Review – SUPERHOT VR
From the very first time I saw SUPERHOT I knew immediately this had to be a VR game, but to my surprise it was just a standard controller/keyboard played game. I never gave up faith that SUPERHOT was supposed to be a VR game so I waited all this time to play it. SUPERHOT is the game that I always envisioned playing in VR, giving me the power of Neo from The Matrix, pulling off awesome kill chains and dodging incoming bullets in slow-motion. So was the wait for the PSVR version completely worth it?
SUPERHOT VR is actually a separate game than the standard version, it offers slightly different gameplay and levels, but the core of the gameplay is the same. SUPERHOT VR is the FPS in which time moves only when you move, hence why it is just perfect for VR. You’re more often outnumbered and outgunned than not and you will need to strategize when to dodge and attack. There are no health bars or ammo pick-ups, all you get are the items that are given to you in the stage to throw or use to disarm an enemy so as to steal his weapon. Shoot, slice, melee. Use literal mind blowing telekinesis and slow motion dodge an onslaught of bullets. This game makes you feel like a total bad-ass while completing a totally meta story mode or taking on plenty of its challenge modes.
The gameplay isn’t much else than what was previously said. Time only moves when you do and you’re put in situations where you have to use whatever weapon or item that is around to dispatch the wave of enemies while dodging bullets and melee attacks. That’s about it, but it doesn’t have to be anymore than that because it is so well done and so much fun in VR. The campaign offers 5 different chapters with a total of 26 different levels. If you get hit once by anything you will get sent back to the beginning of the chapter. While the first 2 chapters are fairly easy, letting you get the feel of the motion controls and the overall mechanics of the game, don’t expect that easiness to continue. By chapter 3 and on you will be expected to perform as a professional bullet dodger. The game never feels unfair though, considering you have the ability to freeze time and think about your next moves. Usually I failed a mission because I threw a knife or any of the various items and completely missed my target.
This leads me into one of the only mechanics that really has a learning curve. It wasn’t until around chapter 3 of flinging objects that I realized you can’t throw them like you would in real life. There is a finesse to throwing it regardless if its overhand or backhand, you have to move and release like throwing a dart; a soft straight forward movement. The head tracking is well done, standing is the best so that you have the full movement of dodging and side stepping as long as you stay within the camera boundaries. No matter how many times I ducked in cover and dodged around bullets I did not once experience any motion sickness or the VR sweats.
While the main campaign isn’t all that long — I think I clocked in less than 3 hours and played it all in one sitting — the meat is in its challenge modes. Endless Mode: Select a battleground and survive for as long as you can. Headshots Only: Test your aim where only headshots take out enemies. Time Trial: Race against your best scores in both in-game time (slowed down) and real-time. Don’t Shoot: Try to complete the game without shooting. Hardcore Mode: Get hardcore with faster enemies, less reaction time and all guns only have 1 shot. 10-minute challenge: Just 10 minutes to complete the entire game. Don’t Die: Any death restarts the entire game.
It would be at this time that I would be ragging on SUPERHOT VR’s graphics but there are three points that I will defend it with. 1) The game started out as just a prototype FPS game to try something different. 2) The indie game studio is fairly small and decided to use this simple art design. 3) The VR game within the VR game (The game is literally a VR simulation) is played off freakin floppy discs. Now yes I would have liked the visuals to be a bit sharper with less jaggies, but this is something you just have to accept with playing PSVR games and once you’re in the throes of gameplay you really don’t care. If there is one things that I will complain about it is the lack of a soundtrack. I think there were maybe one or two songs and one of them was for the credits. The other sounds are fine enough from the guns shots and bullets hitting various items. Oh and there is the announcer… Super… Hot… Super… Hot.
So to answer my very first question: yes, the wait was well worth it. SUPERHOT VR is an amazing game and easily one of my favorite PSVR games. It’s incredibly fun, it’s different, and it does the perfect job of making the player feel like a complete bad ass who could easily take on that schmuck “The One.” While the graphics are super simple inside the simulation, it totally works and it’s still satisfying delivering a shotgun blast or a hammer to the red dudes’ heads and seeing them break apart into smaller shapes. The one downfall here is the lack of a good adrenaline pumping soundtrack to go with performing awesome bullet dodges, but everything else is superb.
SUPERHOT VR is available on PSVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive