Review: Sairento VR (PSVR)


Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 None
  • Move Required (2)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
Title: Sairento VR
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (9.87 GB)
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Mixed Realms
Developer: Mixed Realms
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US)
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The wild west that is development for VR platforms has yielded some interesting results, with every developer trying their best to create new experiences that one can truly state “are only possible in VR”

Earlier this year, I experienced a spy thriller from the eyes of an action hero in Blood and Truth. One could say that the same experience can be had on a flat screen, with games like Uncharted being sited as an example, and that wouldn’t be too far from the truth. I would still argue that the intensity experienced in VR cannot be simulated by a TV screen.

But in comes Sairento – a game that literally puts you in the shoes of a nimble cyberninja – to show that an experience like this IS only possible in VR. And holy hell, does it feel great.

Available digitally on the PlayStation Store, and physically starting August 13, 2019, Sairento allows you to defy gravity, slow down time, slice through evil ninjas, and shoot them with guns, bows, or rifles, all while jumping off walls and optionally flipping in the air. Don’t go into this one if you haven’t grown your VR legs. However, if you are new to VR, the developer has ensured that there are a large number of options to make the game more comfortable, including turning off summersaults altogether.

But if you can play Sairento with most of the comfort settings off, prepare to experience some of the best that VR has to offer. The feeling of just being a total badass is finally conveyed in VR – something that was previously only possible on flat screens in games like Devil May Cry, with you being an observer and not actually seeing the action through the character’s eyes.

Sairento achieves this by allowing you to slow down time at will and also plan jumps with a trajectory arch that lets you coordinate your attacks, both in real time or slowed down. This trajectory can also be set against walls, thus allowing you to do Ninja Gaiden-style jumps. While up in the air, you can look down at enemies and blast them with guns, bows, or just come down on them with your blades. Feeling brave? Then throw up your hands after a jump and you will initiate an actual summersault in VR. Not going to lie: the first time I did this I had to close my eyes. By moving my body in tandem with the motion, I was able to eliminate some of the VR nausea I may have experienced.

That said, if you can stomach VR summersaults, you will be in for some of the most incredible experiences in video games, as you almost literally flip over an enemy, “look down at them,” and blast them with your gun, only to land on the ground, plan a second trajectory towards another ninja, switch to swords and slice him, all in what feels like one smooth move. On one occasion, I had my bow in one hand and a pistol in another. I was using the pistol hand to draw the string on the bow, shooting a boss from mid air with arrows and then using the gun to add some damage. This kind of thing cannot be adequately described. It has to be experienced.

I’d shower this game in praises even if the insane action was the only thing going for it. Fortunately, Sairento also has a pretty awesome loot system in the tradition of games like Diablo. As you play through the story, missions or challenges, you will loot items with various levels of rarity (no loot crates, thankfully).

These mods add abilities to your weapons and armor, so you can tinker to your heart’s content. One of my personal favorites allowed me to stick to walls instead of bouncing off them, which was perfect for taking out some bad guys with a sniper rifle. Additionally, you will gain levels and use skill points that unlock abilities that augment your person with skills like shooting plasma from your swords or additional jumps in mid air.

All of this kept me coming back for more, and more. I wanted to tweak my guns with the rare mods, and unlock as much as possible.

Sairento has a campaign mode with an interesting enough story, but so eager I was to get to the action that I might be forgiven for powering through the dialogue. That said, I am very grateful that a narrative was given to the game. Adding substance to the madness is always a good thing.

Visuals:
One might see the visuals of Sairento and wonder if this was not a game from two generations ago. And sure, on a flat screen you couldn’t be blamed for saying that. But Sairento is a game where the visuals are a sum of motion, depth, and graphics.

Sure, I’m excited to see what the team at Mixed Realms can do with next gen hardware, but what is here looks amazing because it works towards the goal of making me feel like a cyberninja. All the components needed to make that work might have included some sacrifices in visual integrity, and when I’m slicing through two ninjas after landing from a flip, I’m not really worried about whether or not the game looks as good as a more on-rails game like Blood and Truth.

Audio:
Some great effects accompany the action, and the acting is good enough to convey the narrative without needing to see actual cinematics. The musical score is top notch, with some appropriate atmospheric music and action themes to accompany your ninja-ing.

Online/Multiplayer:
While multiplayer eliminates the use of slow motion, the added player makes up for it, as you can share in the action and loot with a friend. A full-body model represents your character, but animation is a little funky when playing online. The action is so fast-paced that it’s an issue that you’d barely notice, unless you were watching someone playing online perhaps.

Playing this game with a friend is an experience seldom seen on PSVR, because most games are either single player, or multiplayer only, but in a competitive death-match arena. Rare are co-op games like these.

Conclusion:
To say that Sairento VR redefines what I expect for VR moving forward is not an exaggeration. That’s not to imply that all VR games should have ninjas with the ability to slow down time and wield guns and swords. That is to imply that VR games should put you in the shoes of your favorite video game characters and, to the best ability of the developer, actually make you feel like you’re the badass they are. I’m fairly certain that I will never be able to wall jump and summersault, while hitting two targets from mid air. But Sairento made a nice fraction of that dream come true.

Score:
10

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