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Review: Sairento VR (PC)By Chris125 At 05.02.2018 16:37

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Immediately, the comparisons are hard to bat away. The closest initial relative to Sairento VR is undoubtedly the excellent Superhot VR from everything to the aesthetic of a neo-noir cyber world to the bullets moving in slow motion just itching to be dodged. Some may even overlook the former title as being a mere copy. To do this would be a big mistake, though. The movement system, in this instance, is one of the most compelling of any VR title to do, maybe even the most compelling. It isn't that it does anything revolutionary in the basic mechanics; after all, some purists may even be shocked to find it is mostly an enhanced teleportation system. However, this is unlike most stationary teleportation VR movement in every way.

The amount of freedom, and the feeling of euphoria, when the ninja leaps into the air, jumps between walls, and then wall-runs, all the while spraying a machine gun at enemies, is truly incredible. The fluidity of all this is also an achievement, with Sairento VR being the quintessential pick-up-and-play kind of game.

Each of the maps is designed in a clever way to allow the maximum amount of experimentation of free running and various strategies to pick off the roving bands of enemy samurai. The amount of verticality gives everything a sense of scale that only increases the immersion. Of course, when someone mentions free running in VR, the inevitable twinge in the pit of the stomach tends to make itself known. That is the genius here, as even when the protagonist is jumping in all directions or landing hard on the ground from 50 feet, it does not give the usual feelings of sickness.

Rather, the experience is just so easy to get completely caught up in that the bigger danger is not stopping. Rather than nausea, the sweat of excitement will need to be wiped away from the headset. The thrill from chaining moves, and the choreography of killing, is straight out of the greatest martial arts flicks. The ease of use is what is most impressive and even a beginner will soon be back flipping and wall running.

Enemies, while not having the greatest general AI ever seen, do present a sense of danger. The usual grunts are easy prey but the more adept samurai and beyond utilise the full abilities available to them, from enhanced movement to using their weapons to deflect bullets. This lends more strategy to action rather than simply out manoeuvring them. Shoot an enemy in the knee and he will drop to the ground in pain, ready for execution. Equally, there are close and personal options with amazing katanas and even melee combat. It is visceral, it is brutal, and it is exhilarating.

Anyone that has played the Early Access so far will be familiar with the available modes, with the main one being the missions on various maps. These are very freeform and wave-based, and present a vast arena to move within. The gameplay loop that keeps things interesting is the experience and loot system, which rewards creative kills and moves with more experience to level up and increase abilities with a vast tech tree, as well as better weapons.

By the time of release there will also be a voiced and narrative-based story campaign. Having played through a good deal of it, is it the most engaging story ever? No. However, it provides enough grounding in lore and character development to supplement the already addictive mission mode. Credit has to go to the voice work, which is particularly impressive when it feels so close and immersive. Most importantly, what it does do is let the player literally step into a vision of Japan and get engrossed in this fantasy version of the world.

This is complemented by the visuals, which are colourful and vibrant, most importantly straddling the line between technically impressive while being mechanically sound. There are a few exceptions when action is particularly heavy and when the system catches up, but these are few and far between and do not distract from the overall experience. The enemy design is imaginative, while keeping a nod to the past and, of course, when surrounded by enemies of the 'Silent Ones' in VR, it always lends an extra element of danger.

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Final Score
[i]Sariento VR[/i] is one of the most impressive VR titles in many ways. From the technical standpoint, with the graphics and engine stability, to the movement system (which is a pure thrill) right through to the sounds of the weaponry, which really make everything come to life. There are a few titles that mix some of the acrobatic movement and bullet-time mechanics separately but none have combined them so well and in such a complete package. This is one of the first VR titles on the market that could be reasonably described as a true AAA VR experience, with an addictive gameplay loop of missions offering plenty of rewards and a voiced campaign. Best of all, it might be a first class title but developer Mixed Realms has delivered on a budget price of £22.99. For VR owners, this is a must buy.

9

/10

User Comments
#1 Aldric Chang (guest) - on 06.02.2018 at 03:00

Hi Chris, my name is Aldric - CEO of Mixed Realms. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank you for this glowing review. We are grateful that you had given much credit to this humble game built by our small team. I want you to know that it means a lot to us and we will endeavor to build even better games in the future.


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