It’s usually the case that prior to Christmas all the major videogames come out to see players through the festive period, like Fallout 4 VR, with January tending to see a lull in big name releases. This can be a good time for smaller indie developers to launch their projects, especially if they’ve been garnering support and building a community through initiatives like Steam Early Access. This is what Mixed Realms has gone for with its first-person shooter (FPS) Sairento VR. Obviously that’s no guarantee of success, to help that along the studio needs to have made a solid experience and Sairento VR does just that.
While Sairento VR maybe an FPS, at its core this is a ninja videogame for HTC Vive (reviewed) and Oculus Rift. If you enjoyed titles like Shinobi or Ninja Gaiden but wanted the experience to be even more immersive then Sairento VR is going to be right up your street.
All ninjas need to be athletic, fast and highly manoeuvrable, able to seemingly defy gravity with their wall runs whilst taking out enemies with a well-placed shuriken. Yet, to create a virtual reality (VR) experience where you can do this and more may seem complete folly, inducing nausea in players almost instantly. Well whatever magical powers Mixed Realms has used has worked, because not only can you wall run, double jump, and hop around a level like human sized bouncy ball, you’ll enjoy every minute being a master assassin.
Sairento VR employs teleportation as its main source of movement and through it you unlock a bevy of additional mechanics to utilise as the situation is needed. So a short teleport will result in a dash – great for slicing straight into enemies – whilst moving a greater distance will make you leap where you can then add in a secondary jump to a higher ledge or a quick wall run. Time everything right along with liberal use of the slow-motion button and cutting down groups of enemies becomes child’s play with the assortment of weaponry you have to hand.
Talking of the armory. Going into battle you’ll find yourself equipped with dual pistols, two Katana blades as well as a sub-machine gun just in case. All of which is easy to access from either your hips, shoulders or back respectively. As you progress through the videogame you’ll unlock more guns and upgrades to change your strategy and preferences, with shotguns, rifles and more all becoming available.
And that’s one thing Sairento VR has in droves, options, options, and more options. The main settings menu lets you alter all sorts, from how the guns reload to whether one of the control pads gives you free locomotion. Then there are the Skills, upgrades that enhance your character with more health, greater damage and additional jumps and so on. There’s such a wealth of extras that it can be almost dizzying, yet it’s certainly a welcome sight to see.
Then there are the gameplay modes, with a standard story-driven campaign, individual missions where you can select what type of change awaits and a multiplayer to add some friends into the mix. All of which should provide hours and hours worth of gameplay.
It’s not all perfect however. While there’s plenty of variety in some parts of the title it’s lacking in others. Enemies do tend to come in a few core flavours which are then repeated over and over again, making it easy to learn their patterns and moves. The AI does suffer from that age old videogame mechanic of seeing you and rushing straight forward, so with the movement options available getting out the way isn’t too difficult at all. The same can be said for the environments as well, endless futuristic cityscapes that at points barely differ from one another.
In the end though it all comes down to how much time and enjoyment you’ll get out of Sairento VR and rest assured it’ll be plenty. If Mixed Realms hadn’t managed to nail down the movement system then Sairento VR could’ve been just another FPS with a myriad of options. Instead, Sairento VR is one of the best free flowing combat titles available for VR headsets, showcasing how far development of VR locomotion has come.