VR seems to finally be taking off, with multiple hardware options available and games releasing on a more frequent basis. There are even VR centers where you can go and play a few games even if you don’t have (the funds for) a set of your own. Previously I had a look at Elven Assassin and today I will share some thoughts on a more action-packed game: Sairento VR.
While Sairento has a (pretty basic) single player mode with a campaign, the most fun you can have with this title is when fighting hordes of enemies in co-op with a few friends. I was joined by two buddies to test this game and some of the opinions I share below come from them.
Graphics & Audio
Sairento looks fantastic in motion and even when you get a closer look at some of the textures you’ll see that a lot of attention went into the details. I even found myself crouching down in the level select hub area (the dojo) to get a closer look at the wooden panels on the floor. During gameplay you’ll see plenty of particle effects as the action is happening all around you.
The game also appears to run at a buttery smooth 90FPS which is a MUST for VR games. I never experienced any kind of nausea and I’m normally very sensitive to it so I can at least guarantee to others with the same issue that this is a safe game to try out.
As for the sound, you’ll hear plenty of Eastern tunes which should sound familiar to you if you’ve watched samurai movies or any kind of anime set in a ninja world (like Naruto). Most of the time you won’t hear it though, as you’ll constantly be firing your weapons or entering into slow-mo to chop off some heads. What was noticeably absent in our playsession was a voice-chat with your fellow players (though this may just be a setting we hadn’t found how to turn on). Especially when playing a co-op mode where you’re fighting waves of enemies this would be a useful feature to have so you can dicuss strategy.
Sairento is possibly the most fun I’ve had with a VR game yet. The controls are intuitive, letting you warp, triple jump and even perform wallruns with little to no effort. And best of all: none of this hopping around made me motion sick in the least.
Here’s a video of the game in action (video not my own, but by Node) so you can see how easy it is for him to look and move around in the world and perform some slow-mo combo’s.
What I really like in Sairento is how you switch from one weapon to another. Instead of having to use a weapon wheel, you can actually use the location of the weapons on your body to “physically” grab them: Handguns require you to grab them from the holsters on your thighs, while grabbing your Katana’s requires you to grab them from behind your back. There’s just something I find immensely satisfying about this.
Speaking of weapons, you can pick a load-out for your character in the Dojo and wether you enjoy shooting enemies from afar or warping up to them for some close combat, you’ll find that every playstyle is supported. If you prefer archery to shooting guns, you can even whip out a bow and do that too (but beware of getting sore muscles!). My personal weapons of choice were the dual katanas.
Not only do they shield you from bullet damage, in slow-mo you can even deflect bullets back to enemies. While I probably looked ridiculous in real life, I felt like a total bad-ass the entire time I was playing the game. While I don’t see myself getting tired of the game easily, the minor RPG elements like upgrading your weapons and skills are a welcome inclusion to make sure I feel some kind of progression. It remains a VR game however, so real world fatigue will set in at some point preventing you from putting in the same amount of non-stop grinding you would be able to on the couch with a regular controller.
Points to improve
When trying to join up for a multiplayer match, it wasn’t very easy to make sure we were all in the same room (even though we physically were) and it seems there can still be some improvement in the effort required for it. Also, since you spend so much time in the Dojo selecting your gear and waiting for other players, it would have been a good idea if there was more to do in it: test-dummies to test your weapons and skills on and perhaps some targets that appear to help calibrate your aim.
The enemy variety could probably use a boost as we were mostly fighting the same humanoid guys over and over again. Since we’re fighting in a futuristic cyborg world, it would have been nice to also fight some bigger robots that require totally different tactics to beat. Additional environmental hazards would have been nice as well, as those could serve as extra motivation to use all the platforming skills available to us.
One of Sairento’s taglines is “VR was made for this” and I find myself agreeing with the statement. The mobility made possible here just feels so right that I expect a lot of other VR games to take notice and copy it. If you own a VR set*, you should definitely have this game in your library!
*The devs have already spoken out about hoping to have the game out on PSVR by Christmas 2018, so Playstation gamers will be able to get it as well!