The game's story centres around an experiment gone wrong, which has torn a hole through the fabric of reality and let monsters and demons out and into our world. So yes, it's basically Doom, but in virtual reality.
With a game that promises "situational horror" and "occassional pants wetting" you can more than assume it'll be a thrilling pulse-raiser of a game. And, by jove, you wouldn't be wrong...
The Brookhaven Experiment review: The virtual setting
Playing The Brookhaven Experiment you find yourself alone, in a series of desolate, dark and dangerously eerie surroundings fighting off waves of monsters. If you want a cheery Monday night in then, well, you're prob best to go water your flowers in the garden instead.
The game requires room-scale playspace, but movement is mostly limited to a small area, and there isn't much need to budge from the same spot other than to avoid demonic claws or duck and dive out of danger.
There's a thin plot line, whereby a disembodied voice over a radio tells you where you are located and whyat the beginning and end of each wave of monsters. It's then your mission to stay alive.
Each of the locations is dark and dimly lit - often set at night or in locations where light is inadequate, like in a basement or unpowered experiment facility - with just a torch and a single gun equipped to you. Life ain't easy, eh?
The game's audio is spookily fantastic, too. As hideous monsters lurch at you out of the darkness you'll hear their growls and snarls and the heavy thud of their footsteps as they approach. You need to have eyes and ears in the back of your head for this one.
The Brookhaven Experiment review: Missions and combat
Missions include defending a loud generator while it starts up (thus attracting a horde), protecting a computer while important files download, and more. Essentially each scenario is just an excuse to throw you into the monster shooting gallery.
As you'd expect in any game of this sort, the tension only increases as the game progresses and as your ammo starts to dwindle. You start with a pistol and a torch, but the torch can be quickly switched to a knife for when the fights get really close quarters and desperate.
We quickly found we were swinging the knife about wildly when monsters got close, especially the sort of monster that would charge headlong at the first sign of being shot at. The torch is useful for seeing where the threats are coming from, but it also attracts them and gives away your position. When everything goes out of the window, the torch can be used as a melee weapon if needs be.
Our only real combat complaint is that we wish proper duel-wielding was an option.
Playing the main campaign, there are several progressively difficult waves per campaign level and 10 campaign missions total. So there's plenty of play time here, especially until you get used to the play style and don't die as much.
Each campaign gets harder and throws new enemies at you: faster, bigger, harder, each with their own traits that you need to learn. Being able to identify monster types by sound is useful to know which is approaching you and which needs to be dealt with first. Just because an enemy is close, doesn't mean it's the most dangerous threat.
Later levels include monstrous spiders that spit webbing and acid at you and make a horrid sound that made our skin crawl. Enormous, slow monsters lumber up and take a great swathe of bullets to put down. And let's not forget the tiny hell babies which quickly bounce up to gnaw on your ankles. There's a wild amount of monster variety that you need to learn in order to survive.
The Brookhaven Experiment review: Achievements and replayability
Wave-based shooters often suffer from issues with replayability, especially when the waves of enemies are predictable and consistent. Eventually, you'll learn how to shoot, what to shoot and when, and how to survive for the longest possible time. That's when things usually get a bit samey and dull. However, The Brookhaven Experiment doesn't necessarily suffer from this potential problem in the same way other wave-based VR shooters.
That's because of unlocks. Throughout the levels, you'll find hidden items tucked neatly nearly out of site. They aren't obvious, but they're worth finding as shooting them unlocks new weapons, attachments, charms and ammo - all of which upgrade your guns and make them more effective.
Unlockable weapons mostly include small calibre guns, so don't expect to be flame-throwing monsters or firing grenade launchers wildly to destroy your foe. But there are mines, grenades and other throwable weapons aimed at dealing with harder waves of the bigger, tougher baddies. There's also an under-barrel light attachment for your pistol, for instance, which makes it easier to see and shoot your enemy without using your torch.
In addition to unlocks, the challenges and achievements keep the interest going. There are achievements that help push these boundaries - finish a nighttime mission without turning on your torch, survive a campaign level only using a knife, acquire all the guns and upgrades, and so on - which really add to the game's depth and the sense of achievement you get when playing it.
Outside of the main campaign, there's also "survival mode" which, as you can imagine, involves surviving wave after wave of enemies for as long as possible. That's a lot of fun too.
The Brookhaven Experiment is a joy to play, especially if you're a fan of zombie shooters or enjoy fighting off waves of terrifying monsters.
There's no much of a story, but what did you expect? This game is all about intense shooting action. It's one of those games where you quickly work up a sweat. Ducking, dodging, kneeling and popping off bullets at demons quickly becomes tiring, but it's never not fun.
For a wave-based shooter there's plenty of longevity thanks to unlocks and challenges, too, which will keep play fresh throughout its 10 campaign missions. Well, fresh if you can keep your kecks dry.
The Brookhaven Experiment is available to play on both HTC Vive and Oculus right and can be purchased from Steam for £14.99.
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