VR has been widely available for a few years now. Even though the hardware needed to experience it isn’t the most widespread, this hasn't stopped developers from jumping in and making some unique experiences. I do have to admit though, finding an actual VR game is kind of a rarity. Many experiences are just that: experiences, or glorified tech demos. This has slowly been shifting as the platforms mature, and today we are looking at one such title: Sairento VR (affiliate link)! Sairento VR launched in late 2018 on PC and made its way to PSVR earlier this year. Now the game has received a physical release on the PS4 and we were given a copy to check out!
Sairento VR has players assume the role of Chieko Hatsuri, a skilled Ninja of the Sairento Organization. The Sairento Organization has been responsible for numerous covert operations around the globe to help maintain peace and stability for Japan. One day as Chieko is heading to work, a massive terror attack rocks the Tokyo Cluster. Caught out in the open, Chieko must regroup and strike back at the attackers, all while uncovering their insidious plans.
What’s In The Box
Since Sairento VR is now available physically, let’s take a quick look at the box! It is your typical PS4/PSVR layout with the nice blue case. Center stage we have, who I am assuming to be, Chieko running along a wall while wielding a katana. Numerous glass shards are flying around the scene with a fire breaking out in the background. Overall I say the box-art looks pretty cool and conveys the game's action well. Since this is a VR game, the requirements for the Playstation VR headset, Move Controllers and Cameras are all noted. There is one problem with the front of this case however, and it is that the quote on the front is from Gaming Trend and not GameTyrant. Yeah, I think I’m funny.
On the back, we get a few snippets about the game and its prowess of being one of the most popular VR games in the world. Aspects of gameplay are also outlined such as combat, movement, and online co-op. Next to this, we have this cool image of one of the game's enemies in an awesome looking render. A trio of in-game screenshots follow and highlight the game's stylized graphics. One last accolade and quote follow but sadly, neither are from me once again. Everything else back here is your typical PS4 case fare.
Sairento VR can be played standing up or sitting down, depending on your preference. With how much you can potentially be swinging your arms around, I prefer standing. Movement in the game can happen in two different ways. By using the Move button on your off-hand PlayStation Move controller your character will begin walking wherever you are looking. You can also sprint by double tapping this button. This is a slower form of movement, so instead you will be using the jump mechanic a good portion of the time.
Jumping is a blast and is done by pressing the Move button on your primary PlayStation Move controller. As you hold the button a movement arc will appear, allowing you to place where your jump will go. Since you are an awesome Ninja, you can do a second jump while in midair! Jumping can also be used to execute a wall run to help you further navigate environments. Again, you are a Ninja, so you can use jumps to climb walls as the jumps reset whenever you touch a surface. Holding the jump button down can also slow time for a brief moment allowing you to land some cool slow-mo kills! Holding the Circle button on your primary hand can activate a similar effect.
Because of the limitations of the PSVR, it is hard to do full 360 degree turns and keep your Move controllers tracking properly. So instead of doing this, and messing up your weapon and movement control, the developers at Mixed Realms added in two rotation buttons mapped to the Square and Triangle buttons to turn you left and right respectively. It takes a minute to get used to but feels great once you do!
When you first start out Sairento VR, you are equipped with 2 pistols and 2 swords and will be switching between them as needed. To equip either weapon you will press the X button on your Move controllers next to the weapons. To equip your pistols, reach to your waist, and for your swords, reach over your shoulders. Mastering the basics of movement is key to success in Sairento VR. Combat can get intense and if you stand still you will be killed quickly. Using jumps and walking not only keep you from being an easy target, but also make combat a blast. The enemies you fight throughout Sairento VR are cyborg Ninjas with one crazy backstory. Play the game you will see what I mean! Anyway, jumping through the air and slashing at them with a sword is a total joy.
If you really want to have fun with the swordplay in Sairento VR, try to do a powerslide sword kill. This can be achieved by jumping in front of an enemy and pressing the Square button on your offhand Move controller as you land to start the slide. As you pass by the enemy just swing out with your swords! Different melee weapons can offer different variety to gameplay, as you can have normal swords and even a chained scythe you can throw and swing around. My personal favorite is the Plasma Blade as it lets me live out those lightsaber fantasies!
Gunplay feels great and the weapons include working iron sights for you to line up shots accurately. Pulling off long range headshots on unsuspecting opponents is very satisfying. To reload your weapons just give your Move controller a good shake or bring your weapon back to its equipped slot. There are a good number of guns available, from pistols to assault rifles, each offering a slightly different experience to use. For you long range fans there is even a sniper rifle in the game!
There is one last class of weapon available in Sairento VR known as projectile. This is where the typical Ninja weapons are found, like Kunai and Shurikens. There is also an awesome bow available that can double as a melee weapon if you get into a tight spot. I found myself bad at using most projectile weapons so I typically don’t use them. As expected, each weapon has different stats and handling. You can customize your loadout as you please from that original 2 pistol, 2 sword start. Find your favorites and have a blast!
Playing through levels will also net you relics you can equip to your armor or weapons for added benefits like increased XP gain or additional life. These relics come in a variety of rarities so the rarer the better! Leveling up your character will also unlock new skills to further enhance your gameplay experience. Gain additional jumps you can use or added melee and weapon damage. Each skill set is laid out on a 2 branched path for you to choose from.
There are a variety of game modes available in Sairento VR, including a 10 level campaign. Campaign was a total trip story wise so play it, the twists were awesome! After you are done with the main story the action can continue in a variety of challenge maps that throw you right into the action. If you have any friends that have an additional copy of Sairento VR, a co-op mode is also available that allows you both to take on foes together. Sadly I don’t currently have PS-Plus to use this feature. A number of difficulty levels are selectable for each mode, so if you feel the game becoming too simple, you can ramp that sucker up!
Sairento VR looks great in motion. The graphics are heavily stylized and look really nice with lots of bright colors. I have also really liked each of the weapon models in use and enemies are very cool looking. It isn’t the most detailed game ever, but it gets the job done for what it is trying to do. One thing I will note is that there is a fair amount of aliasing on my base PS4 system that makes reading the menus harder from a distance. If you focus on it enough you will also see it in the gameplay and environments, but once you get into the rhythm it will barely register.
Audio work is solid with good sound effects for weapons and attacks all accompanied by a soundtrack that fits the game's tone well.
What It Could Have Done Better
I have one minor complaint when it comes to Sairento VR, and that is the amount of time you spend on loading screens. The campaign missions are fairly short so you spend a bit of time in a loading screen before and after each mission. The challenge maps have a bit more length but you are still plagued by loads.
Despite the minor inconvenience in load times, Sairento VR (affiliate link) is one of the best VR games I have ever played. Fun combat, a good number of weapons and plenty of unlockable modifiers can keep players happy for a good number of hours. Let’s also not forget the full campaign that provided a number of “holy crap” moments as you uncover its mysteries! If you own a PSVR, Sairento VR is a must own game for the platform and one of the best. I am glad that Mixed Realms and publisher Perp Games were able to give this game the physical release it deserves. Check it out today!