Top Critic Average
I play as Twine, a young child who was bedridden after an accident in which their older sister was seemingly killed while trying to recover treasure from a temple guarded by a magical barrier. The only beings who can pass through that barrier are giant stone golems, which can be controlled by magic. It's this magic that allows Twine to direct the golems from bed. So you're not just playing as a character; you're playing as a character who is controlling a monster.
Golem is a video game redemption story – saved from the brink by a patch that cleared up many of the game's release problems. What is left is a fascinating game of exploration, punctuated by hardcore, visceral combat. With atmosphere to spare, Golem delivers a unique experience unlike any other on PSVR. Recommended for patient, thoughtful players that enjoy a challenge (and don't mind a lot of repetition).
When everything comes together, Golem has some of the best PlayStation VR combat I've played, and a story worth hearing. When it's off, even a little, frustration follows. If you can tolerate backtracking and don't mind dealing with occasional VR tech idiosyncrasies, you're gonna have a grand time.
I really feel that Golem is a short jump away from being one of PSVR's best titles. If the movement controls were more intuitive and the tracking of the Move controller in battle was more accurate it would be an amazing game. I loved the gameplay loop and the combat is superb when it functions correctly. I really enjoyed Golem most of the time but I feel some people will get annoyed with it too easily, even I did at times.
I haven't bailed out on a VR game in a while, and only the most severe of nausea will cause me to eject completely rather than grind it out over time, but Golem is just painful to play. There's too many games that have done it cleaner, and with better motion mechanics -- play them instead.
While there were many compelling reasons to take a chance on Golem, there were far too many technical issues marring the overall experience. When consumed in bits-and-pieces, the component parts could all stand on their own with little problem. It's only when these individual parts coalesced that the seams begin to show a bit more prominently. Fortunately for everyone involved, it seems like the team over at Highwire Games are dedicated to fixing these foundational blunders. However, until these overhauls have been completed, I'd recommend taking a cue from Twine and sitting this one out.
Honestly, Golem seems like it would be a better game without the VR. If I could move faster and use buttons in place of the motion gestures for combat, I’d probably have a much better time. It’s unfortunate that people will likely overlook such a cool idea because of the various issues.
You don’t have to dig too deeply to find that Golem, for all its inane faults, has some really interesting mechanical ideas for VR gaming. It’s one of the very few adventures that give you a sword to swing around in real-time and makes a concerted effort to make melee duels look and feel meaningful.
Golem is a game had a shot at being good if it launched alongside the PSVR. Fast-forward a couple years and impressive virtual reality titles are fairly common. This, depressingly, is not one of those. By the time we took the headset off, we were left with not just a feeling of disappointment, but also one of anger. Anger at the promise it once held. Anger that, despite its flaws, it did some things really well. Anger that it simply wasn't good.
It’s clear that Highwire put a lot into this game and wanted to make something special. The world is spectacular and I genuinely love the story this game tells. The game sounds amazing and I want nothing more that to just be able to explore this world in a more comfortable setting. Sadly all of that gets thrown out the window when you try to play.
For the most part though, Golem feels like a PSVR game that became lost in a mess of ideas during its various delays. The nearly unbearable movement, best-avoided combat, and frustrating progression system makes it a game that’s an absolute chore to play though and one of PSVR’s biggest disappointments.