Did you ever dream of becoming a ninja? Want to do superhuman like moves and take out enemies with guns or swords and do it all in VR? Then Sairento VR is the game for you.
Sairento VR has been in early access for a while, but it’s finally hitting a full release complete with a campaign mode. The developers were kind enough to send us a copy to check out and I have to say, their hard work has giving us a great VR game with some flaws that I’m sure the team can improve upon..
The game puts you in the shoes of a cyborg ninja who has the ability to do jumps, slides, and slow down time. Armed to the teeth, you face off against a cast of killer samurai with swords, guns, sniper rifles, and charging sumo wrestlers with the various boss characters thrown in.
Graphically, the game’s pretty stylish with a futuristic Asian setting and samurais that look like they came out of the movie Tron. It’s certainly one of the better looking VR games with some good attention to detail. All the weapons are modeled really well and the enemies like the charging sumo wrestler look very menacing. Along with the enemies, the environments have some good elements to them and I like some of the levels with its Asian influence mixed with technology.
So, it’s a tricky thing to try and allow you to move around the world like a super powered ninja. Sairento VR accomplishes this by a pseudo-teleport mechanic. Like many games, you use the right D-Pad to select where you want to move to. Now, depending on the arc of the movement, you’ll either jump or dash to the location. Low to the ground and you’ll do a dash movement. Arc it up a bit, and you’ll perform a jump. The game lets you do a double jump so throwing that into the mix, you can travel some pretty good distances without hitting the ground.
Not only can you jump high, but putting your movement cursor on an angled wall will let you do a wall run. Some levels will let you traverse areas this way and you’ll feel like a Ninja Warrior, running along before dropping down and taking out an enemy. You can even climb vertical walls by wall jumping up.
On a jump, you can crouch down a bit and perform a nice little powerslide. A little arrow in the bottom area of your vision will let you know when you will slide once you hit the ground, a nice visual indicator so you aren’t confused on why or why you didn’t perform a slide.
Combine all these movements and you can perform some pretty nifty moves. Once you get some practice in, you can move around the levels effortlessly and feel like a pretty bad-ass doing it. I can’t comment on if this is a comfortable form of movement since I have pretty good VR-legs, but it shouldn’t be too bad as it’s not full on locomotion that can affect some people.
Besides a health, there’s an action meter or chakra meter that lets you do special moves. One of the most used ones will be to slow down time. Just like in the Matrix, pressing the top button will cause everything to move slower and you can really set up shots or kills this way with added flair. As long as you have some chakra available, you can slow things down. You can also slow down time when holding down the movement button, which I took advantage a lot when playing. It helps me not panic when a few enemies are closing in and I want to make sure I jump to a safe position or setup a nice slide through them while cutting them in half with my sword.
As a ninja, you have access to all sorts of weapons. Swords and shurikens are naturally there, but you’ll also get the chance to equip a bow, shotgun, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, and more. One of my favorites is the glaive and yes, it is like the weapon from the movie Krull where you throw it out and have it return to your hand. It takes a bit getting used to, but lopping off heads with the glaive is pretty damn satisfying.
Each weapon has their own strengths and weaknesses. You’ll find your hand guns at each hip with your machine guns and swords on your back. It’s as as easy as reaching to a specific area and pressing the grip buttons to pick one up.
Swords can deflect bullets, slice through enemies, and perform a power slice through the air. You can dual wield sword, which is a ton of fun. You get a nice adrenaline rush when you dash through and enemy and slice them to pieces. Combine it with a powerslide and you can get some really nice stylish kills.
Handguns, rifles, and shotguns all rely on ammo, which the way the game is setup, will have you running out pretty quickly if you aren’t prudent. You can pick up more by killing enemies or finding chests, but it’s best to choose your shots carefully. The aim on the guns are pretty spot on and I really enjoyed leaping into the air, slowing down time, and burying a bunch of rounds into an enemy’s head.
