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Intense John Wick VR game arrives just before the film sequel

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Jump into John Wick Chronicles

John Wick Chronicles - Charon screenshot
Charon (Lance Reddick), the concierge at the Continental Hotel, in John Wick Chronicles.
Starbreeze Studios

John Wick Chronicles, the virtual reality game that ties into the John Wick film franchise, will be released Feb. 9 exclusively on Steam for the HTC Vive, Lionsgate and Starbreeze Studios announced today.

That’s one day before John Wick: Chapter 2, the sequel to 2014’s John Wick, hits theaters. John Wick Chronicles is now available for pre-order on Steam for $19.99; pre-order customers will receive a free copy of Payday 2. The game is being co-developed by Starbreeze, Grab Games, Big Red Button and Gamecostudios.

John Wick Chronicles takes place between the two films and allows you to step into the shoes of the titular assassin, who is played by Keanu Reeves in the movies. It’s unclear if Reeves recorded voice-overs for John Wick Chronicles, but one person whose voice and likeness appear in the game is Lance Reddick. He plays Charon, the concierge at the Continental Hotel, who serves as a guide by speaking in your ear.

Virtual reality is a perfect medium for shooters, and plenty of them are already available. But the intensity of John Wick Chronicles coupled with the room-scale experience offered by the HTC Vive makes for a heart-pounding exercise — and we mean exercise, since we got sweaty during a brief demo at New York Comic Con last October.

John Wick Chronicles rooftop gun crate
Who’s in more danger, us or him?
Starbreeze Studios

In the segment we played, we took an elevator up from the lobby of the Continental Hotel to the penthouse suite, where things quickly got out of hand. Laser sights from enemy rifles pierced the room, forcing us to duck — in real life — to avoid the bullets that soon came through the windows. We pawed at the floor until we pressed a button to activate a secret elevator behind us, then crawled into it and escaped to the roof.

Unfortunately, the situation wasn’t much safer up there. Enemies started firing at Mr. Wick — first from across the rooftop, and then from other buildings. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, armored thugs began climbing up onto the roof and coming directly at us, sometimes even from behind. Besieged from all sides, the only way we were able to survive was to keep moving from cover to cover. A crate of ever-respawning weapons, including a submachine gun and a sniper rifle, did help.

Well, until the helicopter arrived, anyway.

By the end of the demo, we were huffing and puffing and starting to sweat — which might say more about our personal level of fitness than John Wick Chronicles itself. You can find out for yourself next month if you have an HTC Vive.