Review: GORN (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • HTC Vive
  • Oculus

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
  • Move Required (2)
Title: GORN
Format: PSN (1.56 GB)
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Free Lives
Original MSRP: $19.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: M
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

 

Video Review:

Gameplay:
GORN has finally made its way onto PSVR and it’s just as visceral and fun as its PC cousin. It doesn’t come without some setbacks, partially due to the PlayStation Move controllers, which are required here, but as a whole, the game has made a pretty damn good transition onto PlayStation’s Headset.

GORN is brutal and violent. It’s not trying to be an immersive RPG, or an ethereal experience. GORN just wants you to obliterate enemies and not give two damns about taking names. In fact, there is no story here. It’s just an arena where you spill a lot of blood. But it’s worth mentioning that it is not what I would consider a wave shooter, despite having elements of it. Maybe it’s because there is a bit more strategy to the combat, or because you aren’t always just plowing through enemies (even though that can happen). I avoid wave shooters like the plague, but I was drawn to GORN. Maybe because the feeling of gladiatorial combat is just what you need at times. Or it could be that I just enjoyed the progression and unlocking new instruments of destructions to wreak havoc on the bloody battlefield.

GORN gives you everything you need to succeed, but some questionable controls can sometimes keep you from doing so. Here’s the thing: these same controls were initially introduced on the PC version. If you’ve played Sprint Vector, you’ll recognize the scheme. You reach forward, push and hold the Move button and pull back, thus propelling your forward as if you were skiing. It’s not really a bad locomotion technique. And on Sprint Vector, it was a freakin’ amazing feeling because you felt like your arms were propelling your forward. And for a “racing” game, that technique works perfectly. But when your arms are moving your avatar around while trying to deflect and attack a swarm of enemies, things can get complicated fast, not least of all in virtual reality.

Let’s say you’re holding the Move button and walking towards an enemy and another one sneaks over on your right, you might forget you’re holding the button and raise your weapon to deflect, only to send your character moving around the arena in wonky ways. I will say this: you do get used to it, and when you do, it feels more natural. But I sincerely hope they add some other options to locomotion (such as holding the left Move button to move forward and the right one to back up).

Progression is pretty simple. You start in a chamber with multiple doors leading to different arenas. As you progress, you unlock other areas with tougher enemies, but also yield rewards, like new weapons. Those can also be used in the custom arena where you can choose what weapons you’d like to wield, as well as goofy modes, like big heads.

GORN will not take long to complete and, seriously, there is little depth to it. But, it’s not really about that, and what is there is a blast and a fun little physical workout that you don’t mind coming back to.

Visuals:
Visuals here hold up to the PC counterpart, likely because the game uses simplistic models. But don’t let that fool you. When things get bloody, you will notice that the character models have innards, and the more you bash on someone the more you see that some effort was made to give these bad guys more than just an outer shell.

Everything comes off sharp and clean, as can be expected from Sony’s aging headset. Weapons and environments also look great, and the bloody particle effects look brilliant as they splatter across your virtual eyes.

Audio:
Don’t expect much musical fanfare here. It’s all grunts and cheers, and some sarcastic remarks from the Arena Lords. But what’s here is, again, all GORN needs to be entertaining. Skull crunches, blood splatters, and metal clanking in its simplistic form is enough to carry this game forward.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only and features no online component.

Conclusion:
With the exception of some controller limitations (and lack of options to change the scheme) GORN has made the transition to PlayStation VR without any major issues. It’s still as enjoyable as I remember on the PC and it’s a little game that I’ll often revisit. The price also matches the experience with this one, so if you’re stuck at home, own PSVR, and want to enjoy yourself while you get a little work out, GORN will have you covered.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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