It’s VR within VR… that’s all you need to know if you’re at all familiar with the original game. SUPERHOT VR is the logical and totally obvious companion given that the story is all about using a VR simulation to train you to fight the system. You’d think then that this would simply be the same levels with a slight makeover to compensate for not having a gamepad or keyboard/mouse combo to hand, and you’d be wrong. This feels so right from the point you enter the first scenario and keeps surprising and innovating all the way to the end. Within minutes it’ll have you thinking you’re Neo from The Matrix, and probably working up a sweat whilst you’re at it. Get ready to step into a whole new FPS world.
Using the premise from SUPERHOT, SUPERHOT VR is set in the same world as the first – accessing the simulation via an in-game early 90’s computer, only this time you are controlling everything with your body and the move controllers. Time still only moves when you do, so keeping still is the first thing you learn, closely followed by how to slowly guide your self around the immediate area whilst scanning for the best way to take down the red dudes. Hand-to-hand combat is crucial and smartly comes with the ability to take weapons out of the hands of close proximity enemies, but it’s the bullet dodging that really comes in to its own here. With the headset on you end up feeling like you’re picking your way through a devious laser maze as you duck, bend and sidestep incoming bullets, whilst in reality I’m pretty sure I looked like I was drunk in slow motion. Regardless of the state of you in your living room, it feels exhilarating to have streams of rounds whizz past your ears or just over your head… and when you manage to dodge a full shotgun blast at close range you know you’ve got the reflexes down. Contortionists are going to be the masters of this game.
Tackling the lack of controller movement and the chance for motion sickness, each stage is broken up into discrete sections so that you deal with the danger at hand then get a reprieve as you jump to a new location in the environment. Die at any point – and it’s a one hit kill – then you start the whole thing again. By knowing where you’re going to teleport to for your next encounter it is entirely possible to give yourself an advantage by slinging a weapon in the direction you will be. Through one fluke shot I actually managed to lob a shotgun from a catwalk on a ship, teleport to the next encounter with someone trying to fill me full of holes at close range, to see the shotgun fly into the frame and take him down. The one hit kills go both ways. Each encounter though is designed to be bested with whatever is at hand, and hammers, bottles, throwing stars and pool balls are put to as much us as the firepower. Look out for the stage where you can grab a frying pan and use it block incoming fire whilst you hunt for a weapon.
What elevates SUPERHOT VR is that total immersion in the simulation coupled with the freedom of movement you have (well, to the limit of the camera and the cables). There’s enough space to get really involved with your environment and some of the stand out moments are when you start making use of the static objects around you. Bins and walls are great to hunker down behind and just stick your pistol over the top to blind fire at the encroaching bad guys. Because you’ve got two Move controllers you can dual wield everything too. Want a combat knife and an Uzi? Yep – that’s the type of mess you can make, slicing bullets out of the air whilst gunning down half a room. As the levels progress you start combining everything together so that it all becomes a balletic performance that you’re the centre of, and because it’s your body movements there is absolutely no frustration with the scenarios. If it goes wrong it’s definitely because you’ve moved wrong or hesitated. Don’t underestimate the physicality either. There aren’t any weights involved, but you know it’s got something to it when there’s a trophy for burning 1,000 calories.
More so than its sister game, SUPERHOT VR makes you feel like an action hero. Putting you in well worn movie and game tropes doesn’t get old, and there’s enough unpredictability on hand to stop it feeling hugely repetitive. Once the main story’s complete replayability comes to the fore with the story mode being opened for secret exploration, endless mode making a return, and then the familiar time trial and challenges. There’s a lot of content to convince you to spend time in your VR headset, and it’s the same price as the standard game too. Really though, do yourself a favour and buy both in the discount bundle, these are fantastic experiences either way. For PSVR owners this is a no brainer, you have to play it and see how virtual reality gaming is done right.
A PSVR review copy of SUPERHOT VR was provided by the SUPERHOT PR team, and the game is available now from Steam or the PlayStation store for £19.99.