I have had my eye on GORN for a while now, it has been out for a few years on PC and many gamers and YouTube streamers love the game because of its wacky physics-based combat system. It has finally come to PlayStation VR and I am very excited. Right, pass me my mace, I need to bash some skulls in.
GORN, at its most basic, is an arena, wave-based brawler. You enter an arena and must bloodily bash your way through whatever foe is thrown at you. You must use a variety of weaponry, shields, bows and even the gladiators own limbs to destroy your adversaries. Your job is to be the last one standing, it's a very simple premise but GORN is not designed to revolutionise anything in any way.
Where GORN excels and why everyone loves it is its absurd physics-based combat system. The enemies stumble into the arena like they have had 10 pints and you attack them with weapons that feel like they are made out of rubber. This combined with being able to completely dismember your enemies piece by piece, leads to some insane combat situations. You can even tear them apart with your bare hands, it's hilariously brutal.
GORN is beautifully gruesome but due to it having a cartoon-based art style, it's a funny gruesome rather than a horrid gruesome. The enemies eyes pop out, their jaws break, their arms get ripped off and their rib cages get cracked open. When the game is in full flow, when the blood is flowing, it's very entertaining watching these lumbering gladiators getting smashed to pieces.
I love what GORN is trying to achieve, its like a virtual stress toy. You are thrown into a group of enemies, who stumble all over the shop and must flail about, smashing them into pieces, chopping them into bits and it is all very cathartic. I found it a great stress reliever, its fun, mad and at times, the physics are completely broken. It's bloody brilliant.
What I did find slightly bothersome were the game's controls. Don't get me wrong, I think the controls are deliberately slightly off. It adds to the games charm and sometimes uncontrollable carnage. The thing that bothered me most was the movement system. You have to grab the environment and pull yourself in the direction you want to go to. It just feels off and it is very cumbersome when you are in the heat of battle, what's wrong with the movement systems other VR games use?
Apart from GORN's short campaign, there are a few other ways to murder pixel-based foes. You can take part in an endless mode and mess around in sandbox mode, this is where I think most people will spend their time. Everything you unlock in the campaign can be used and you can create your own battle scenarios, change the game's settings and have a lot of fun. You can make yourself stronger, make the enemies smaller and just generally mess about, that is what GORN is great at, just being a virtual playground to mess about in and it really works.
Graphically I liked GORN's art-style, it's comedic, it's bright and considering the game's themes, it's amusingly pleasant. It looks good on the low-resolution PSVR headset, especially at a short distance. Sound-wise GORN is very basic, there's no music, no dialogue except for the king making you fight opponents, all there is sound-wise is the sound effects of broken faces, clashing weapons and severed limbs. The sound design is not the games best asset but I don't think that will bother many people.
GORN performed amazingly on a technical level, I had zero bugs or glitches and apart from having to adjust my camera a few times, the VR implementation was good too. You need a big space to play GORN, you need to be able to pick weapons off the floor and swing them around like a fool. Just make sure any breakables are moved out of the way, I nearly clubbed my youngest lad as he walked past once, there is a lot of movement required and you need be standing in a large open space.
GORN is a good workout too, it definitely made me sweat. I knew I had done a few rounds, my arms ached and it made me feel energized. Its hard work in the gladiator arena, very entertaining but hard work. It will be a game I flick on now and again when I want to blow off some steam or burn some calories in a gladiator gore-fest. Right, I need a bit of rest now but later, I will carry on slaughtering drunk gladiators.