Synth Riders was a highlight of PSVR: we loved it back when it launched in mid-2021. For a more explicit explanation, you can check out our original review, but know that this is a rhythm title played on a “note highway” and it’s excellent.
One of the strengths of the game the first time through was its exceptional soundtrack, and that remains the case here. Whether you go for the base version of the game or not, you’ll be coming away with a lot of content. Buying just the standard release will net you 58 songs, with an additional 52 available as DLC. And if you bought any DLC for the first version of the title, it carries over. Which is good, because this updated version of Synth Riders is better in just about every way.
Tracking, though not problematic on PSVR, had its hiccups. This is no longer the case, as the PSVR2 Sense Controllers are reflected flawlessly, and the improved haptics bring a lot to the table when it comes to keeping the rhythm.
The improved tracking actually improves the gameplay, like when you're tasked with sustaining notes: think of it as moving your arms along a rail like you were skateboarding. It should be stressed, however, that notes where you have to hold your hands together are more awkward with the new motion controllers, due to their orb-like shape. But that's the only real drawback.
Fortunately, the visual upgrade is absolutely staggering. Synth Riders wasn’t a bad-looking game on the PS4 by any stretch, but the level of detail in the environments is a marked improvement here. Likewise, the 'Experiences' – basically interactive music videos – look better than ever, providing some of the best rhythm gaming experiences we’ve ever had. It’s a shame that all the experiences are tucked away in the DLC, but they are very much worth the price of entry.
This goes for the soundtrack in general, which remains as varied and unique as ever. The choice to emphasise genres such as electro-swing and synthwave still allows developer Kluge Interactive to carve out it’s own niche, an area no other games have really encroached on. As such, Synth Riders remains as unique a rhythmic experience as it was two years ago.
What you walk away with is a unique and wonderful rhythm title that’s been improved in nearly every way.