Superhot / Superhot VR Review: Bullet dodging brilliance

Superhot VR

Superhot arrives on PS4/PSVR and it hasn’t lost any of its finesse. The FingerGuns review;

We’ve been fortunate enough to have the classic and VR editions of Superhot available to us this week, so we’ve done a full review of the game with a VR impressions section at the end.

I’ll admit, I was jealous as all hell of Xbox One owners when they were able to basque in the glory of Superhot way back in May of last year. It was a game I played at EGX 2015 and thought, ‘hot damn, this is spectacular’, and almost nearly convinced me to cough up the dollar to pay for Microsoft’s shiny box. Ergo, I held off in the hopes that it would finally reach the console I actually bought and here it is. Superhot has finally reached PS4 and not only that, it’s come with a PSVR edition as well.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well, Superhot is about as unique and original an FPS can be in the modern age. It’s probably worth thinking of Superhot as a puzzler where you happen to shoot people rather than a full blown FPS. The most important USP of course in Superhot is that time stays very still whilst you do, so if you move, the whole world – including your enemies – will move with you. So you can stand there and be shot at in real time, but this mechanic will allow you to move out of the way and stand there as you watch the bullets slowly move past you. You can then retaliate by shooting and moving, ergo making everything move in real time and dispatch of your enemies sufficiently. It’s a mechanic which works brilliantly well, and allows you to be far more tactical than you would expect. In each level (puzzle?), you’re tasked with straight up murdering every single moving red humanoid you see and you’re able to do this by bullet dodging, shooting, throwing your weapon at an oncoming enemy, punching the ever living hell out of an enemy whilst dodging the incoming blast of a shotgun by an absolute minutia, as you throw snooker balls at bartenders whilst hiding behind a pillar. You have the power to control time and can use it efficiently through these puzzles which are one shot kills. No regen here, you’re hit once and it’s over.

A standout level has me starting in a bathroom with a dude right before me. I’ll melee him as he doesn’t notice I’m there but there’s someone coming in through the bathroom door who I’ll need to take out too before he gets too close. Ah, he doesn’t have a weapon and neither do I. OK..I’ll have to get close and punch this guys lights out too. Done. I’ll then carry on through the door and there’s two dudes, one with a pistol running straight for me and one behind a bar blasting shotgun bullets in my direction. I can stop and just let the bullets fly past, still currently without a weapon of my own. I look down and see a snooker table and I’m able to pick up the balls and throw them towards the bartender and his associate. Between shotgun blasts I can move behind a pillar and throw the ball towards him which knocks him out, ensuring he drops his shotgun. I can then move over, avoiding the incoming fire of the guy with the pistol, as I move two other guys appear but one is a little further off so I have time to dispose of this new dude who doesn’t have a weapon. Done. I can then pick up the shotgun and take out the guy with the pistol but as I do that I see two more guys appear with pistols but hey, I have a shotgun. As I stand still, watching bullets fly straight past my ear I can get closer and blast shotgun shells right into this guys chest, turn around and do the same to the dude in the doorway from earlier. Two more red dudes appear and I take one of them out with a shotgun blast but then I’m out of ammo and there’s one more guy coming my way. The shotgun is out so I’ll throw it at him whilst Keanu Reeves-ing the hell outta the way of his pistol shots. He’s out cold so I stop and give myself time to grab his pistol which is flying in midair and then blow his head off with a single shot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot.

The time mechanic really allows you to get as technical as you can imagine, and when you pull it off it can be hugely satisfying. As each level ends the game replays the level to you in real time and you feel like such a badass watching back what you’ve just pulled off which only amounts to around about 10 seconds in real time. The sneaky moves and misdirection towards your enemies allows you to be very aware of your surroundings, even if it doesn’t work every time. Stealth, patience and focus is key. Blasting your way through will ensure you fail miserably many times over. You have to take it slow in order to learn the movements of your enemies and of course, to be able to avoid the oncoming bullet storm.

Is there a story tying all of this together? To my surprise, yes there was. I’m not sure why I wasn’t expecting any kind of narrative but playthroughs at events had me dropped in levels with little explanation as to why I’m there. I guess I just expected this to carry through to the full game. How wrong I was. It would appear that I’m playing as a hacker who manages to obtain a copy of a VR game (that of which is called Superhot) and between levels you’ll have conversations with other hackers about the game. As the story moves forward there are deeper meanings as to why you’ve managed to obtain this new game, dropping you into a deeper web of existentialism, and a grim reality that actually surrounds you away from the game. It’s fair to say I wasn’t expecting it to be as deep as this but I should commend Superhot team for their solid effort in writing a story which at first I felt was just a way to link the levels together, only to find a much darker meaning behind all of the badass time stopping murderyness.

