Every now and then a game comes along which completely proves what the system it is on is capable of. For the N64, Mario 64 showed how the console could bring platformers into 3D. Metal Gear Solid proved that games could be cinematic thanks to the extra processing power and Witcher 3 showed that games could be absolutely massive while still being able to be beautiful. Superhot VR is proof that VR, when done right, is a hugely impressive medium. Superhot VR is without a doubt the best VR game I’ve ever played and I can’t remember when a game has surprised and enthralled me to the extent that it has.
Superhot VR’s gameplay hinges on a very simple mechanic. Time only moves when you do. Within the context of VR, this component becomes very interesting indeed. You start to get used to the rate at which time advances when performing certain movements. Firing a gun causes a larger time skip than moving your hands for example. After a short while the game makes you feel like a master, allowing you to rotate your wrist slowly to fine tune the passage of time to suit your movements. And you’ll be doing a lot of moving by the way. Bullets can be dodged, sliced out of the air using knives or if you’re really good, shot with another bullet. So much of the game involves slowly moving around bullets, throwing objects and ducking under beams, it truly is wonderfully dynamic.
Guns feel solid and tactile. The tracking is impressive throughout allowing for jaw dropping moments where luck and skill collide in classic action-movie mayhem. The game makes you feel like John Wick or Neo very early on. There are multiple ways to complete a level so experimentation and trial and error are key. Ordinarily, I hate having to replay sections over and over again but in Superhot VR it just works. The gameplay is so fun that getting another chance at a scene is met with a grin rather than a grimace. The game is definitely challenging but fair and painfully focused on player skill over lucky physics or hand holding.
Visually, the game is simplistic and polished. Enemies appear as orange figures who shatter upon death, an animation which never ever gets old. objects you can interact with appear in black allowing for the first few seconds of a level to be spent eyeing up possible strategies. The ability to stop and take in the situation is one which adds an impressive tactical element to proceedings and makes you feel like you are in complete control of the situation.There’s never any doubt on where you need to aim for or how far away you’ll have to throw an object to take down an enemy. It’s very refreshing to be able to trust a VR game to the extent you can here.
There’s a vague story of espionage and future-tech here but it’s mostly padding. Each level starts off in the wire-ridden and cramped confides of a hacker’s office. As the game progresses it becomes clear that all is not well as you become more and more intertwined with the technology you’re using. I did like the act of putting on an in-game VR headset to start a level as it provided a meta and fourth-wall breaking element. There are around 3 hours worth of levels depending on how good you are at the game and plenty to do after the credits roll. There’s a dark humour to the whole thing, a fact made perfectly clear in sections where the game asks you to shoot yourself or one very unpleasant scene where you have to walk off of the edge of a building. These moments paint a picture of the developers having real fun with the hardware and really demonstrates their clear knowledge of the tech.
Levels are broken up into small chunks, each lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds to complete. The variety of long-ranged and melee encounters keep the game moving at a good pace and ensure that no two instances ever feel the same. My favourite scenes were those in impossibly confined spaces. These moments of quick and calculated action really made me feel like Captain America in the lift or Liam Neeson in a corridor.
I never experienced any major performance issues but this being PSVR there are a few things worth mentioning. Firstly the game gives you a surprising amount of freedom to move around. At times this can lead to minor tracking issues but it’s very cool to be able to bend down and pick up a gun off of the floor, an action which has so far been seemingly difficult to get right on PSVR. Shooting enemies up high can lead to the age-old problem of the tracking lights of the move wands getting mixed up with the ones on the headset. At this point I’m not sure if it’s even possible to escape this bug altogether but at least it’s kept to a minimum here.
The sound design keeps the game sharp and engaging throughout. Slicing a bullet out of the air is met with a satisfying “schwing” and the announcer’s booming voice repeating the phrase “SUPER. HOT.” over and over again adds a sense of charm into the mix.
I had been a little down on PSVR lately. Mediocre ports have been coming thick and fast and I was beginning to think that the negatives of the hardware were starting to outweigh the positives. Superhot VR has shattered these worries like a knife through one of its polygonal baddies. Exquisite level design, a dedication from the developers to offer a solid port and an inspired core gameplay mechanic solidify Superhot VR as the best experience you can have with your PSVR headset. I cannot remember a game surprising me as much as Superhot VR has. It has in one swift movement, reaffirmed my faith in VR and gotten me excited about what the future will hold. If you want to feel like a mix between Neo, John Wick and Jesus Christ himself, look no further.