Vicious Circle Impressions – Cut Throat Semi-Cooperative Fun

Rooster Teeth Games’ uncooperative multiplayer shooter, Vicious Circle truly represents the saying that goes “what goes around comes around.” After going hands-on with the game at a press event in San Francisco, I can honestly say that Vicious Circle is a wild Evolve, Mario Kart, and Overwatch fusion, which sounds odd, I know, but trust me — it’s fun. Just for that reason alone, the game could rise up to be another great esports sensation that players will want to keep coming back to. 

Vicious Circle is set in a vibrant yet gritty 1960s-like sci-fi universe that’s inspired by retro comics. Now, when you read “1960s”, what properly came to your mind was how during that time, folks were really focused on bringing peace and prosperity into the world. The thing with Vicious Circle, though, is that the game will have four players take on the role of a mercenary who needs to compete for loot, and then one player controls a monster that must try to kill everything in the way. Clearly, this won’t be any sort of Kumbaya experience at all, it’s all about showing no mercy. 

For mercenary players to win a match, it takes more than just killing the player-controlled monster, as mercenaries win by gathering a special resource called nuggets scattered across the map. Once they’ve collected enough, they can call in an evac and end the match, but there’s a catch: only one mercenary can escape and emerge the winner. The monster, on the other hand, wins by killing all the mercenaries. This objective, definitely isn’t similar to other 4v1 style games, like Evolve or Dead by Daylight, since, in those games, the four players generally need to work together to defeat the odd player out. It’s an interesting twist that’ll ultimately lead to every match players take on to be different from the last. 

Vicious Circle Screen 8

Now, don’t get me wrong, there can be a little bit of cooperation involved in Vicious Circle as players can work with other mercenaries to survive, but the thing is, only the player with the most loot wins. To prevent players from killing each other non-stop, thus making matches go on forever, the game does not have any sort of friendly fire. That said, players can still outwit their opponents by using the environment and a selection of helpful gadgets — and also, if a player dies, they turn into this sort of leech thing that can overtake another player’s body. 

The amount of strategy involved is actually is what I found to be fascinating about Vicious Circle — it’s not just a run-and-gun shooter, it’s more of a “brains versus brawn” shooter that requires you to come up with and unleash various strategies to achieve victory. Because of this, some could even say that the game resembles Mario Kart in a way, in the sense that striking your opponent down at the right place at the right time is what will make you a champ. During the preview event, the lead designer of Vicious Circle, Casey Donnellan even mentioned this saying, “It’s basically Mario Kart as a first-person shooter — it’s frantic, anyone can come out of nowhere and just win.”

Vicious Circle Screen 5

Unlike Mario Kart, however, split-screen/local multiplayer is not in currently the works for Vicious Circle. That said, Rooster Teeth Games’ head of game development, Michael Hadwin did share that adding that multiplayer feature could be a thing if “the community demands it” the development team could “definitely try to make it work.” 

Regardless, because of how wild things can get in Vicious Circle, the game will be a fun time for both players and viewers, which means it could very well end up being one wild esports title. For every match that you’ll take on, Vicious Circle is going to make you salty, but there will be plenty times that are going to be oh so satisfying. We’re looking forward to playing more of Vicious Circle, which is set to launch later this summer on PC-via Steam. 

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Brad Crespo

Editor-in-Chief - On a quest to play as many new games as possible while trying to finish an endless backlog.