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Superhot VR is a fantastic product. It’s the best use of VR I’ve personally witnessed and even after finishing the game’s campaign and numerous challenges all I can think about is going back and experiencing it all again. If I could I would end my review right there but I’m sure you want a little more explanation than that so let’s delve a little deeper behind the brilliance of this stylish shooter.
Let’s face it when it comes to virtual reality we’re hardly low on shooting experiences. And in a way that makes sense, the genre lending itself perfectly to a higher level of immersion, something VR was obviously designed in mind of. Shooters put the player in the shoes of the protagonist and give them a chance to be the gun-wielding hero short of actually hitting a real shooting range. Superhot VR may seem like a typical first person shooting experience on the surface. It ticks all the same boxes; use the Move controllers as your in-game hands, dodge enemy fire by shifting your head, shoot a gallery of A.I. all of which is done by standing in the same spot. The game and its original have one key feature that set it apart from the rest though. Time only moves forward when you move and in the case of the VR version when you physically move your head and or hands.
It’s a clever mechanic that works on a number of levels. For starters it creates a fantastic effect allowing the player to pretty much slow time down to a crawl and observe the situation unfolding in front them be it seeing a bullet flying past your head and its red trail following behind or the enclosing enemies coming at you from all angles. The time mechanic also adds an element of puzzle to the game, where you’ll need to plan not only every shot you take but really everything down to the slightest movement. Do you try to pick up the gun in front of you knowing that doing so will move time forward and therefore increase the chances of getting shot? Or do you simply dodge bullets and wait for the enemies to come to you allowing for a quick and easy punch or two to the face? As the situations you find yourself in grow more complex so do the possible solutions. I replayed stages multiple times and each one I would find myself trying something new. Whether it be throwing ashtrays, spraying bullets wildly or taking my time and opting for a more Matrix-style approach. Superhot VR is a game that offers so much freedom in your actions.
The game does makes a habit of giving the player every opportunity to pull off exciting and awesome moments. For example shooting a nearly enemy may cause them to throw their sawn-off shotgun in the air at the perfect angle for you to catch and unleash on another. Or you might have enemies charging at you from left and right as you swing away with a knife taking them down like bowling pins. One moment that made me feel particularly cool involved holding two guns. When I’d exhausted the ammo on the right one (my strong hand) I figured rather than shoot inaccurately with the left I’d drop it in mid-air and catch it with my right hand before following up with some well-placed bullets to an enemy’s head. All of these amazing actions feel super satisfying in their own right, but when combined with stopping or slowing time only magnify in their visual splendour.
The game itself is split into just shy of twenty stages, each of which have anything from two to six situations to survive. Get shot halfway through and its back to the beginning you go. You may find yourself doing something as simple as punching an approaching enemy to kick things off before being transported to the next room shotgun at your disposal. This bite-sized approach ensures reliability especially as you unlock extra challenges that may have you using only melee combat or timing you.
PlayStation VR games have a tough time when it comes to looking good especially since they are restricted by the resolution of the headset itself. Fortunately Superhot VR’s focus on style means the game translates to the technology well. Environments sport a clean white look to them while enemies look like they’re made from red mirrors and shatter into hundreds of pieces when shot. Despite every stage sporting the same white palette, you’ll still find yourself in a variety of locations such as airports, rooftops or bars.
If there’s one thing negative I have to say about the game, it’s that there simply isn’t more of it. The main campaign can be finished in a couple hours and even though there are extra challenge stages to try afterward based on areas you visited in the main game, it isn’t a substitute for simply having more new locations to experience in the game’s main campaign. Still if a game’s biggest and really only problem is that you want more then it must be doing something right.
Superhot VR is an outstanding showcase of what the technology can do. While there have been cool experiences in the past, this is the first where I find myself truly been blown away. If I had to describe my time with the game it’d be that you feel like a true action hero. You are John Wick. You are John McClaine. You are making the same amazing, showy moves you see in the movies. Basically you feel like a total badass.
While VR may still be finding its legs at the moment, if we continue to see more games like Superhot VR getting released I feel the technology will have a truly bright future indeed.