Synapse PS VR2 Review

Synapse PS VR2 Review

Synapse is a new roguelike game for PlayStation VR2 where you run through a series of zones, shoot stuff and use your mind powers to fling objects around. These objects can be enemies, explosive barrels and square blocks called “Mind Blocks” (which is ironic given that the entire game takes place in someone’s mind).

Watch out Synapse PS VR2 video review below

I want to tell you all about the story in Synapse but it doesn’t really go anywhere and sadly, it didn’t do a good enough effort for me to care. I know I took the role of someone who climbed into another person’s consciousness. Why? I have no clue. There’s something about getting codes for some reason.  I know that each new stage acts as a new level of consciousness and the aim was to get to their subconscious by completing a series of zones. Why? I can’t tell you either.

It is a shame that Synapse doesn’t take its story seriously enough because it would have only benefitted the game. Enemies in each zone kept shouting slurs at me. Calling me things like “names” and being told they are possessed. These enemies come across like some weird religious cult but their existence is never explored. Even the larger, tougher enemies are just in the game with no link to the real world and why they are there.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

It is even more of a shame given that Synapse has some great talent behind the voice work. Both David Hayter and Jennifer Hale provide voices for the two main characters. Sadly, it just ends up with them muttering all sorts of voice lines without any reason to pay attention.

I am in two minds when it comes to Synapse. For the most part, its telekinetic combat mixed with fast-paced gunplay is enjoyable on the PlayStation VR2. On the other hand, its roguelike gameplay feels like a safe and done approach. So much so that I am burnt out by this genre now, especially in VR gaming.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

But Synapse does a few things right. It manages to deliver some fun gameplay mechanics thanks to its eye-tracking feature. Things like simply looking at any object or enemy allowed me to grab them with my left hand and toss them about like a play toy. I was also impressed by how fantastic this game ran on the system and its intense combat and movement provided hours of comfortable play without ever feeling motion sick.

If anything, Synapse is one of the more fast-paced games I have played on PS VR2 to date. Its 120Hz refresh rate went a long way to keep the visuals steady while I was literally dashing across the screen, taking cover, whipping my head around to fling an enemy into the air and shooting soldiers while I was at it. I moved that camera a lot.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

The game demands quick reactions, lots of sprinting and quick head turns. I remember one session where I played a full hour and thirty minutes straight without any motion sickness at all. I only stopped playing because I completed the game. I would have carried on without any issue if that wasn’t the case.

Synapse took me through a series of so-called zones. Each zone looks fairly similar to the last and the game’s monochrome art style blends it all together. I started out the game with just a pistol and the ability to grab Mind Blocks and explosive barrels. Completing objectives then unlocked skills points I could use after I died to further my abilities.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

Telekinesis improved allowing me to grab enemies and toss them about. I also dealt damage to these grabbed enemies. Weapons types were also unlocked, my max health was increased and various enhancements were available to purchase in these zones. While the skill tree does offer some cool perks, the game’s main mechanics are all unlocked within the first tier so I didn’t feel the power as much as I hoped as I climbed up the tree.

Most of the abilities unlock perks for the zone. Health fountains appeared which healed me and weapon stores stocked better gear. As I progressed through the zones, these perks become more and more important to my journey.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

At the end of each zone, I also got to choose a modifier that would unlock for the rest of my run. These modifiers came in all different shapes and forms. Some are better than others. For example, the grenade modifier shot a grenade out of my gun on the last bullet of my magazine. This came in handy when fighting brutes.

Another modifier decreased my overall gun damage but bullets would curve into the enemy meaning I didn’t miss as many shots. Another one buffed my damage depending on how much Defiance I had on my character. Defiance is a currency that is used to purchase items and perks during each zone.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

So the combination of the permanent skills, the in-zone stores and these modifiers all helped change each new run in Synapse. Some runs were easier as I got the god roll of weapon stores, modifiers and perks. Some were tougher but the slow creep up the ladder definitely felt rewarding.

What makes Synapse a real gem is its gameplay. The shooting felt great. Reloading a weapon was also as easy as pressing the circle button to drop the mag and pushing the gun into my chest to push the new magazine into the gun. More VR shooters need to do this. It just makes sense to use your body to reload instead of your other hand.

During the late-game zones, things were also intense. With over 70 enemies to kill, I had to plan my route very carefully. I could also move platforms and lifts around to strategically plan my approach to the oncoming wave. I remember the final zone I was stuck in, I kited a brute all the way to the stairs only to move the platform out of the way preventing him from chasing me down. I then trickled his health down slowly.

There was also nothing as satisfying as grabbing enemies with my left hand and flinging them into the air. It was a lot of fun. I even got creative and started shooting them as they floated down. I lived my inner Carrie fantasy thanks to these telekinetic powers.

I do wish upgrades weren’t locked behind completing certain objectives. In a way, the game forces you to play a certain way and perform certain actions. It even forced me to use certain guns to complete objectives to earn skill points to get more powerful. I just didn’t enjoy all the weapons and completing some of the objectives became a bit tedious.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

While the combat holds up, Synapse does fall short in content. Once mastered, a run can take about an hour. You only really need to do two runs to finish the game. The enemy variety is also lacking with only a handful of different enemies to fight.

With the environments looking the same and the enemies’ variety lacking, the game does become rather tedious after a while. The monochrome art style also does nothing to improve the experience either.

Synapse PS VR2 Review

With that being said, Synapse is a fun PS VR2 game. It is a bit pricey for what you’re getting. There are better, more value-packed games on the platform for this price tag but the action experience on offer here is definitely unique.

This Synapse review is based on a PlayStation VR2 code sent to us by NGames. The game is out on 4 July starting at R639

Synapse Review


Synapse has all the makings for a great shooter with powers but its shallow gameplay doesn’t offer enough to keep coming back.

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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