‘SUPERHOT VR’ Review: When Wick Meets Neo
Virtual reality games are still trying to find themselves, as the technology as a whole is still relatively new. Some games are incredibly unique, like Fantastic Contraption, and some look absolutely stunning in VR, like Theseus, but finding the games that both look good and have amazing gameplay is still an issue in the infancy of the new VR technology. That is beginning to change with SUPERHOT VR, out now for the PlayStation VR. SUPERHOT VR trades in detailed graphics for amazing gameplay, and creates one of the best VR shooters on the market.
Beware The Red Dudes
SUPERHOT VR drops the player into simple-designed levels, with the detail whitewashed out, creating sim-like environments to play in. Throw in a handful of what developer Superhot Team calls “Red Dudes,” who are trying to kill you, and the player must use their fists, any guns they can get their hands on, or whatever else might be lying around to kill the Red Dudes to end the level. The Red Dudes are, well, red polygonal figures that are armed with various weapons or just their fists, and they are trying to kill you. Each movement you make with the Move controllers also lets them move, so it becomes a strange dance of kill or be killed, and playing in careful, precise slow-motion is key to killing the Red Dudes and ending the level.
Weapons and assorted items, like ashtrays, wine bottles, coffee mugs, staplers, or whatever else, are scattered on the tables around you, and the player must simply pick them up with the Move controllers and throw them at the enemy. A hit can cause the Red Dudes to lose their guns, and the player can snatch them right out of the air to kill the others. I cannot stress how friggin cool this is, and controlling time with my own movement sets up some amazing action scenes starring me. I feel like I’m equal parts John Wick and Neo from the Matrix. Either way, I’m getting my Keanu Reeves on when I play.
It’s All A Simulation, Right?
After a brief, integrated tutorial, the player begins the SUPERHOT VR game itself. Outside of the simulation levels, the player finds themselves at a series of PCs and they can load in floppy discs, which contain a new simulation and slide on a helmet to begin the next set of VR missions. This mid-level transition mode is fully rendered, and it looks like you are standing in a small room with the PCs and dozens of post-it notes stuck on the walls around you. One inside the simulation, the world is bleached of color and detail, leaving only abstract versions of rooms, tables, chairs, walls, doorways, rooftops, and even helicopters flying above.
None of this matters, as once the action starts in a level — sometimes from the very second the level boots — the player doesn’t care what the world around them looks like; there are red dudes armed to the teeth, firing bullets at your head. One hit kills on both sides, but the control of time lets the player slowly duck or sidestep whizzing bullets, or, if you hold a knife or an axe, you can literally slice the slugs in half in mid-air. It is pretty epic.
SUPERHOT VR’s Super Challenge
Once SUPERHOT VR’s “story” is completed, which takes about three hours, a series of increasingly difficult challenge levels open up, giving you plenty more enemies to shoot, stab, and punch, while dodging gunfire and other assorted Red Dude attacks. This gives SUPERHOT VR a nice level of replayability, and keeps the fun going and going.
Unfortunately, SUPERHOT VR has some major issues, keeping it from becoming the instant classic it deserves to be. The PS Camera has major issues tracking the room, and reaching for a gun that’s on the table in front of you in-game can be a hit-or-miss endeavor. Unfortunately, if you miss and can’t grab it, you will most likely be killed and have to start the level over. This can be incredibly frustrating in later levels with swarms of Red Dudes descending on you from literally all sides. I’ve re-adjusted my camera and even tried to keep myself centered in the play area, but the issue still persists. I can’t lay this blame on the game itself, but on the PS Camera peripheral.
Be The Action Hero
Awful tracking aside, SUPERHOT VR is still an amazing game to play, and is easily a must-have game for PSVR owners. The action, and what you can physically do in each level, represents a wonderful action film simulation, which takes the best parts of John Wick and The Matrix and creates a new and exciting VR experience that must be played to be understood. I absolutely love strapping on my PSVR gear and sliding on some headphones to work up a sweat killing faceless Red Dudes over and over, and in new and exciting ways. SUPERHOT VR is the reason that VR will succeed, and I hope that Superhot Team is working on a sequel, or more levels, because this game is super hot-hot-HOT!
SUPERHOT VR is available now for the PSVR. This review is based off a review code provided by the publisher.
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