Published on October 30th, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham
Down and Out PSVR2 Review
Summary: Down and Out does a superb job of showing what life as a homeless person is like. It's a miserable, depressing existence you wouldn't want to inflict on your worst enemy, much like this brawler.
VR has the power to transport you into the shoes of people you never could physically become. Take Zatun’s Down and Out, Though it’s possible I could become homeless, scrabbling through trash looking for food and cash, forced to defend my small corner of a dinghy street from my fellow vagrants that want to kick my ass (everyone is two pay cheques away from it, right), as someone who is over six foot, I’m never going to be short. And thanks to Down and Out’s weird inability to adjust the height of your character, I finally figured out what short man syndrome is all about.
Yes, I could have stood up, but why not give yourself an extra bit of challenge in a barebones brawler comprising of a single block, complete with one fat cop, several mission-giving dwarves, and a couple of angry, ugly enemies that will chase you around the place like a Benny Hill skit if you don’t windmill your arms in the vain hope of eventually knocking them out and sending them ragdolling across the screen in a fairly satisfying manner.
Any thoughts of ducking, diving, and boxing are quickly abandoned as soon as you realize that whether you actually hit anyone, regardless of whether your fist goes straight through their face, is completely random.
Though Down and Out pitches itself as an open-world streetfighting sim, it feels more like the world’s first virtual reality vagrancy sim. And life on the streets is just as miserable as you would expect. Most people on the small block you call home ignore you, and the rest either want to exploit or harm you.
You’re stuck living a miserable existence that mostly revolves around either sorting through trash, throwing trash, or feeling like trash, and you throw trash at your fellow miserable denizens because they want to steal your trash.
In short, down and out is trash, and I can’t recommend it on any level; the combat is awful, the open world is threadbare, the AI is moronic, and the premise is disingenuous and juvenile.
Down and Out should rebrand the game as a heart-wrenching indictment of how society treats its less fortunate because it has been a long time since I’ve played a game that felt so utterly joyless, cynical, and miserable.
I know there aren’t a lot of PSVR2 games to choose from, but Down and Out is one game that does not deserve your time, attention, or cash. In fact, you should take the money you could have spent on it, find someone who is actually down and out, and give it to them instead. Heck, donate it to Shelter; just do anything but play this miserable game that deserves to head straight for the bargain bin.