Let me say up front that I’m in no way saying that no special forces commando has ever stealthily infiltrated an enemy stronghold exclusively via kayak without ever setting foot on land. I mean, if such a soldier exists, they must be such a badass that no one has ever seen them and lived. But for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s a goofy premise for a VR stealth game, and Phantom: Covert Ops leans into it hard enough that it sort of works.
Given the fact that you’re effectively half man, half boat it’s bemusing how seriously Phantom: Covert Ops takes itself. You’ve got the amazingly generic name, and the paint-by-numbers Tom Clancy story about a former Soviet madman planning a biological weapons attack is played 100 percent straight, smack-talking villains and all. All of that is relayed to you through voices over a radio. It’s practically self-parody.
Where Phantom does stand out is in how you sneak around. Propelling yourself through the water is pretty fun once you get over how ridiculous waving a virtual kayak paddle looks to anybody watching – picture someone doggy-paddling through the air. I ended up getting into it, though, even putting