GORN is a ludicrously violent VR gladiator simulator, made by Free Lives, the developers of Broforce. Featuring a unique, fully physics driven combat engine, GORN combatants will be able to creatively execute their most violent gladiatorial fantasies in virtual reality. Savagely strike down an infinite supply of poorly-animated opponents with all manner of weapons – from swords, maces, and bows to nunchuks, throwing knives, massive two-handed warhammers or even your blood-soaked bare hands. The only limits to the carnage are your imagination and decency, in the most brutal and savage VR face-smashing game ever produced by man.

Reviewed on: PSVR (V1 unit & base PS4)
Also available for:
Oculus, HTC Vive, SteamVR

Developer: Free Lives
Publisher:  Devolver Digital

There is something utterly childish about being able to poke a character’s eye out in a virtual-reality game, or even pull their heart out on the end of your sword. GORN gives you the ability to do both of these things as well as good-old dismemberment in a cartoonish arena brawler with rubber-like, yet effective weapons. It’s good fun for the first hour or two, but beyond that things grow stale and boring fast enough.

With no story to speak off, you simply make your way through nine-different arena battles in GORN that introduce you to a variety of new weapons. Things start simple with a mace, or small axe, and eventually build up to massive double-handed broadswords. With these weapons, you’ll cut, smash and generally obliterate opponents and paint the walls red before facing a boss at the end of each level.

if Mace dual-wielded he may not have fallen out of that window - image captured by author

if Mace dual-wielded he may not have fallen out of that window – image captured by author

The game is at its most fun when you’re using the one-handed simple weapons. As soon as you pick up a two-handed weapon the PSVR + Move controllers simply struggle to pull off the dual-maneuver efficiently and lugging around double-handed weapon is a fight against the game more than the characters around you. 

Similarly, the ranged weapons all straight-up suck. Again, I blame this on the PS Move controllers but every single ranged weapon I had issues with. Trying to throw something was a waste of time and using a cannon-launcher weapon was the most annoying thing to re-load and fire efficiently without errors. 

rubber meets stick - image captured by author

rubber meets stick – image captured by author

A lot of my problems with the game’s two-handed and ranged weapons could have been fixed, well, with better PS Move controllers and a tracking system, but aside from that – it could have been helped by removing the one-hit death. Yep, for some reason, any hit, or tap from an enemy’s weapon — no matter where it lands — will send you into a bleeding state and end in death in a matter of seconds if you don’t kill an opponent. While enemies in the game will often take several hits to die; will waddle around with limbs missing; crawl with no legs at all, you’ll die by taking a simple arrow to the knee.

The smaller weapons were the most fun to use because they WORKED, but also dual-wielding swords allowed me to parry enemies efficiently and counter with a limb removal. Anything like that in VR always feels bad-ass to pull off and its no different in GORN