Experience the pressure of providing on-demand close-air-support within your assigned “Kill Box” in the awesome F/A-26B.
As most people are aware by now, I’m a huge fan of VTOL VR – a VR exclusive combat flight simulation/game that provides an excellent mix of gameplay and realism with an emphasis on operating the aircraft using VR hand controllers. If you haven’t read up on it, I encourage you to check out my detailed review published in April 2019: LINK!
Initially VTOL VR launched with the vertical takeoff/landing AV-42C “Kestrel”, a mixed transport/gunship capable of carrying troops into battle while performing both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. In early 2018, the developer added the carrier based, air superiority (but ground attack capable) F/A-26B “Wasp” that brought an air-to-air radar into the mix while retaining a multitude of hardpoints that allow the Wasp to carry an enormous air-to-ground payload.
This mission, designed by Shamebird and available in the Steam Workshop, is a single mission with events that occur in a random order. The premise is that you have been assigned an area to patrol (a kill box) where you will work with multiple entities to provide close-air-support and strikes on enemy forces threatening friendly troops. The mission contains a thorough multi-slide briefing with an overview, suggestions on tactics, and a recommended loadout. As a fan of detailed briefings, the use of graphics and text to provide some details was what hooked me on this mission.
Comms and Tasking
One of the things that sets this mission apart is the excellent and immersive communications throughout. The voice acting in the radio transmissions is quite well done and atmospheric. The communications also give important details such as bearings and distances for threats and other items that will help put your sensors on the target. Some searching will be required, but there is a nice mix of detail and ambiguity to the different taskings you will receive. Broad target areas will sometimes be updated in your aircraft map waypoints (like a data-link), allowing you to quickly orient yourself and start working your sensors or perform visual recon.
It’s a workout…
The great thing about VR is the 1:1 head tracking means that combat flying is a physical workout. Twisting your head around behind you, craning your neck, rapidly scanning the instruments and then going back to being heads up – and Kill Box will have you working pretty hard with a mix of in-cockpit sensor manipulation and visual recon. Coupled together with the awesome finger and hand interactions that are integral to the VTOL VR game design philosophy and you have the recipe for a fantastic physical experience that provides a total mind/body meld. Yes – I’m an unabashed VR fan.
Check your fire!
During your time on station in the Kill Box, you will have multiple taskings – some are more time critical than others. Adding to the stress, you’ll spend the whole mission without really knowing what ordnance you need to retain or use, so the preflight arming selections are very important, and being thrifty with ordnance expenditures can determine whether you have enough firepower to last for the duration of your patrol. Also be careful with where your weapons impact since some of the close-air-support missions could result in friendly casualties.
Technically, refueling is available if you need it, but the mission is short enough that you shouldn’t require it – even if you buster around the AO in full burner. As well, the carrier is available to rearm, but with a limited budget and limited time in the Kill Box, it doesn’t factor in to the evolution of the mission. At the start of the mission you can select Daylight, Morning, or Night to suit your preference.
As usual, the VTOL VR user community has come through with great content to round out the already superb stock missions and campaigns. The satisfaction of protecting the friendlies on the ground and getting home to the carrier safely makes Kill Box a must play mission.
Chris “BeachAV8R” Frishmuth
VTOL VR on Steam: HERE
Kill Box on Steam Workshop: HERE
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