SUPERHOT VR Reviews

AuthorReview
Slam-Shot-Sam
62,225 (40,920)
Slam-Shot-Sam
TT Score for this game: 447
Posted on 27 July 17 at 12:25, Edited on 27 July 17 at 12:26
This review has 1 positive vote and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
SUPERHOT VR | PS VR | Review

SUPERHOT, a first-person shooter built around the uniquely satisfying concept that time moves only when you do, was an instant classic in our eyes. The feats of sheer badassery this central mechanic allows a player to achieve injects them with such an intoxicating power trip that they’re almost forbidden from putting the controller down. By being so moreish, SUPERHOT marries its narrative - which, without saying too much, features themes of virtual addiction - to its gameplay and presents one concise, cohesive whole. If you’ve played the original you’ll know that bringing the SUPERHOT experience to VR was really a no-brainer, but is it worth double-dipping?

SUPERHOT VR isn’t a simple port, though you shouldn’t think of it as a sequel; you’re a different cog in the same machine. You’ll visit locations and wield weapons and abilities both old and new, but the campaign is distinct on the whole.

You’ll need two PlayStation Move motion controllers to play (there are no alternatives if you don’t happen to have them), each one corresponding to an in-game hand with which you’ll naturalistically pick up, swing, fire and throw weapons and objects at enemies to shatter them like glass. At the same time you’ll be dodging an onslaught of incoming attacks, gleaning just as much satisfaction from playing defence as offence. Leaning to the side and watching a bullet with your name on it travel narrowly past your face, or pulling your stomach back to avoid the thrust of a knife before stepping forward and countering with a head-popping hook, are equivalent to living an enduring action sequence from The Matrix.

With all the squatting, leaning and stepping that staying alive necessitates, playing SUPERHOT VR is much more involving than many of the seated experiences offered by PlayStation VR. If your setup is configured specifically for seated play, you’ll need to clear some space and adjust your PlayStation Camera to accommodate the change. Walking around with a box strapped to your face doesn’t do much for your spatial awareness, so do make sure to keep the floor clear and try to remain mindful of PS VR’s trailing cables. We learned the hard way.

As you bob around like a fool in the rubbish real world, your motions are smoothly replicated in-game, imbuing the confidence to execute needlessly cocky trick shots and juggle weapons before delivering a killing blow. Issues did repeatedly rear their head over time as we gradually lost our orientation and drifted away from centre (while being none the wiser inside the headset), which is easily corrected, but you’ll have to do so during active gameplay while potentially suffering frustrating deaths.

The feats of sheer badassery this central mechanic allows a player to achieve injects them with such an intoxicating power trip that they’re almost forbidden from putting the controller down
Despite the fact you’re all but fixed to the spot in SUPERHOT VR - rather than being able to run around freely, as in the original - the wider spectrum of movement available to you actually makes the change feel liberating. You can still employ the same tactics you would in vanilla SUPERHOT, but also incorporate those exclusively afforded by the introduction of motion control, like extending your arm out from cover to blindfire, or using your hands to physically snatch bullets out of the air. To counterbalance the extra tools at your disposal and keep things engaging, you’ll now need to complete sets of levels before reaching a checkpoint, rather than being awarded one each and every level.

While the switch to motion control brings with it both foibles and boons, the transition from 2D to 3D is entirely a positive one. The clean, simple aesthetic works wonders in disguising VR’s fuzzy edges, while the added depth perception helps to more accurately gauge distances and accordingly lead your shots. You’ll instinctively wince when an enemy pulls the trigger as you stare down the barrel of their gun, but, most importantly, playing in virtual reality is exciting because of the technology’s relevance to the SUPERHOT universe. For existing fans, being sucked directly into the experience they had previously taken in second hand is a real treat.

The one area in which we criticised SUPERHOT was its endgame content; after completing the somewhat short story you unlock a range of challenges that are each interesting in themselves, but ultimately amount to replaying the same levels over and over with slightly modified rule sets. The exact complaint stands when it comes to SUPERHOT VR, but the challenges are a less enticing prospect this time around. That isn’t due to any design shortfall - they’re good fun - but the fact that encountering the aforementioned tracking issues at the wrong time can cost you dearly.

Playing in VR is all the more exciting because of the technology’s relevance to the SUPERHOT universe. For existing fans, being sucked directly into the experience they had previously taken in second hand is a real treat.
SUPERHOT is a power fantasy, and the implementation of virtual reality and motion control helps to realise that fantasy in more vivid fashion, making SUPERHOT VR the best way to play this inspired shooter. For a while, that is, as the original has it beat when it comes to post-campaign challenges - it’s just a good job they’re different enough from one another to both thoroughly warrant purchases.

Pros

+ Time-bending core mechanic is amazing
+ Thoughtful and empowering gameplay
+ A standalone game, rather than a simple port or update
+ Perfectly suited to VR, thematically and visually
+ Motion tracking is on point for the most part...

Cons

- … But can occasionally go wonky
- Tasked with replaying the same levels over and over post-campaign

9/10

Trophies

SUPERHOT VR is a tough completion thanks to the fact you'll need to finish all of the game's challenges, which include beating the campaign without dying (you'll be booted back to the menu to start over if you do). While I've personally gotten 100% in the vanilla game on Xbox One, doing the same when subject to potential tracking issues in the VR version is a totally different story.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Originally written for Pass the Controller, a copy was provided for the purpose of this review.

You can check out my Xbox One reviews over at TrueAchievements.

Thanks for reading!
Please log in to comment on this solution.