Think about some of the best fighting movies that you have seen or stories you have heard about or read. More importantly, the gladiator genre. Of course, you have tales like David and Goliath and movies like Gladiator, Spartacus, and even Thor: Ragnarok, but have you ever thought about actually being in that moment and thinking about how you would handle the situation? Would you know defeat or would you be victorious? Just by thinking about these questions, you escaped just for a second to think about it all. But does Developer Free Lives and Publisher Devolver Digital allow you to escape and have fun while living out your gladiator dreams? Let’s find out with GORN for the PlayStation VR.
GORN is a gladiator simulator that allows you to creatively execute your most violent gladiatorial fantasies all without risking your own blood and tears. Speaking of blood and tears, GORN is very bloody and violent which allows you to take off the limbs of your enemies. So if you are ok with that, please continue.
So before you actually begin, you will want to do a couple of things to be able to fully enjoy your time with GORN. First, make sure both of your Move controllers are charged. Second, decide if you want to play standing or sitting, and Third, adjust the position of the floor in GORN as if you do not have it just right, you may find it a little difficult to pick up weapons and trust when I say this, you will want to be able to pick up weapons whenever you can. And lastly, go through the training as you will want to know how to move correctly as you will be moving your arms to do so.
After you go through the training and enter the first arena, you will notice a couple of things. One, there is a ruler that will explain things and attempt to mock you as I am sure he has seen many gladiators before you and been saddened by their lack of ability and charm that you have. You will also notice these floating heads where their eyes are staring through you as if they were Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets judging your actions. But it’s when you have to salute the ruler and the gate goes down, and your opponents start to come at you, that you have to be prepared. The first battle has really just you and your fists to fight. There also may be a rock that you can pick up, but really you won’t need it for the first fight and probably not thinking about picking up the rock to use as a weapon.
After each round, you are introduced to your time as well as telling you how you did or weapons you may have unlocked. In my first battle with just my fists, I received flawless but looked up at this ruler of this land and he had this anger on his face with a frown to match like he was expecting me to not last, and oh yeah, those heads with those eyes…those eyes I tell you that show more of a surprise which after the first couple of rounds, I started to not pay attention to them. Because honestly, they don’t know me or you or you and what neither you nor I are capable of in these gladiator times.
With each new round, you are introduced to newer weapons and more enemies and this is where the fun really begins. The weapons have some nice detail and make it feel like if you were really trying to use those weapons. Some weapons like the spear, you have to really use both hands to get the full effect of the weapon. So even though I tried on some weapons, I either went with what some of the weapons the enemies dropped, so that I could have a weapon in each hand. Because honestly, have a sword or a mace in each hand and being able to just cut into an arm or leg and then watch the enemies try to get get back up and fight, became the comical escape I needed. And if all else fails, feel free to grab another enemy or body part and use that as a weapon. Remember, they are attacking you and you have to use self-defense, right?
As you are fighting to make sure you survive and beating the enemy, you might want to just look at the weapon you are using as it will be dripping blood from the destruction you caused and that really is a nice touch. And I will say if you can hit the enemy in the head just right, their eyes may pop out of their sockets which just shows you how much detail the developer went into when making physics a focal point.
There are a couple of things that some may find more noticeable and that is the physics. Yes, having physics be part of the experience can be awesome, but at the same time, too much or just not the right balance may have some things a little off. For one, I didn’t mind it too much, but when looking at the enemies walking towards you, it seems like their lower part and the upper part of their bodies seem to be unbalanced almost like their entire equilibrium is off. The same for the weapons. I love being able to hit an enemy with a weapon in like the arm and having a clean-cut and watching the arm fall off in the direction it is supposed to, but then seeing the weapon in hand and part of it almost makes it feel like it is made out of rubber on parts of it. To me it added to the part of the cartoonish fun, but as I said, some people will notice it more.
There are some things that I hope either get added or updated. For one, the option to add different kinds of movement. There is no locomotion here and you do have to move your arms in order to move, which when you hold a weapon and if you let go of the button while moving, you will drop your weapon. Second, when you get hit, it starts to become red like you are bleeding out, but I would love for a different way to regain your health to be implemented as it can appear you can die more quickly then what some would like and when you add archers to the mix and not notice them, it can become somewhat frustrating at times. This just means you will have to practice more which could be a good thing. Third, I would love to different types of enemies as well as more arena locations.
But it’s not all just campaign because all of those weapons you unlocked and fought for, become available when you go to the lower level with other options that add even more fun ot the game. From changing your size so you can become bigger to messing with the gravity (let the body parts fly) to changing the speed of the game to even a pinata type mode where candy is dropped when you beat the enemies. So you do have some options on how you want to experience GORN.
GORN does allow us to enter that world and becoming the gladiator you would want with the blood and violence you would hope for. It gives you the ability to let out some steam and deal with the frustrations of what’s going on in the world now. And sometimes when someone just needs that outlet to have that frustration, stress, and anger removed, GORN and Virtual Reality are there to answer the call.
GORN is out now on PlayStation VR and is also available on the Oculus Store, Steam, and Viveport. A review code was provided.
To learn more about Free Lives, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. To learn more about Devolver Digital, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, join their Discord, follow them on Twitch, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I think I need to let some more stress out.