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Dead Hook

Dead Hook

Written by Nathan Carter on 3/19/2024 for PSVR2  
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FPS shooters are probably high on the list of most obvious types of games you can make for a VR headset, and many of them conform to tropes of the genre, for better or worse. I'll get this out of the way right off the bat. This game wears it's Doom influence on it's sleeve. I mean, the game starts right off with a robotic voice that is basically "not Vega" talking to you along with your AI wife. The demons all look like Doom demons, and you got heavy metal music blasting as you play through each level. One could say that Dead Hook is "we have Doom at home" but honestly I don't think that's a bad thing because if we aren't going to get an official Doom VR game that is more than just a tech demo like Doom VFR was, this is probably the closest we have gotten so far. Combining Doom in VR with rogue-like elements turns out to be a very good - though repetitive - combination. 

As the name implies, players can swing around with "hooks", which latch onto the environments and allow you to swoosh through the room. With a game like this, the physics of the hooks will make or break the game and thankfully the hooks work extremely well. You can hook one or both of them to any surface, and then yank yourself in the area you want to go. Like Doom, you are gonna want to constantly be moving. Standing still will get you killed pretty quickly. Swinging through the air like Spider-Man while shooting at demons is very satisfying, and you can also use the hook to instakill demons much like Doom's glory kills. Shooting a demon enough will cause it to start flashing. If you hook onto the demon while in this state you will fly towards them and make them explode. You can also kill them via ripping their heads off. The game supports both standing and sitting mode and while it's entirely possible to play sitting down, you really should play this standing up. When things get crazy it really makes swinging and making quick motions especially easy if you've got enemies behind you. 

When it comes to VR games, especially ones with guns, the most important thing is what I will call weight. Even though you are holding normal lightweight controllers you need to be immersed in the experience, so that you can actually feel the weight of those guns in your hands, especially when it comes to reloading. Thankfully Dead Hook pulls this off extremely well. Most guns can be manually reloaded by either pulling back on a slide, or shaking the controller in a left to right motion like you are doing a one-handed load with a revolver. You can also dual wield weapons, which works extremely well. You are also equipped with different elemental attacks. You can hold out your hands and shoot out fire or lightning or ice and some enemies can only be damaged when you do enough damage to them with certain elemental attacks.

The only weapon that doesn't really feel all that great to use is the chainsaw. You can pull a rip cord in your wrist to activate a chainsaw that pops out of one of your hands. All of the guns and elemental attacks have decent weight to them but no matter how many times I tried to hack and slash, the saw didn't really feel like it did much, which usually just left me waving my hand quickly in front of an enemy quickly to kill them which wasn't as satisfying. 

You can also create and use various boosts and suit upgrades to bring with you on a run, and it is quite the process to create these things. There is basically a whole mini-chemistry lab in your home base that you can use to create boosts where you have to pull a lever on one machine to add the ingredients you need, then take the beaker and pour the ingredients into another machine and pull a lever to crush them, then place them in a centrifuge and spin them, then pour them into a syringe and inject it into your arm. That is quite the process to create some boosters, but you know what? It actually works really well, just pulling the levers on these machines just felt so satisfying. 

Being a Rogue-like, finishing a level will present you with guns or boosts you can apply to yourself until you die, and you can switch things up by choosing what kind of fight you want. Doors will specifically tell you what you are going to be up against and if there are any special modifiers applied to that room. With that said, this game can be fun in short bursts, but I do think kind of wears out it's welcome kind of fast. Even though you get a choice for how you want to proceed and can upgrade weapons for new runs, the game really starts to feel like the same thing over and over the longer you play. 

There are also some technical issues here - starting with the fact that I seem to always start in the central hub by glitching and falling through the floor, which is quite interesting to see in VR. Also when things start getting crazy, there do seem to be framerate drops and I'm conflicted about this because VR is a different experience for everyone. Unfortunately for me, when these framerate drops would happen I would feel myself getting incredibly motion sick, so I wasn't able to play for very long before having to take a break. I found that best way to alleviate this somewhat was to have a fan pointed at me while playing and to turn on snap turning, so thankfully there are options for both smooth and snap in the game. 

All in all Dead Hook certainly gets most of the VR part right, and while it is fun, it does kind of wear out it's welcome pretty quick by getting really repetitive. That said, this is a solid game to add to your PSVR 2 collection. It is very immersive, the gun play is great and swinging around via the titular hooks is a blast. 

Dead Hook is fun in small doses as it can get pretty repetitive, but I would say that this is also one of the best first person, Doom inspired shooters you can buy for the PSVR 2 right now. 

Rating: 7 Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively.  It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 35 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. 

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