SUPERHOT VR is perhaps the coolest, most bad arse game I’ve ever had the good fortune to play. Never before has a game had me skip a lasagne. A meal, yes. But not a lasagne. I never skip lasagne. Or at least I didn’t before playing SUPERHOT VR.
If you’re looking for a review for non-VR SUPERHOT, make your way to our review through here.
So determined was I to nail a tricky level that I shooed away my partner’s ramblings about dinner, chores, and some kid we co-own. I was in the zone. I had my right hand poised, ready to stab the mother hugger to the right of me. My plan was to stab him, nick his gun, shoot the fool creeping to my left, duck down to avoid a hail of bullets, and then finish off the third punk with a well placed shot in the bollocks.
I grabbed the knife, brought it up to Mr Right’s chin. His gun dropped down towards my hand. I lifted my hand up in one smooth motion and popped Mr Left in the head. I ducked and – ah, shit. Not quite quick enough. I’m dead. Again. For what must be the 10th time, I’m restarting a level. Normally this would piss me off to no end and I’d probably quit the game and watch Netflix for a bit. Not today. Every defeat was a lesson learned. I became one with the pistol. The knife. The, erm, ashtray?
SUPERHOT VR is, as its very name suggests, a VR rendition of the original SUPERHOT that released to critical acclaim many moons ago. As such, you’ll need a VR headset and a pair of PS Move controllers to play. Failing that, you can always play the standard version on PS4, sold separately.
I have to admit to being sceptical about how well SUPERHOT VR would hold up on Sony’s headset. I’ve been disappointed in the past with shooting games – mainly due to the tracking of the PSVR’s controls. I’m happy to say that my fears were put to rest almost immediately with SUPERHOT VR. After just a few moments I was impressed with the accuracy as I bitch slapped a Red (the enemies are red) to death. It felt good.
SUPERHOT VR is a shooter like no other. The gimmick is that time only passes by when you move. If you go into SUPERHOT VR prancing around like a pleb, you’re gonna get shot and you won’t even see the bullet coming. You need to creep. You need to chill out and go slow. When you move, Reds (the enemies are red figures) will move fowards like zombies on weed. Bottles will explode, scattering pieces all across your view while bullets crawl towards you like deadly little slugs. This is a shooter that wants you to really, really think about what you’re going to do next. You need to anticipate where the Reds are going and place your shot not where they are at that given moment, but where they’ll be once time moves forward.
Most shooters just let you go mental. You can fire hundreds of rounds every minute, killing tens of married henchmen, all the while looking like a total geezer. SUPERHOT VR does not do that. Guns aren’t always within reach, and when they are, they’re pretty low on ammo. No, there are no ammo packs to pick up. There’s no red mist or magical regeneration of health. One shot and you’re done for. Don’t pay enough attention and you’ll be the one catching a stray bullet in the noodle. On the flip side, Reds bite the dust in just the same way. Whether it’s the bullet of a sub-machine gun grazing a Red’s shin, or a knife gently tapping a Red on the shoulder, one light hit and you’re a goner.
I guess you could actually categorise SUPERHOT VR as a puzzle game. Each level is made up of a series of sequences that present different situations. One thing every level has in common is that they start in the same manner by having you execute a Red before it all kicks off. Each sequence is a mini-puzzle that solves itself with time. Whoa. This just got deep, man.
I think the best way to really give you an idea of the gameplay loop is to compare it to the Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt time-travel(ish) movie The Edge of Tomorrow, though I think its post-cinema release subtitle ‘Live. Die. Repeat.’ is what’s needed for people to immediately get that reference.
In The Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise goes into battle, gets spunked on by some nasty alien, then he dies. Then he wakes up and lives the same day over and over again. Eventually, he learns the patterns and gets a little further through the day before he ends up as cheddar on the battlefield. This is pretty much SUPERHOT VR.
You’ll get into a level. Maybe you’ll get past the first intro sequence before you’re dead. You’ll get to the second sequence. You’ll be outnumbered, confused and afraid. Where’s the nearest weapon? Which Red is most likely to kill me first? Which should I shoot at first? Would it work if I ducked down and shot through the gaps in the wall? You’ll probably die just after asking yourself which Red is most likely to kill you. You’ll go back to the beginning, this time remembering to duck down for the pistol and fire a shot to your right. You’ll get back to where you died and you’ll avoid the first bullet, you’ll slap the Red coming on your side, then you’ll get shot by the knobhead booking it across the room at speed. You’ll do it again, and again, and again until you’ve got the sequence memorised and you go in tearing shit up like John Wick on crack. Now that’s a feeling I could get used to with my games.
That paragraph above is all you need to know about SUPERHOT VR. If those 172 words haven’t got you frothing at the thought of living out your own action movie, then you should just leave, because this world is dark enough.
I’m not actually going to end the review there. I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t comment a little on the game’s design, graphics, and technicals. On the graphics front, things aren’t too shabby. Yes, there are a lot more jaggies here than on the PC version, but given that the graphics are pretty simple anyway, it’s not the end of the world. It’s something I usually pick up on straight away with PSVR games, but to its credit, SUPERHOT VR had me so engrossed in the moment to moment gameplay, I couldn’t give a poop about the jagged edges.
The tracking is perhaps some of the best I’ve come across in PSVR, though it’s not without a couple of hiccups. For one, there’s still the usual wonkyness that comes when you move the PS Move wands across the front of the PSVR headset, though that’s more a hardware flaw more than anything else. Secondly is that some actions aren’t quite spot-on. For instance, throwing objects can be a little tricky, so much so that I still struggle to aim true with the ninja throwing darts. These things aside, I can’t say a bad word against how the game works. It’s as smooth as you could wish for, and it looks pretty good, too. Even though the game employs a very limited white/gray colour palette, the levels still look great with plenty of detail to turn it from a white canvas into a digital muder zone.
The game’s “story” will last you around 2-3 hours, though this will greatly depend on how quickly you can make your way through the game’s levels. Plus, there’s trophies to shoot for, and no doubt some of them will bring out the sharpshooters in all of us.
What you’re getting for your buck is more than a bang; it’s a great big bloody explosion of glass people. And it’s marvellous.
SUPERHOT VR PS4/PSVR Review
SUPERHOT VR is the epitome of cool. You're thrown into your very own action movie that'll have you slaying fools over and over again as you spawn, shoot, die, repeat. If you're a PSVR owner, you owe it to yourself to at least try this out.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.