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Put on your gloves, your mask, and your scrubs. It’s time to do some surgery. Unless you already did that surgery the first time around. Surgeon Simulator: Experience Reality is a new version of Surgeon Simulator that allows you to partake in various comedic surgery procedures only with fancy new VR. Should you get this surgery or is the cost too high?

Just to get this out of the way right now, Experience Reality is basically just a new version of Surgeon Simulator Anniversary Edition. It has the same five operations available in that version, and you can still preform them either in the hospital, in the back of an ambulance, or in space. It lacks the Team Fortress 2 and Donald Trump operations, plus it doesn’t have the hallway stuff, but it tries to make up for it by giving you use of two hands and letting you experience the operations in VR. If you already own any past versions of Surgeon Simulator, then, unless VR is a massive draw to you, there’s nothing really in Experience Reality that makes it worth picking up yet again.

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Even if VR is a massive draw to you, I still have trouble recommending Experience Reality. The basic idea is that each of the Move controllers is one of your hands, and you can use the move button on the top to close your thumb and pointer, and the trigger to close your other three fingers. It’s not a bad idea, but in practice it doesn’t actually work. Grabbing onto any of the surgeon’s tools is nearly impossible, as the area between “able to grab them” and “hitting the table” is so small you have to have pixel perfect precision.

Once your hand hits something, it becomes lodged on that object while a ghostly skeleton hand continues to track your location. Once your skeleton is somewhere that is not out of bounds, your real hand will teleport to where your skeleton is. As long as you’re stuck with the skeleton hand, you can’t really do anything at all, only able to awkwardly look for a way to get you real hand back. Every level would consist of me trying to get a scalpel for a solid minute, trying to navigate that fine line between “allowed to go here” and “not allowed to go here” before attempting to do any actual surgery where I had to once again navigate around trying to get my hands to not suddenly become skeletons in some guy’s chest hole.

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I really need to stress how bad the skeleton hand problem is. That tiny bit of rib poking out of some guy’s side? You’re caught on that. The little bump on a table keeping an instrument from falling off of it? Stuck. No matter what action I took I would find myself stuck in new and strange ways and constantly having to dislodge myself. This is the most important part of the game, but it doesn’t work. Every other problem I have with Experience Reality is just building on this.

On the rare chance you can get the basic controls to cooperate, the main idea is that you’re supposed to cut out some part of the patient’s internal organs and replace it with a new one. You have a variety of tools available to you, from hammers to lasers, each of which have uses. If you accidentally cut part of the patient, then they start bleeding, and if they bleed out you lose. You can stop bleeding using a shot, though can also just poke yourself with this shot to get high, which is pretty funny. It’s a game that would reward being steady with a blade, if this was possible.

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Experience Reality was constantly breaking on me in new and unique ways. Tools were constantly freaking out on me: once I picked up a hammer only for it to promptly shake horribly in my hand, its violent vibrations smashing my patient in the face and killing them instantly. One level I had to remove the large intestine from the patient, only for it to come to life and glitch out, flying around the level and knocking half of my tools over before phasing through a wall. I played that level four times, and the organ glitched all four times. The Move controller’s vibration would just suddenly turn on for no reason, refusing to shut off. The absolute worst, however, was when my hands would become permanently “stuck” in something, refusing to snap back to the skeletons and meaning the only way you can get them back was to restart the level. That, for the record, is how I got the large intestine to glitch out four times.

Each of the five cases would find some new way to not work. The one level with a new twist is the brain surgery, which now takes place during a power outage. To compensate, you have a head mounted flashlight you can attach to yourself to help you see. The first time I tried the piece would refuse to attach itself to my head, instead just plopping to the floor uselessly. The final level is tooth surgery, having you replace some rotten teeth with some new one. Besides the teeth being too small to pick up in any sort of reliable way with the terrible “skeleton hand” system, none of them would ever reliably attach into the man’s mouth, eventually causing me to take a hammer to his face out of frustration. At least that worked, sorta.

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Surgeon Simulator: Experience Reality was a genuinely shocking experience. Taking a fun base game and somehow managing to totally screw it up is almost an impressive feat in and of itself. Just, not really one you should be proud of. Maybe the insurance costs are too high, but the game needs surgery more than any of its patients.

Surgeon Simulator: Experience Reality was reviewed on a PlayStation VR using a copy provided by the developer. The game is also available on Steam.

2.5
 

Terrible

Summary

Without any new content from the last release, broken controls, and an absurd amount of glitches, Surgeon Simulator: Experience Reality is really the one that needed surgery.

Pros

  • Can Be Funny At Times
  • The Hidden Rap Song is Good

Cons

  • No New Content From Last Release
  • Bad Controls
  • Extremely Glitchy
  • Barely Functions

Samuel Guglielmo

Staff Writer

I'm Sam. Been playing video games since PlayStation. Favorite games include Ace Combat 5, Perfect Dark, Final Fantasy IX, Metro 2033, and MonsterBag. Also loves books and can be found face first in one all the time.


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