Synapse PS VR2 Games Review

 I’ve been excited for Synapse since nDreams released its first teaser trailer almost four months ago. Everything about it looked exciting; high octane gunplay, a high-concept narrative conceit, telekinetic powers, and a deliciously monochromatic art style with small accents of color. Furthermore, it was nDreams’ first PSVR2 exclusive, and having played some of their games on Quest, I had no doubt they could pull off something quite cool. You can Get it on the PSN Store.

A couple of weeks ago, nDreams provided us and other media platforms and YouTube channels with the opportunity to test a demo of it. We wrote about it, but the demo was brief and didn’t do much except excite us and make us eagerly anticipate the final release. Now that the final version is available, I can assure you that it is a delight to play.

The narrative conceit behind Synapse is, as I’ve said before in my preview video, lifted straight out of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. You are a recruit tasked with saving lives by infiltrating a rogue colonel’s mind and fighting past his mental defenses to find out where he’s planted a bomb so you can thwart his plans. Consider this the Inception VR game that could’ve happened in some alternative reality where video game adaptations of movies were actually cool.

Neural Networks

Once the storyline is established, the player progresses through the predominantly colorless stages of the game, facing increasingly formidable adversaries as they delve deeper into the colonel’s preconscious, conscious, and ultimately, subconscious thoughts.

At the beginning, you possess a starting pistol and have limited telekinetic abilities. You can use this power to manipulate objects on the map by throwing them, crushing enemies with large cubes, or delicately handling explosive barrels to relocate them before causing them to explode for a highly gratifying result.

synapse psvr2 review

The game also allows you to level up, both across runs and within runs. Completing certain achievements, called Revelations, awards you with Insight points that you can use to unlock permanent upgrades on a skill tree, divided into three branches; Tactician, Assassin, and Survivor.

Within each run, you get access to temporary mods called Mind Hacks, these are quite inventive; one gives your bullets a bounce, another turns your last one or two shots in a cartridge into grenades, etc.

Synapse is built around making you feel like a badass and providing you with enemies that challenge that badassery so you don’t get complacent no matter how powerful you’ve become.

Retinal Resplendence

Synapse is undeniably visually appealing. The monochromatic art style on PSVR2 is enhanced with vibrant orange, red, pink, and purple accents, which effectively direct your focus to the exciting gunplay and telekinesis. The level design is impressive, offering plenty of opportunities for movement without causing confusion or disorientation. Additionally, you have a scanner embedded in your left palm that allows you to quickly check the enemy locations and, when upgraded, locate health sources as well.

synapse psvr2 review

Everything about Synapse is polished, stylish, and elegant; the user interface, the levels, the icons, right down to the font choices. Everything about the game screams polish, and the art team at nDreams deserves massive kudos for what they’ve done here.

Echoes of the Mind

The audio in Synapse is exceptional and shouldn’t be overlooked. The overall sound design, including the background sounds and user experience interactions, is top-notch. Even the sound effects for the weapons, gunfire, and explosions are well-crafted, making everything feel impactful. Additionally, the game has managed to secure the talents of two highly acclaimed voice actors, Jennifer Hale as your handler and David Hayter as the Colonel. As you play through the game, you’ll hear snippets of conversations between them that provide further insight into the narrative, shed light on the Colonel’s motivations, and uncover some unsettling history related to your handler.

Feel the Feedback

Synapse also excels in justifying its exclusivity to PSVR2 by effectively utilizing the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback of the headset. The satisfaction of gently pushing the triggers to move an exploding barrel and then tightening your grip to detonate it is unparalleled. Additionally, when enemies fire at you, the rumble in your headset not only alerts you to the impact but also provides a sense of direction, enabling you to pinpoint the source of the attack. Removing armor from larger adversaries to expose their vulnerability to your bullets is an incredibly immersive and gratifying experience that empowers you and truly makes you feel the intense effort required to remove their protective gear.

synapse psvr2 review

The eye tracking feature of the PSVR is utilized to ensure smooth and instinctive UI interactions, while also improving the precision of telekinesis. Synapse is specifically created to make the most of the distinctive capabilities of the PSVR, and this is evident in its performance.

Perpetual Pathways

The only real criticism of Synapse, and this can almost be considered praise, is that, as with most VR roguelikes, its longevity is questionable, and I want MORE of it..much more.

Your run through the Colonel’s mind takes place across 9 levels To their credit, nDreams have used a clever narrative device, which I won’t spoil, to provide you with enough impetus to want to finish at least three runs, since it’s only really then that the full story is revealed to you.

Therefore, while the gameplay in Synapse follows the typical pattern of increasing difficulty, like many other roguelikes, the story continues to progress throughout these three playthroughs. This means that each playthrough offers a unique narrative experience, even if the mechanics remain the same. This aspect provides a strong motivation to complete at least two additional runs after finishing the first one. Considering this, the game is expected to take around 10-12 hours to finish, taking into account the likelihood of dying multiple times.

We attempted to inquire about any future plans for additional content or downloadable content (DLC) from nDreams. However, if nDreams does have any plans after the initial release, they are keeping them undisclosed, so we will have to be patient, optimistic, and observe.

Neural Nirvana

If it hasn’t been made clear already, Synapse is a remarkably well-designed virtual reality action game for PSVR2. It is highly recommended for fans of action and shooter games who own a PSVR2. The graphics are exceptional, taking full advantage of the special features of the PSVR2. The gameplay makes you feel like a skilled warrior with extraordinary abilities, and the user interface is flawlessly executed, adding the final touch to an already outstanding experience.

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