Population: One Phoenix Rising Update Resurrects The Fun In VR Battle Royale Games

We've gone hands-on with Phoenix Royale, the latest iteration of popular VR battle royale game Population: One.

Phoenix Royale brings new features and improvements that aim to elevate the already amazing experience Population: One offers. In this hands-on report, we'll dive into the gameplay, graphics, and sound, and more, while comparing it to the original Population: One and highlighting the differences that make Phoenix Royale stand out.

Gameplay And Differences

The Phoenix Royale update for Population: One brings several exciting changes compared to the original game. Most notably, the update introduces: 

New Phoenix Map

One of the most significant additions to the new Phoenix Royale update is its new Phoenix map. This full-sized battle royale map is meticulously designed to offer a diverse range of environments providing many strategic opportunities that rarely leave players caught in the open. From dense urban areas to open fields and rugged terrain, the Phoenix map provides an environment that keeps the gameplay fresh and exciting until the very end. The map's layout also encourages exploration and aids in tactical decision-making, creating a unique experience with each match.

Phoenix Redeploys

One of the standout new features of the Phoenix Royale update is its redeploy system. In traditional battle royale games, being downed often means a long wait or an early exit from the match. In Phoenix Royale, however, the game introduces a new redeploy system that allows players to get back into the action quickly. Even if you're downed and away from your squad, you can redeploy and rejoin your team, ensuring that the gameplay remains fast-paced and balanced.

Phoenix Supply Crates And Buy Stations

In Phoenix Royale, BigBox is introducing Phoenix Supply Crates and Buy Stations, which add a new layer of strategy to the game. These supply crates are scattered across the map and contain various weapons, health items, and even Phoenix Gem Bars, which are a new in-game currency. Players collect these gem bars to spend them at the Buy Stations where they can purchase items such as health, backpacks, weapon upgrades, and class buffs. This encourages players to explore the map further while making strategic decisions about where and when to spend resources.

Phoenix Loot Vaults

Every time a match starts, loot vaults randomly appear on the map. These vaults are guarded by Towerheads, which players must destroy in order to capture the objective point and access special supply crates that contain various high-level weapons and sometimes even significant amounts of Phoenix Gem Bars. This brings an element of risk and reward, causing players to decide whether or not to engage in these high-stakes encounters all for the chance to obtain some valuable loot.

Moving End-Zone Mechanic

Phoenix Royale also introduces a new moving end-zone mechanic in all of its squad-based modes. In Phoenix Royale, the moving end-zone rotates around the map, keeping the action constantly moving and forcing players to adapt their strategies on the fly. The dynamic end-zone adds an extra layer of excitement and unpredictability and discourages the dreaded zone camping that seems to occur often in many battle royale-style games.

Sprinting Mechanic

Another notable addition to Phoenix Royale is the new sprinting mechanic. Players can now use a tactical sprint movement option to move quickly. This mechanic is available in all game modes and provides players with more mobility and flexibility. Whether you're trying to escape the closing end-zone or repositioning for a better vantage point, the sprinting mechanic adds a new and much appreciated dimension to Pop One's gameplay.

Graphics and Sound

As it's always been with Population One as well as all of its other updates, Phoenix Royale boasts impressive graphics that look fantastic in the Quest 3 I used for our demo session. While the game still has not been fully updated to take advantage of the new graphics horsepower, the Quest 3 offers the developers mentioned during our press demo that specific enhancements had been made but that they needed to strike a balance between looks and performance, since the nature of the game demands peak performance at all times.

Checking out the lighting and textures on weapons

The new Phoenix map is visually stunning, featuring a detailed environment with good use of textures that bring this world to life. The game's lighting effects also add to the atmosphere, creating both a dynamic and visually appealing experience. The sound design in Phoenix Royale is equally impressive, with realistic audio cues that help players stay aware of their surroundings and aid in making strategic decisions.

Press Demo

We recently participated in a press demo for Phoenix Royale where Ian Hamilton, Henry Stockdale, and Don Hopper from UploadVR - along with other journalists from various publications and members of the BigBox team went head to head while exploring the maps and learning about the new features and mechanics. The redeploy system and moving end-zone mechanic kept us on our toes, and the new Phoenix map definitely provided a fresh and exciting environment to battle each other in. The entire experience was a testament to the game's ability to deliver a fun and engaging experience for players of all skill levels. As someone who hasn't played Pop One in a while but used to play a lot when it first released, it felt like coming home again.

UploadVR Staff Meeting

We had a great time exploring the new features Phoenix Royale brings and even had a bit of good-spirited inter-office rivalry in a few of our matches. In one match, I vividly remember suffering a bitter defeat at Ian's hands in the last minutes of a crucial round, only to respawn shortly afterward dispatching Henry with my new bad-ass energy blade, and it was utterly exhilarating!


Overall, Phoenix Royale offers major new reasons to install, or re-install, Population: One to give this new update a try. It offers a host of new features and improvements that enhance the original game’s experience. The update brings with it the new Phoenix map, redeploy system, supply crates, buy stations, loot vaults, moving end-zone mechanic, and sprinting mechanic which all contribute to a more dynamic and engaging gameplay experience.

The game's impressive graphics and sound design, combined with all of these new improvements make it another standout update to one of the most amazing games in the VR battle royale genre. So, whether you're a veteran player or new to the series, Population: One - Phoenix Royale is a must-play game mode.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.uploadvr.com/population-one-phoenix-rising/