Weapons can be upgraded with various relics, which can have one or multiple effects. You can increase a weapons’ reload speed or allow it to replenish some health when getting a kill. There are plenty of relics so you can really tailor your weapon’s special abilities to your play style.
Along with weapons having upgrading components, you have various armor pieces and each of those can be upgraded with relics. I like being able to customize my character with different abilities and I do change out depending on the level I’m heading into.
With the game coming out of Early Access, Sairento VR comes with a campaign mode that adds some narrative to the game. You get a basic story to play through, but the levels are mostly the same as those you find in the early access version of the game. I’m glad that the developers added a campaign aspect, but it does take some work.
For starters, I ran into a mission gate on the fifth level of the campaign. You have to play through a few generic mission levels before you proceed in the story. I don’t know why the developers thought this would be a good idea, but I don’t enjoy being locked out of a campaign just because I didn’t grind through some mission levels.
The presentation is mostly some voice overs and text, which is OK, but there needs to be some more work with the interface. I started out the first level of the campaign and the voice over told me to go pick up the guns. For the next five minutes, I went jumping around this medium sized area looking for some guns, only to find it on the ground which had nothing to make it stand out. The game has an arrow to point you to extraction points to end a level, but small indicators of objectives like this would have helped me not waste time.
Campaign levels are mostly clearing a room and then moving on to the next with the occasional panel interaction with a hover hand. Again, a small arrow to indicate where to go next after you clear out a room would have helped immensely as you can get turned around pretty easily while fighting and finding the doorway to the next part can be a little annoying. Yes, the doors have a small green light to let you know where to go next, but when you are far away it can take some time to locate.
And when you die, you start over in that level, which is by far the most annoying part of the campaign. The game’s pretty tough and you can easily die when a large group of enemies swarm you. I’ve had a few times where I fought through four rooms only to die and be put back at the beginning. A checkpoint system is sorely needed in campaign mode because I’ve actually quit a few times from the frustration of being oh so close and then be thrown back to the beginning.
The campaign seems pretty basic and the developers pushed this in for the release, but I feel a lot more work needs to be done to make it a complete experience.
You’ll also run into a few bugs, a few which are game breaking. I’ve a few times where I got stuck inside some solid object, not knowing how I got there, with no way to get out. I couldn’t even bring up the menu to quit to the main menu so I was forced to just quit the game entirely.
I also ran into a problem where my body was completely turned around. I looked down only to see my feet facing behind me while the upper half of my body facing the front. Yeah, I got a pretty good look at my butt while flying around in that game session.
One part of the game I was really looking forward to was co-op. Sairento VR’s UI to get into a co-op game is a tad confusing as it started me out in a different region and trying to find the button to change to my local region wasn’t very intuitive.
Once I got into a co-op game though, it was pretty fun to fight with a friend. Seeing another cyber ninja fly around, swinging swords and shooting guns was a blast. Because you have a friend with you, losing all your health isn’t the end of the level as there’s an opportunity for your partner to revive you. I didn’t run into any problems while playing cooperatively, and I can see myself playing this part more and more with friends.
From the looks of the menu, Sairento VR is going to support a lot of different technologies such as a smell with VAQSO and trackers for your legs as well. I can’t wait to be able to do a roundhouse kick to someone. It’s great to see that Mixed Realms is looking to incorporate more than just the HTC Vive into the game to try and make it a complete VR experience.
I really like the potential the Sairento VR has and there are a lot of features already in the game that make it fun to play. Just that feeling of moving smoothly about the level, unleashing bullets and blades to stylistically take out enemies can be a ton of fun. Bugs that break the game and a subpar campaign mode brings it down a little bit. Overall, if you want a fun melee shooter, Sairento VR is a good pickup. The dev team looks like they continue to update the game, so that’s good. It’s an enjoyable experience that can also give you a nice little workout allowing you to live out your ninja fantasies to your fullest.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.