No matter how well-received the original Superhot was, the VR version of the game is the ultimate way of experiencing it. It’s now available for Playstation 4, immediately propelling it to the status of one of the must-have titles for the platform.
When we originally reviewed Superhot, we had only played the non-VR Xbox One and PC versions – but had already had the VR experience when we met with Oculus a while earlier. Superhot VR reaffirmed our belief that – no matter how good the game is without it, it’s even better after you don a pair of VR goggles.
We won’t go too much into Superhot’s core dynamic of “enemies and bullets only move when you move”, as that’s been covered before. Our main focus for this review is to elaborate on how VR makes this experience different, and better. Imagine a firefight in Superhot where you run down a corridor towards a gun that you’ll need to take out three bad guys in the distance. They see you, you’re unarmed, and they’re firing at you. Bullets stop in mid-air when you stop moving, but get closer with every step you take. You step left to get out of the bullet’s way, and then swerve back to the right to step out of the way of another bullet that was fired after your first sidestep.
As you slowly sidestep between bullets, you finally reach your gun and take out the bad guys. This is the kind of thrilling stuff that Superhot has always offered, but the way this works in VR is that bullets are literally flying past your head – as you sidestep you feel and hear it whoosh right past you, and you’ll find yourself physically ducking to get out of the way of bullets too. It’s incredibly immersive and really delivers you that “I’m Neo from The Matrix” feel that sci-fi fans will certainly love.
Controls are great as well. Superhot never had very complex controls and relies mostly on its highly original gameplay, but with VR you also have motion controls included and head tracking become a big part of the experience. Move controllers are also supported and are very responsive as they add to the experience – as I felt comfortable with my “Neo” powers, I caught myself leaning away and firing my gun sideways just for that extra movie-like effect. No one saw me do it and it probably looked silly, but the satisfaction was great.
Part of why Superhot VR is such a success is also due to the fact that its designers didn’t just port the game to VR – they actually rebuilt a lot of the content to make it “fit” with the specific options that VR brings to the table. Scenes like I described above work well in both non-VR and VR, but not all of the content in the original version would have worked as well. It’s brilliant to see developers realize this, and actually make bold choices as a result.
To illustrate this, I’ll mention that one big difference with the PC version is that you’re not using a mouse and keyboard combination here. Makes sense, but holding a pair of Move controllers means that walking around isn’t going to be easy. Superhot VR works around this through redesigned levels in which you stay much more stationary, replacing “walking around” with your body’s movements – which feels like a limitation at first. Play for a bit though, and you’ll realize this is a far more natural way to play then to resort to a dualshock controller.
For a title that reinvented the FPS genre in a way to reinvent itself once more for VR is no small feat, but they’re done it with Superhot VR. It may not look at great as Robinson or fellow shooter Farpoint and it’s definitely on the short side, but it’s one of those experiences no Playstation VR owner should miss.