Hubris is a visually stunning sci-fi, action-adventure VR game from Cyborn studio. The game delivers AAA-level graphics, but does the gameplay live up to the visuals? Find out in our full review of Hubris for PC VR.
Hubris, the first large scale VR title from 3D animation and game studio Cyborn, sees you step into the boots of a space marine training to become a member of the mighty OOO (Order of Objectivity). You’re sent to a planet together with the ship’s pilot, Lucia, in search of Cyanha, a powerful OOO agent gone MIA. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to traverse the sci-fi world, avoiding environmental hazards whilst fending off hostile wildlife and opposing factions in a bid to find the missing agent.
Hubris goes to prove the old idiom that you should never judge a book by its cover. It’s hard not to be impressed by the gorgeous alien landscapes and polished character models that Hubris has to offer. I’ll admit to being more than a little awestruck when the dropship hatch first opened and introduced me to a stunning underwater biome, replete with colorful corals and marine life. However, once you get past the pretty packaging, Hubris turns out to be a fairly run-of-the-mill shooter.
For the most part, you learn about the various in-game mechanics as you progress through the campaign, sparing you from tedious lengthy tutorials. Your holo-backpack is one of the first things you learn how to use. It operates just like a regular backpack, but lets you store a lot more stuff thanks to its ability to de-materialize items.
The backpack is utilized quite well, allowing you to store objects you pick up by simply placing your hand over either shoulder, letting you scavenge for items without slowing down the fast-paced gameplay too much. Retrieving items can be done just as easily, by reaching over your right shoulder for health items or left shoulder for everything else. However, to grab something specific you’ll need to open an inventory activated by a button on your wrist. The backpack holds as much as you will ever need and items are automatically organized, so there’s no need for inventory micro-management.
Aside from quest-related items, objects fall into one of two other categories: things that restore health and junk. Some items that replenish health, like alien fruit, can be eaten straight-up while some need to be combined in a mixer with other ingredients before you can use them. Then there’s the junk you collect, which can be broken down into raw materials and fed into a 3D printer for gun upgrades.
The idea of collecting hidden items for upgrades is not a new one. Still, it’s a positive feature that rewards players for exploring the environment, especially when you manage to find rare material. There’s only one point in the campaign where this becomes an annoyance, during a tedious section requiring you to collect every piece of junk in one room in order to progress forward.
That misstep aside, the only other irritation with the upgrade feature is that it can feel like a chore having to offload every piece of scrap into the machine to convert into raw material, then having to insert all of the materials into the 3D printer. Thankfully, once you’ve extracted the materials you need, upgrading your sidearm and selecting your desired upgrade with the 3D printer is a much quicker process.
Locked And Loaded
You’re equipped with a semi-automatic plasma pistol that can be upgraded to transform into a shotgun or machine gun. Each of these weapon types can also be upgraded in strength, but given the limited materials, you might have to choose between improving your pistol’s power or adding a shotgun/machine gun function.
That being said, your resources are probably best spent upgrading the pistol. The machine gun is fairly weak, inaccurate, and doesn’t have a whole lot of ammo when you take into account its rapid rate of fire. On the other hand, the shotgun is more powerful but performs dismally at longer ranges. The pistol is an all-rounder that’s both accurate and packs a punch, making it the logical choice for most situations.There’s also a fourth weapon – a futuristic harpoon gun that can only be used underwater – but unlike your sidearm, it can’t be upgraded.
The game’s lack of weaponry is a bit of a letdown – there isn’t even explosive ordinance, such as grenades, to play with. More than once, I encountered a group of enemies that were just asking for a well-placed explosive to ruin their day, only to realize I had nothing for the job.
That said, the reloading mechanism for your sidearm is enjoyably unique, requiring you to hold the gun upright next to your head and wait for it to fully or partially charge (marked by audio cues) before firing another shot. This makes it vital to be accurate with your shots, lest you be caught in a compromising position while waiting for your gun to reload.
However, this tactical element would have worked better if the gun sight was more useful when lining up a shot. For whatever reason, aiming down the sight was so difficult that I often resorted to shooting my sidearm in the general direction of the enemy and adjusting my aim based on the direction of the projectile.
This brings us to the weakest overall element of Hubris: its combat. The enemies you’ll encounter are fairly generic. From the hostile squids to flying mechanized drones and space marines, none of the game’s foes left a lasting impression on me, but perhaps the combat’s biggest issue is the enemy AI – or lack thereof.
The lackluster AI is something we noted in both our early hands-on previews of the game, and it remains a problem in the full release. The enemies’ general attack strategy is to rush your position. This can be excused for the less intelligent creatures like the giant bugs, but less so when the more advanced humanoid enemies follow a similar pattern. At most, enemies sometimes strafe and kneel whilst taking shots, but tend not to take full advantage of the cover around them. More often than not, this makes opponents easy to pick off with some well-placed blaster fire.
That’s not to say combat was a breeze – it’s still very possible to get killed on any of the three difficulty settings, but death usually comes when overwhelmed by a large number of enemies, rather from any clever tactics on their part. Plus, when it comes to aiming, enemies are the polar opposite of a Star Wars Stormtrooper – their shots are exceptionally accurate.
The combat also suffers from a distinct lack of variety in the opponents you face. An opposing faction of space marines are the main enemies, taking the form of two types: the standard “cannon-fodder” trooper and a more heavily-armored type equipped with a powerful plasma weapon. Coming across the same enemies time and time again certainly adds to the repetitiveness of encounters.
Having said that, I don’t want to come across as overly critical. Overall, the combat isn’t all bad and it certainly has its moments. It was always satisfying to watch bugs explode into gooey chunks or vaporize your opponent with a well-placed headshot.
Platforming And Puzzling
Another big part of Hubris is the use of jumping, climbing, and swimming to navigate through the sci-fi world. The platforming works well, apart from occasional glitches where my hand would pass through a climbable feature or I would get stuck inside the environment by accident, receiving an “Out Of Bounds” message. Getting around feels natural, even when performing breaststroke motions to swim underwater.
There are also some simple environmental puzzle elements, but nothing that will have you scratching your head for too long. The puzzles involve finding hidden objects, interacting with machinery, or using one select item with another. In one section, for example, you’ll disable a pair of sentry guns by climbing a scaffold to operate a set of controls, maneuvering a crate on top of the sentries.
Hubris Review – Final Verdict
Overall, Hubris is a bit like that fast food burger you order on a Saturday night. It fails to live up to the impressive image shown on the menu but still satisfies your craving. The game shines in some areas, such the visuals and well thought out mechanics, but is average in others, like the combat and storyline. Beyond the eye candy, Hubris probably won’t leave a huge lasting impression, but it’s still a standard action-adventure shooter that’s enjoyable enough to keep you playing through to the end.
UploadVR recently changed its review guidelines, and this is one of our Recommend review labels. You can read more about our review guidelines here.