GORN PSVR2 review – Good dumb gladiator fun

I’ve been enjoying playing all the different types of games that PSVR2 has to offer, and one that I’d seen before but never tried is GORN. The premise is simple really, using crazy physics in a VR battle arena space to beat down endless hordes of enemies, but nonetheless you have to see it to believe it. GORN may not be GOTY material, but the over the top nature makes it a great choice to blow off some steam.

Gorn - Gameplay Trailer | PS VR2 Games

As with many of the launch games coming to PSVR2, GORN is a port from other VR devices. That doesn’t mean it’s just quickly thrown together though, with everything seeming neat and in place. I never played the original release, but Gorn in top-of-the-line VR runs fantastic, with crisp visuals and smooth frame rates. Good news as well, if you bought the original on PSVR, it’s a free upgrade for your new device in PSVR2.

You start off with a tutorial about moving, and there is an issue here. While pressing a button in an almost swimming motion (think grabbing an invisible spot in your environment and pulling yourself forward) is a useful method for some in VR, unless you have very long arms it doesn’t work well. I switched over immediately to movement using the sticks, and while it can mess with your stomach somewhat, it’s far better than this almost archaic system of moving around. Also, changing settings requires you to move up to a wall and press buttons, another annoyance from days long past. I’d like a gesture system in place here, or a regular menu system at least, even if it’s something we have to change over to after the tutorial.

Once you’re through this, you’re instantly in the battle arena, ready to smack around some baddies. These large hulks don’t really speak beyond grunts, and they’re pretty funny looking in their cartoony shapes, reminiscent of Dave The Barbarian from Disney Channel. In this initial encounter you’re just punching each other, and if you do get hit a message appears, letting you know to score a kill before you fade out from the blow in order to snap back into consciousness. Thankfully, just swinging your fists isn’t the end of it (or giving them the finger, which is also a feature).

After you’ve learned how to beat up said neanderthals, it’s onto the show floor. There are three floors to travel between, each with its own arena and challenges (and final boss). It’s not just that either, stuffed with weapons and enemies galore, meaning you’ll have plenty to replay. The gameplay is largely the same; thrash the dude in front of you either bare-knuckled or with a weapon, choose if you want to pick up his weapon (or use him as one), then move to the next one. A good AI design is that these guys just want to fight, so even in a crowd they’ll attack each other, giving you a breather to figure out what to do next.

Where everything deviates is the weaponry, with single-handed, two-handed, shields, and some projectile-oriented to boot (and some crazy special stuff to unlock). You’ll usually start with something in each round, but utilizing your opponents weapons is the key. Running at the guy with a shield first, knocking him out, then using it alongside a mace is a pretty good combo. Remember though, everything can be really chaotic, so your initial game plan won’t matter as more and more combatants enter the arena with different weapons. You’ll do a lot of adapting on the fly, so just have fun with it. Which, you’re going to, it’s too much fun to bludgeon each foe into oblivion.

One thing you’ll have to get used to with your arsenal is the feel of it. GORN is very comedic in its depiction of each piece of weaponry, to the point most feel like rubber props. Swinging a mace feels okay, but there’s a visceral punch that is missing with the way it lands. The choice to have them be so wobbly and wiggly means there’s a bit of a delay even when your brain says you’ve hit them. This extends a lot with the two handed weapons, which feel very slow. Maybe if a little more was done with the haptics it could help in adding that oomph I’m looking for.

Now, GORN is as violent as they come, so I wouldn’t let your kids around it unless you adjust some filters. The cartoonish nature of the characters lessens some of it, but some of your blows are gruesome. When I look at the hamburger meat face of the dude I walloped several times with a mace, eyes almost falling out of sockets, it can be a little unnerving. I do appreciate the piñata setting however, changing out all the ridiculous blood with candy and confetti.

Something that does come into play when you’re under the helmet is your space, and GORN requires all of it. Unfortunately, it does ask for the 6.7 x 6.7 play area, so you’re at the mercy of how much room you have. You can spoof it, telling the PSVR2 you can accommodate by editing your space out, but you do invite possible damage to yourself or items in your area when you’re swinging your arms around to beat up the incoming horde. Small apartment dwellers, beware.

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David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.




Review Guidelines

GORN is a great popcorn video game. Nothing about it screams game-changer, but it’s so much fun to play you might spend more time with it than other more refined experiences. With plenty of weapons to decimate your enemies with and plenty of them to pulverize, GORN is certainly an enjoyable and outrageous game.

David Burdette

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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