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Our Review of SUPERHOT for PSVR

After me tirelessly begging for SUPERHOT on PSVR, they finally listened and put the game on PSVR because I asked them to! Okay, that was a lie, I’m just one man. But this iteration of the game has been a long time coming. Both fans and the developers themselves have wanted this to become a reality and the developers, in their recent years of the game, have worked tirelessly to give us all this magical gift. Today, we review the early Christmas gift to see how it holds up on Sony’s Virtual Reality platform.

This review doesn’t necessarily require that you have played the standard version of SUPERHOT. I won’t be sitting and comparing the standard version to the PSVR version. I’ll simply be reviewing it as a standalone PSVR title and how it holds up as such. But I will give you the game’s description taken straight from the developer, since…it’s very hard to describe this game.

‘SUPERHOT is the first person shooter where time moves only when you move.

With its mesmerizing gameplay and unique, stylized graphics SUPERHOT aims to finally add something new and disruptive to the FPS genre.

See the bullets crawling towards you as you carefully plan your steps and aim your gun. Enjoy the mayhem that is unleashed as you put that plan into motion.

Dodge bullets. Take out your enemies. One step at a time.

Audio:

The audio is simply a brilliant encapsulating dance of the deepest sound effects that I’ve heard in any game in a very long time. You have the simple firing of a gun straight from your point of view and you hear it the loudest and when the bullet that flies from your gun meets the victim’s body, you have the perfect salad of the bullet piercing their glass-like flesh and the inevitable sound of cracked glass under pressure, shattering. Glass breaking sounds are the very center of this world and the sounds that are recorded to reflect that definitely seem to vary. It would appear to my ears that there are hundreds of different recorded sounds of glass breaking for this game. I couldn’t hear one repeated shatter in any of my play throughs.

But it isn’t all about glass and guns. The sound of a sword or any object really cutting through the air has that satisfying sound that you would expect it to have. And since time only moves when you do, anything that is in the air, including bullets, only make sounds when you move as well. If you stop moving, the item slows to a stop and the sounds stops accordingly and vice versa. This only adds to the experience as well. All in all, I loved the audio quality in this game. It would appear as though the SuperHOT team realized that audio matters even more in a VR situation and really cranked their expertise all of the way up. The unfortunate side of it all is that you can’t really appreciate all of it unless you have the finest 3D headphones. Stereo can only get you so far in terms of being immersed. However, if you’re just looking to experience the game and play it, standard headphones will do just fine. This is, of course, something that may be easily remedied in future patch updates. 8/10

 

Soundtrack: 

So (spoiler alert) this game does not really feature a soundtrack. If you notice, they have rooms that you move through and those rooms are white. For all intense and purposes, those rooms have no noise (color) or distractions and the sounds in the room play the same way. So since they left the rooms untouched in terms of color, they also left the levels untouched in terms of music. You are left with a completely blank canvas. You are left with your breath, your heartbeat, and the sounds of the aforementioned kick-ass glass shattering. The whole atmosphere is that it is just you and red fellas and that is your focus. If you were into a game like this and expected music, then you’ve already came to this game under the wrong pretenses. Through what you think you know out the window. SuperHOT is an experience unlike literally any other. And in the instance of omitting a soundtrack, I think they made the right decision. This not only sets the mood but also let the developers have more money to make a game that absolutely stands out. 10/10

Visuals: 

The visuals are the most obvious part of this game. You are in the white levels, as previously mentioned, but you have your hands which are a textured black color. Your weapons and other grabbable objects are black and are that stark contrast that we need to set us apart from the rest of the room. And the enemies are a beautiful clash of red colors with a glowing yellow heart at their core. This blend of colors on top of the white lets you focus on what you need to. Furthermore, this prevents the need for a HUD entirely and in fact, until just now, did I even realize that this game doesn’t even have one. But that is just another plus for the team from me. They have such an intuitive game not just in terms of gameplay, but visuals as well. They would’ve only muddled it up by having some sort of anything hanging out in the corner of a screen. 10/10

Gameplay: 

The gameplay, as mentioned before is simple. Time only moves when you do, you can only be hit once, but you also only hit once and they can die just as easily. The black objects are your arsenal. The red guys are enemies. Your fists also can be used to hit the enemies.

Now that I’ve broken that down, let me let you know how this works and does not work in a practical sense. I would say that it all works so well with the exception of throwing an object. To pick up an object you simply reach out to it and squeeze the T button on the PlayStation Move to pick up the item. To throw it, you have to pull your hand back and then forward, like a real life throw, but then you have to tap the big PlayStation Move button on the top of the controller and if you do it too early or late, you will entirely miss your target. This became the hardest, most troublesome part for me because it was the least lifelike thing that you do in the game. It makes more sense to pick up the item with the T button and then when you’re ready to release, let go of the T button. However, since they chose to make the T button the pickup and the fire the gun button, they couldn’t do that. I feel that to fire the gun it should be T to pick it up and then when ready to fire the gun, press and hold the PS Move button on the top and then the T button can also work as a trigger, but if you are not holding the PS Move button, it just lets you throw it. Since the game doesn’t let you customize button layouts or anything of the like, you are stuck with what they have assigned for you, which at times can feel clunky. Especially in the unfortunate event of throwing everything that is in front of you and missing all targets. That happened to me so much, that I had to wait for the enemies to reach me and for me to just punch them. But, the only way they can keep running at you is by you moving, but you can’t logically walk to them all around your play space. So I found myself just rotating my right PlayStation Move controller around like a wand just to speed up time for them to get to me and then I would just punch the enemies one at a time. Which lead to some lackluster levels.