Superhot is so brilliantly unique and whilst fun to play it’s fair to say it does have its fair share of slight niggles. The shooting mechanics are spot on and there’s no denying that, but most everything else in your offence arsenal just isn’t as slick. Melee feels sticky and not as forceful as I’d like, throwing bottles, pool balls, weapons perhaps doesn’t have the kick behind them I was expecting and whilst causing damage, the impact isn’t as well, impactful as you would may expect (though the sword is awesome. Really, really awesome).

The campaign is brilliantly fun, but it’s over in around an hour and a half, depending on how quickly you can pick it up. The story is engaging but so, so short and could have probably done with a little more fleshing out, the levels aren’t necessarily short, there just aren’t enough of them. I could have happily played through another four or five hours of Superhot without getting bored.

Is there much to do outside of the campaign? You’re able to unlock a variety of challenges that will test your skills with an individual weapons though these do take place on the same maps which you’ve been playing throughout the campaign, lessening the appeal somewhat as you feel you’ve just done it all before albeit with slightly different weaponry. It’s never not fun, it’s just slightly repetitive and you feel like some more unique arenas could have been created for these interesting challenge modes. Alongside this you’ve got Endless mode which is, as you’d expect, a challenge where you just keep going and going against the red men until you finally succumb to their violent ways. I mean, it’s ok but it’s about as generic an endless mode as you can imagine and short of Trophy Hunting, I’m not sure why you would play this mode over the campaign or challenge modes. Still it’s nice to see it there if you’re fancying your chances against a legion of slow moving red folk.

In closing and niggles aside, it’s difficult to really give Superhot anything other than a glowing recommendation. It’s horrendously fun, with a fantastic mechanic that makes the game stand out above nearly any other puzzle/FPS game you can imagine. Now that it’s finally available on PS4 I’m so glad I’ve been able to jump in and experience the game for myself on my own sofa. Yes, there are niggles, but in no way do they lesser the experience. It’s a flawed but fantastic tour-de-force of game design and so wholly unique, I can’t imagine any type of gamer wouldn’t get something out of Superhot.

Read below for our Superhot VR review

kindly provided by the one and only PAUL COLLETT

I hadn’t heard much of Superhot prior to this review I have to be honest, I saw the trailer at E3 and thought “yeah that looks stylish but, nah”. Then I was lucky enough to be given a code for the PSVR version and I have to say, my jaw dropped, and it’s still dropped three days after my first play.

As far as I’m aware the VR version is the same game as the normal game only this time you’re actually there. I always cringe when writing that because most people don’t seem understand that concept unless they’ve tried VR before. For a showcase of how ‘there’ you can be. Superhot is the game to play. I can safely say I’ve had one of my most EPIC gaming moments I have experienced whilst playing Superhot. Let me explain.

Playing in Superhot in VR lets you act out all Matrix fantasies. Remember in the Matrix films and those epic scenes where Neo is dodging bullets? Well that’s exactly what’s happening in Superhot VR, If you stand motionless time slows, to crawl, you can see the red men in front of you shooting, but you stand firm, the bullets get closer and closer then you casually step to one side and watch as the bullets fly past. It’s just insanely awesome. Let me tell you about my epic gaming moment. So I spawned on top of a balcony, a red man was coming at me there was gun he was going for, but I was too quick, I grabbed it and shot him in the face, then one of the red foes below starting shooting a couple of shots, I didn’t have time to shoot back, I slowed down time, and physically leant my body to one side to avoid the bullets. I followed their trail (because it’s just so cool) and watched them hit the wall, it was here that I saw a random Shuriken stuck in the wall, I grabbed it, turned, threw the shuriken at the guy below and hit him (on the rare occasion the throwing mechanics actually work) It doesn’t sound like much, but in VR it’s something I’ve never experienced before, I felt like Neo and Quicksilver all in one. I’ve never had so much fun or felt so awesome as I have whilst playing Superhot.

However, just like the normal game, there are a few niggles, well one actually and that’s the throwing mechanics. They just don’t seem to work very well, They are unresponsive and it’s really hard to judge the angle in which you are throwing. A receptacle of some kind would have helped I think. It’s also strange that they mapped the throw action to the Move button, instead of the trigger which doesn’t feel natural at all. It doesn’t take away from how good the actual game is, but it’s annoying as you can’t be as smooth as you want to be.

Also worth a note is that you need a lot of space to play this in VR. Because of all the dodging, ducking, bobbing and weaving I found myself on more than one occasion on the other side of the room without even realising I was moving. So make sure you clear some space. Also, it’s proper workout too. I’ve never squatted so much. I did get a proper sweat on which is a bit crap with wearing a VR visor. It’s all good fun though and nothing can detract to the absolute awesome-ness of your first Neo moment.

I would add an extra half point to a point to the score if you’re playing in VR because there is nothing quite like it. Actually being there, in there in the game makes it all the more fun. Flipping awesome.

Superhot and Superhot VR are available now for £19.99 each on PSN. There is also a ‘Mind is Software’ bundle which gets you both versions for £32.99.

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with codes for Superhot and Superhot VR from the publisher. For our full review policy please click here.

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