Republished on Wednesday 28th September 2022: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of October's PlayStation Plus Essential lineup. The original text follows.
SUPERHOT is the most innovative shooter we’ve played in years. We’re not saying that solely because the game tells us to – it’s true. This time bending tour-de-force only moves when you do, creating puzzle-like scenarios where you need to weave through fire-power and lob objects in order to overcome seemingly impossible odds. It’s absolutely superb.
While this is non-virtual reality version is built upon the same premise as SUPERHOT VR, it is for all intents and purposes an entirely different game. The chief difference here is that, using the DualShock 4, you have full locomotion; the PlayStation VR edition more or less roots you to the spot and teleports you around the whitewash environments.
This changes the experience quite significantly because strafing and other manoeuvres all come into play, so it’s arguably even more frenetic than what you’ll find with virtual reality. Of course, it does come with its own drawbacks: you can’t contort your body quite like you can with PlayStation VR, for example, so bending around bullets like in The Matrix is impossible.
It’s probably best not to compare the two because they both complement each other in different ways: while there’s a sense of “confinement” to the non-VR edition that extends to the scale of the stages and the fact that you’re limited by the size of your television screen, there’s a much better story here that deals with a nefarious AI trying to seize control of your mind.
The game breaks the fourth wall with reckless abandon, padding the puzzle scenarios with subliminal messages, faux-chatroom exchanges, and a fascinating menu system filled with minigames and weird tech demos. It all helps serve the idea that you’re rigged up to an operating system and not fully in charge of what you’re doing.
While you’ll blast through the campaign in about three hours, the package’s running time is extended with additional modes, like Endless – which transforms the core gameplay loop into an extremely compelling arcade game. And there are also copious challenge options, which task you with beating the game in certain time frame – or with a single weapon, like the katana.
SUPERHOT is excellent. It may lack the physicality of its virtual reality alter-ego, but it makes up for this with a mind-bending story and an on-point menu system. The slow-motion shooting is still super satisfying, and the added locomotion makes for a different kind of cadence to the PlayStation VR version. Buy both editions if you can, as they complement each other nicely and are unmissable in our humble opinion. Now, tell all of your friends…