I feel that to fire the gun it should be T to pick it up and then when ready to fire the gun, press and hold the PS Move button on the top and then the T button can also work as a trigger, but if you are not holding the PS Move button, it just lets you throw it. Since the game doesn’t let you customize button layouts or anything of the like, you are stuck with what they have assigned for you, which at times can feel clunky. Especially in the unfortunate event of throwing everything that is in front of you and missing all targets. That happened to me so much, that I had to wait for the enemies to reach me and for me to just punch them. But, the only way they can keep running at you is by you moving, but you can’t logically walk to them all around your play space. So I found myself just rotating my right PlayStation Move controller around like a wand just to speed up time for them to get to me and then I would just punch the enemies one at a time. Which lead to some lackluster levels.

All in all, the gameplay is good, I would say that throwing objects is a learned experience, and maybe you’ll do better than I did. However, it is absolutely not a game that you should avoid just because the grabbing and throwing is a bit wonky. When you have a gun in your hand or a gun in each hand, you feel like a god. The feeling that I got was a visceral kid in a high school feel. It cannot be explained at all. I would say that the feeling I got from shooting a humanoid in the face from across a room and watching their head explode in an array of red is 100% unlike any other emotion I have ever gotten from any other video game, movie, music or art that I have experienced in my life, VR or otherwise. It’s still justified because if you don’t pull the trigger, then they will, so your drive is one of those feelings of unwanting to kill, but unwilling to die.

All in all, the mechanics work the way that they were intended to. The game is less about the game and more about you and how it can make you feel. In my only comparison to the non-VR version of this game, I would say that the VR version nails the emotional aspect. The original game just feels like a fun shooter romp that doesn’t make you feel a whole heck of a lot (expect maybe frustration on some of the levels). 7/10

Replay-ability: 

This game is unique, there is just no denying that. Every level is designed very specifically to give you one way in and one way out. However, how you choose to go through each level is up to you and what you find in the room to help. In that regard, this game is technically limitless. I’m sure there are people that are going to try to speed run this. There’s probably going to be people who try to beat the game with no weapons, fists only. There will be people who try to beat it with thrown objects only. No matter what, the game can and should be played repeatedly. However, if you’re looking for a game to jump in and out of easily, this may not be the one to play day in and day out as sometimes I found myself waiting to be able to get back into the game.

Does the game really reward you from playing it again and again or give you higher difficulties to choose from? Not that I could see. If you’re in it just to keep unlocking things, that’s not what this game is really about. It’s about you and your escape, once you’ve escaped, it’s your decision if you want to go in again. 6/10

VR Pros and Cons: 

I did not get sick for a very long time, it was probably a record for me. This game had been set up in such a way that I kept wondering when I was going to get sick. In terms of controls, the only way to be able to play this game is if you’re one of the VR owners who have 2 PlayStation Move controllers. It doesn’t appear to work with the PlayStation Move and it’s “nunchuck” side piece. My assumption is that both hands have to have the colorful orb on the top for the PlayStation camera to see. The game is very, very responsive. It has the best hand to hand combat of any VR game and the bullet dodging is down right accurate. In fact it’s so accurate I turned to see a bullet penetrate my head right between the eyes and I audibly gasped. It was simply amazing how the game just taught me what my last moments of life would be if I was in a firefight.

Even though it took me a very long time to get sick, when I finally did, it was hard and hit me out of nowhere because of a specific event in a level. I literally had to take my headset off as quickly as possible and go sit before losing my lunch. The game tells you to be aware of your surroundings and it definitely means it. Sure, it will stop you from getting too close to your TV screen on which your PlayStation camera sits, but other than that, you’re on your own. Full disclosure, I punched one of my shelving units in my room. I’m fine, but I have a sad scab on my hand now and my knuckle is bruised. Let me say that again, I got hurt, but to clarify it was my fault. They tell you very deliberately to be aware of your surroundings and you move a lot in this game. I would only suggest playing this in a room where you have about 20 feet of space around you. Otherwise, you’ll end up doing what I have to do which is stop at the end of every level, re-center myself, reapply the headset and keep playing. Much more tedious than just finding a very wide open space to use in the first place. 7/10

If you’re interested in the game after reading my review, you can buy it for $24.99 by clicking here.

If you just wanna buy the original, non-VR version of SUPERHOT for PlayStation 4 at $24.99, click here.

Want both? They’re their own experiences, so yeah, there’s a bundle for $39.99, click here to get it.

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