SUPERHOT VR Review – Prove Yourself (PS4)
As a PlayStation VR owner, I know that I’m not getting the top of the line virtual reality experience. The headset tracking is inconsistent if not straight up miserable at times, the Move controllers are lacking inputs, and the graphical fidelity often isn’t all that great. Despite these problems, I never felt as if I was getting a considerably worse experience than those playing the same VR game on an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
Then I played SUPERHOT VR.
SUPERHOT VR was the first time that I had an experience truly marred not by the game’s design, but due to the PSVR hardware not being up for the task. Every minute I spent with the headset on made it clear: this game was not developed with PSVR in mind. For it to be played optimally it requires a fine degree of accuracy where every moment is read correctly, and there isn’t any type of interference. That’s not the experience I had, and sadly that’s all I can relay.
Every small tracking error that would be a small annoyance in almost any other title became a huge ordeal in SUPERHOT VR due to the game’s core mechanic: when you move, time moves. That meant if the camera thought I suddenly moved my arm from one side of the screen to the other that time would speed up when I wasn’t ready for it. This often resulted in myself looking at a white screen because a bullet just crashed into my virtual dome.
What further worsens the experience is how the levels are laid out within the game. Players have to go through a series of four or five rooms, where they have to carefully take out every enemy. These murder rooms are as much of a puzzle as they are a test of reflexes, and if a single one is failed then they start right back at the beginning. That meant that my success largely was dependent on whether my PlayStation Camera could successfully track myself for five straight levels.
I fully believe that the choice to make players replay these levels was a good call in the other versions of the game, as once you’ve “solved” a room it can typically be done in 15 seconds or so. It’s also meant to be a true test of skill, but that’s all ruined when technical errors start coming into play. I can only have my progress reset due to the game not registering my hand position properly so many times before it becomes more frustration than I’m willing to put up with.
The biggest compliment I can give SUPERHOT VR is that I constantly went back to it despite all the issues. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beat the satisfaction of when everything came together. I’ve never felt cooler while wearing a VR headset than when I used a knife to slice every bullet from an Uzi in half, and then successfully threw it at the enemy’s head. These are the moments that make virtual reality truly special, and SUPERHOT is filled with them. It also contains a solid story, although one that didn’t leave nearly the impact on me as the original game did, that really plays around with the concept of VR. It’s worth seeing through.
The level designs vary from completely new designs to ones that are based upon the original non-VR game. These throwback levels play completely different from how they originally did, though, since the player can’t really walk around the level in SUPERHOT VR (you can move a few feet, but you don’t have full movement), and they come across as a cool remix that lets you relive some great moments but in a totally new way.
I feel like every gamer should find a way to play SUPERHOT VR, but they should really look to play the Rift or Vive versions if they can. While it still provided some of the coolest moments I’ve ever experienced in a game on PlayStation VR, it also provided some of the most frustrating ones. It’s truly a masterpiece that is marred by being on a platform that just isn’t technically up to the task. It’s a showcase of not only what is so great about virtual reality, but also how it’s still a piece of technology that isn’t quite all there yet.
SUPERHOT PSVR review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.