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Thursday, February 25, 2016

SUPERHOT PC Review - 9.5/10

Were you expecting an awesome game to come out in February? Cause I wasn't. Usually this is the, "Damn, we missed the holiday window. Alright, just release it." Not to say EVERY game that comes out in the early months are bad, obviously. Its just I'm so used to every game hitting me around the holidays so I have to decide whether I want the awesome new game or presents for my family.
SUPERHOT is a pseudo puzzle first person shooter, if I had to label it in a genre. Basically you shoot stuff and it dies, although that doesn't nearly give it as much credit as it deserves. I played a demo of this a while ago and almost completely forgot about it. While it wasn't bad, all I could think was, "Huh. Neat," after the game was over. The big selling point is the fact that time is slowed down and only moves when you move. Think like a stop and go RPG but in shooter format.

The Good:
The reason I call this a 'pseudo puzzle FPS' is because that's basically what it is. You fight red guys using various means that get more and more complex as the game progresses. Moving at all, even your view, causes the game to start going and it will stop again once you halt movement. Every enemy dies in one gun shot or melee attack from a melee weapon. However, you also die in one hit from what I just mentioned before. It kind of turns into a bullet hell where your main objective is to not only hit the enemy but also avoid being hit. You get plopped into a small stage that also gets more complex as the game progresses. Your objective is to kill and survive. Pretty standard. You can pick up a variety of objects and weapons to aid you in completing everything, each having their own function and etc. Guns usually come off of dead enemies and rarely are just found lying around. Even then, that's not a great way to kill enemies considering how limited your view is and the previously mentioned one hit deaths so the game pushes you forward constantly.
Part of the game's charm and secret genius is how its presented. You're in a very drab, gray world and you're tasked with killing reds. Probably not a Soviet propaganda agenda but I'm not making any statements. The reason why this is so great is your eyes are drawn to your opponents. Even their bullet trails glow red, allowing you to dodge them if you can. Basically your objective is simple in how it can be completed and the difficulty naturally progresses with your own skill level as a person rather than some annoying difficulty swerve that changed the preconceived mechanics that were previously introduced.
I don't like puzzle games. They're frustrating and eventually make me go and find a walkthrough online. Guilty as charged. But with this game, well... A) a walkthrough won't help and B) I never felt like I needed one. Sure it got tough a few times but once you die all the enemies come from the same places. So each death was less of a loss and more remembering enemy positions and making a strategy around that. With most puzzle games there's one way to do a thing which is kind of why I call it a pseudo puzzle.

The Meh:
There's actually a story which kind of breaks up the pace of the game. I wish there was like an arcade mode where I could just go forward without having to experience any other deeper meaning. Its not bad, just a problem with the game stopping for a few minutes to make you read text. I accidentally skipped over possibly a crucial bit of dialogue tying everything together and making sense of the plot, so I was a little lost but even then I wouldn't have cared an insane amount.
This game feels like it was made for a VR experience. It can be played, and is still enjoyable, without it. But a lot of thing hinge on breaking reality in a way that would be best played within VR. I, being broke as all hell, cannot afford a VR set and don't really care to so I'm just going to be screen and mouse (or track pad in my case).
I can't really decide if its a negative or not but the game doesn't really have a HUD at all. So in shooters you know a few basic things. Where to go, where enemies are and how much ammo you have left. While I can do without the first two things, the second kind of sucks. Right in the middle of your murder onslaught you may just run out of bullets. Your character automatically reloads while time is going. So what you're going to be doing is walking around letting time go so your weapon can reload. Extra problem is your weapon will reload even when you don't have any ammo left, so you're just waiting for another bullet and find out at the worst possible moment that you're completely out and your only option is to hope you can stun the enemy for a quick kill/getting their weapon. I got a lot of cheap deaths out of this but it kind of works in theme with the game... I suppose. Its not really a negative but its definitely not a positive so I can only consider it a minor nuisance.

I highly recommend this game. Its fast yet slow, deep yet shallow and engaging all at the same time. Its kind of expensive considering what most indies are at, but its definitely worth it.

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