Whenever people are debating the state of modern videogames, they always come to the same old conclusion that they all simply lack innovation. And the same set of complaints always follows – ‘just another shooter’, ‘it’s the same game every year’, and ‘game X is exactly the same as game Y’.

One could say that the aforementioned arguments are valid to some extent, as for the most part, the videogame industry is composed of big franchises which are released on predetermined basis. Call of Duty sees a new release every year, whereas a new Grand Theft Auto titles are seemingly coming out whenever the hype for the older title fizzles out. It is possible that such titles are making the industry stagnate, with the same old, tried and tested premise and gameplay. But what is much worse than the public perception of such titles, is the fuel which powers any and all games which the general gaming public deems to be ‘innovative’.

Back in 2014, Warner Brothers has published Lord of The Rings: Shadow of Mordor, and the Nemesis system which was at the core of the title, has garnered initial, universal praise. As many described it as a breath of fresh air for the industry. But as the time went on, and many players realised that the Nemesis system is nothing more but a gimmick, and without it, Shadow of War, is nothing more than another grey and brown, action game – its wagon was left at the station, as the hype train named ‘innovation’ continued its journey. But this is not about Shadow of War, no, it’s about much more recent indie game, titled SUPERHOT.

SUPERHOT, as a complete title could be regarded as recent, and this is because it has initially debuted on the Xbox One last year, and just recently on the PlayStation 4. However, the first browser based playable version, dates all the way back to 2013. The online demonstration was brief, but effective, as in the handful of minutes which it took one to complete it, it has done all it could to advertise its main selling point, which we now know as ‘time moves only when you move’ mechanic. And as it has turned out, this one particular aspect of the title is all that title has to offer, and that’s unfortunate.

SUPERHOT, at its core, is ‘just another first-person shooter’, but it features the above-mentioned twist, in a form of the time-manipulation gimmick mechanic. And within the early, smaller levels, it truly shines as it is at its best when utilised within smaller playgrounds. Bars, elevators, underground car parks, and train stations, are all incredible levels which utilise SUPERHOT’s mechanic to its utmost potential. When you throw a glass in the face of shotgun holding bartender, retrieve his weapon, and proceed to mow down numerous approaching enemies, you really feel like you are recreating a scene straight from Matrix. But the Matrix ‘esque magic dissipates relatively quickly, and what comes next is a senseless slog through rather unimaginative missions, with an abundance of unrealised potential and missed opportunities.

The nirvana of the early high impact, high velocity violence of SUPERHOT is simply incredible. But, once one comes to the final stretch of the title, he/she will realise that early, high quality insanity, is just a drop in a sea of boredom and frustration.  Because all the latter stages are nothing more than a game of cat and mouse, where you hide behind a pillar, and walk around in circles waiting for the enemies to come to you, just so you can kill them without risking having to restart the eternity of a level. And more than fifty percent of SUPERHOT boils down to overly large stages, filled with hordes of brainless enemies.

And not to be completely down on SUPERHOT, which in its own right, is something truly special, it has to be said that while it makes an attempt at being truly unique, it tries way too hard to be a AAA shooter, with a spin. Latter levels, don’t feel like scenes out of Matrix, but chained together breach-and-clear sequences from the Call of Duty series. And if only the developer made an attempt on building on what it has shown years ago, SUPERHOT could have been the title that many expected it to be.

The expectations of SUPERHOT were high from the minute it was announced, and this is because the other, bigger titles, just as it was stated previously, have fuelled the hype train of what was meant to be a ground-breaking innovation within the industry. But the final product is far from it. If one were to summarise what SUPERHOT truly is, one could state that it is a uninspired first-person shooter, which can be completed within a couple of hours, and if not for the gimmick on which it has placed all its bets, it would be nothing more than an another PlayStation Store afterthought, to other much more accomplished titles.

In short, SUPERHOT, despite claims made by the media, and the PR machine which never sleeps, is nothing more than another bland shooter. It might be clad in white and red colour scheme, and base itself on a largely meaningless gimmick, but besides that, it’s just another first-person shooter, with overly large maps, and way too many enemies. However, it has one more thing in common with the big boys, of the industry, and it’s the fact that just like your Battlefields and Call of Duty’s, it can be completed in one sitting. If you don’t get stuck on any level, you can be done with it in a couple of hours, meaning that it will cost you £10 for each hour of gameplay. And yes there’s additional content in form of challenges, and endless mode, but challenges just make you replay the campaign with a twist, and endless mode is simply boring, just like the vast majority of the core campaign.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.