time for the next game.

Second Try

Population One 3 team mates with 1 eating a banana while the other 2 fist bump
Fist Bump for One of the Crew

This time I got in with a chatty team, so I decided to stick close with them. They let me get my fair share of weapons and ammo. It was pretty quite for us the first few minutes.

We found a bit of a fire fight near some of the buildings, so we climbed up thru ladders inside the building. The enemy did not see where we went and were sitting ducks. They took the wing suit down to flank the enemy team, so I stayed up top too provide overwatch. What I didn’t think of is that I just had a crumby SMG, so my range was garbage.

Taking some pot shots, I did a bit of damage to one of the enemies, but I didn’t take the chance to flank them. The 3 of us had to fall back to the base of the building and I ended up shot in the head from one of them popping around the corner.

Overall I really like the game and think it will be the go to battle royal game in VR. I’ll have to convince the kid to get it so he can be my sniper and try to find more time to play.

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