March 27, 2023

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The American Dream – PSVR Review


The American Dream is a “satirical” take on American gun culture in the form of a Virtual reality tour … Or at least that is what its description on PSN says:
Samurai Punk presents The American Dream, a satirical virtual reality trip to a ‘brighter future’ where your everyday needs are solved with guns. It is the 1950’s and a group of leading gun manufacturers have constructed a vast complex to guide the American Patriot towards a better and richer life. With Buddy Washington, the talking dog as your guide, you’ll get to experience what it is like to live all aspects of your life with guns.
What it actually comes across as is tasteless, brash, NRA propaganda. So much so that the overly long dialogue feels more like brainwashing than satire. With such lines as “the only thing to stop a runaway water hose is a good guy with a gun” and “Disarmament means death” to the extreme of blaming news channels for the rise in school shootings by giving the killers air time, therefore, creating copycat killers.

The levels within the game, when you actually get to play, are nonsensical and sometimes funny. Clearing weeds in your garden with a machine gun, Feeding your baby with your pistol and using a machine gun to clean cars in the car wash. Its the constant pro-gun rhetoric spouted throughout the game that it is extremely unsettling.
Maybe the timing of the game’s release is to blame rather than the content itself. Maybe it is just because of recent events in America and the growing gun control argument from both sides make this game uncomfortable but I honestly failed to find little satire in this and a lot of propaganda.
The graphics in The American are not the best that PSVR has to offer but they are suitable enough. The 1950’s setting is a great setting for PSVR the colour scheme lends itself nicely to depth and gameplay.
All the characters in the game are illustrated pictures attached to plywood cutouts and make for a fun setting and stage like production as people slide in and out of the scene. I did quite like the little touch that when characters turn around there is just plywood on their backs.
The clockwork orange/ Willy Wonka stage was extremely unsettling and I genuinely felt like it was an attempt at hypnotism because it was completely against the tone of the game.

The gameplay and handling in The American Dream is the real special part of the game. Each gun has its own style of handling and reloading. From feeling like a bad ass when ejecting cartridges into the air and catching them in your pistol to reloading after every shot with the rifle.
Some guns such as the rifle and the machine gun require you to hold the front of the gun to keep it stable and accurate. This really helps with the immersion into VR and is the true selling point of the game.
The handgun attachments such as the hand and the drinking handgun are fun additions and work really well within the scope of the game.

The American Dream is a great game in terms of controls, innovation and execution. Unfortunately, It is so laden with rhetoric and propaganda that it completely fails on the satire front and instead comes across as a creation of the pro-gun lobby.
Which is a shame because beneath the flippant attitude towards guns and the nauseating American patriotism there is a good game lurking.
The age rating of 16 seems a little on the low side, especially for America. I know I have banged on about the feeling like I had just partaken in NRA propaganda but honestly after finishing the game I had felt dirty and had to go for a shower.
Overall Score – 5/10