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Xbox One, PC, Playstation 4
July 16, 2020
After four years of boiling in the background as an Early Access title, SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE has sprung upon us. The successor to the action movie slow-motion simulator extravaganza SUPERHOT began as a humble DLC. Now with full realisation, MCD offers a “refined, sharper, flashier experience” than any of the games so far. But, with more power, more mechanics, and more enemies to slash through; is “more” worth it?
The quick answer is likely going to be “yes” for owners of the original SUPERHOT game. MCD is releasing for free to owners of the prior title because the developers can. We explained how you can redeem this easily, and with anything that’s free, you really can’t get better value. So, if you’re in this boat, you can stop reading right now and download SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE and enjoy it as much or as little as you want. For everyone else, let’s kick on…
The sequel deep-dives players into the twisting-reality the story ended at. The start of MCD eases back into the bread and butter katana slashing and bottle throwing. As briefly as it begins, the adventure ends… then resets… and the true mind-bending nature of the SUPERHOT: MCD world unravels. There’s plenty of secrets, subliminal messaging, and cryptic codes for players to uncover, adding to the excitement of it all. Under all the ciphers, the story isn’t too detailed which complements a game primarily about action set-pieces. It’s a bit of a Groundhog Day scenario, where the player repeats a corridor many times to drive into your skull “you really want MORE?”
While this does serve the purpose of the story, it’s repetitive and not fun… at all. In fact, it’s frustrating. A point in the game is forcefully repeated seven or eight times on purpose as a tease. While everything is subjective, this is plainly not fun and annoying. SUPERHOT is about the gameplay and combat, not weak and abstract storytelling.
“It’s very rogue-like, mixing up the gameplay of each section as upgrades are reset after every node. A new and exciting layer to the SUPERHOT formula.”
The player now believes they have control of this Matrix-like reality with unlockable hacks adding new mechanics to combat. These are as basic as starting with a different gun or as wild as throwable objects exploding into shards on impact. As part of this new ability, the player now has multiple lives that refill at the end of each group of levels called nodes. It’s very rogue-like, mixing up the gameplay of each section as upgrades are reset after every node. A new and exciting layer to the SUPERHOT formula.
Thrown into the mix are some new types of enemies. The iconic geometric foes now have a few tricks up their sleeves, some of them embedded with spikes. When killed, a flurry of bullets sprays all over the environment, quickly knocking-off a life. Others are immune to attacks, shaded white and only red where they are vulnerable. It encourages more thinking and strategy for each encounter about what weapons or objects to use. New enemy types are a welcome addition, yet, a lot more could help make MCD stand out.
For a game that emphasises the “more”, it still doesn’t give that much more. With fresh levels and weapons to use, there’s truly only a handful that are new. Every scenario and well-placed item in SUPERHOT was a unique puzzle. For example, the elevator level where three enemies are immediately attacking and another is waiting on the other side of the door to shatter you with a shotgun. How do you take out four enemies, close quarters, starting with nothing? It was a conundrum.
SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE removes the puzzles and focuses on killing seven or so enemies, rinse, and repeat. Playing the same dozen cramped environments, with the objects and weapons often in the same places becomes repetitive. The only variables are the hacks, enemies, or starting positions and after a while this too becomes stale. MCD lacks special bonus modes the first game boasted, limiting replayability. While this is inherently more, it’s much more padded out than the original SUPERHOT.
Performance-wise, the game runs smoothly and sounds as expected. No unintentional graphic glitches occurred and SFX of enemies shattering couldn’t be more satisfying. The night club level even has its own adrenaline-fuelling music, rather than the usual silence. However, issues with physics like odd dismemberments and objects reacting weirdly do occasionally break the surreal immersion SUPERHOT provides.
When does “MORE” start to mean a bad thing? Well, SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE isn’t bad, but a disappointment. Undeniably, it’s still an incredibly fun game. It’s easy to hop in, slash and blast through a couple of missions and then move onto something else. The combat and movement are captivating as always. Experimenting with the gameplay, using hacks to add new mechanics and tricks to each scenario, is a great step forward and brings something new to the formula.
Unfortunately, it feels like SUPERHOT Team can do so much “more” and should. They have the creativity, clearly demonstrated through their enigmatic story and premise. Make it weird, make it crazy, make it an absolute puzzle like the first game. As of right now, MCD isn’t slated for a VR release either which is arguably the best way to play. As a freebie for owners of the original, you’re not going to upset with “more” even if it’s repetitive. Otherwise, stick to the original.