After wowing PC virtual reality fans with its stylish all-out action last year, Sairento has now made its way to PlayStation VR to give console gamers a taste of its brutal sword-slicing and gun-blasting gameplay. It’s actually been one of my most anticipated titles on the platform for some time, so it’s great to finally get the chance to play it – I’m happy to report that it has lived up to the hype too, with the frantic action proving brilliant throughout and helping Sairento stand out as a spectacle for PlayStation VR gamers.
Basically, Sairento puts you in the role of a super cool futuristic-ninja that can leap around the environment with ease and dual-wield both swords and guns that can be used to tear apart any enemies that are out to get you. Neat, right? The combination of both makes for some of the most satisfying action I’ve seen in ANY game, let alone just virtual reality ones. I mean, who wouldn’t want to run across a building, jump off into a flip, blast away at enemies in slow-motion (that’s right – you can temporarily activate slow motion for extra style) as you fall down, before landing and beheading the enemy in front of you? It’s the sort of things you’ll get do a lot of in Sairento, and believe me, it never grows old.
As you can imagine, there’s a big emphasis on motion controls in Sairento, so you’ll need two Move controllers if you want to play the game. Movement can be done freely by pressing buttons to move forward or turn, though the most effective means of travelling is done by pointing at a location and jumping there. I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘teleportation’ style of travel in virtual reality games typically, but the fact that you leap to each spot (or hit a double jump if you prefer) and can then pull off slick manoeuvres as you’re doing it makes it all the more satisfying in Sairento.
However, there’s no denying that the controls can be a little fiddly and will take some getting used to. The action in Sairento is very quick-paced and enemies will come at you from all angles, so you’ve got to be on the ball if you want to avoid any incoming attacks or hit some of your own – doing this with two Move controllers where it can take time to quickly turn or leap in different directions can certainly feel awkward during your first hour or so playing the game. Thankfully, it doesn’t take too long to adjust, and with things like the quick 180-degree turn in place you should be slicing-and-dicing with ease in no time. Still, don’t be surprised to find yourself caught out on occasions, especially during some of the more hectic sequences.
One thing I do have to commend Sairento for is the sheer depth that’s gone into offering comfort options for the player. A lot of PlayStation VR titles give players the chance to alter their settings to make the experience as comfortable as possible, but Sairento really goes all out with it with by allowing the player to fine-tune just about everything including the likes of movement speed, vignettes, the changing of movement actions, and all sorts of other small details. It ensures both virtual reality newbies and veterans will get into the action with ease, which can only be seen as a good thing.
Using your weapons is pretty straight forward too, with the player using motion controls to slice out with their melee choices or aiming and pulling the trigger on their guns – it’s simple enough and something we’ve seen done well in plenty of other PlayStation VR releases. Whilst Sairento could’ve easily just offered a couple of swords and pistols as its weapons though, it instead goes all out with all different kinds of guns to use including the likes of pistols, shotguns, machine guns and sniper rifles, whilst there are a bunch of different melee types to use too. Best of all, you can actually improve these weapons as you progress through the game, whilst the fact that you can physically grab them from your holster or from behind you never stops feeling slick either. And believe me, actually using a combination of melee and ranged weapons together is ALWAYS satisfying, especially with all of the acrobatic manoeuvres you can pull off in between as you blast bullets at enemies, hit their projectiles away from you, and slice them in two.
The only flaw (if you can call it that) is that all of the weapons are unlocked from the get-go, so there’s no satisfying sense of progress as you unlock all new weapons to use. I know, I know, it’s a minor complaint, but given that a lot of the gameplay simply resorts to running, gunning, and slicing, it would’ve been nice to have new toys to play around with to add some variety as you hit those later levels.
That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty to progress through in the game mind, with a fun single player campaign on offer that features multiple difficulty levels. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours to get through, but it adds a bit of context to all of the killing and makes for an interesting little experience. Then there are the operations that offer you a variety of different scenarios, the ability to level up your character and improve their skills, daily challenges, and even an endless mode to take on wave upon wave of enemies. You won’t run out of things to do fast in Sairento, though the fact that it feels so good to play means that you’ll want to keep coming back for more anyway.
One of the neatest thing about Sairento is that you can play it in online multiplayer with friends, with both a two-versus-two competitive mode and co-op available to play. Now I haven’t had the chance to try this out properly yet given that there haven’t been players online (this review was written pre-release though so I expect that to change), but I am incredibly excited to give it a go. The action of Sairento is fast, relentless, and bloody brilliant, so taking on other players online should be incredibly addictive.
Visually, Sairento looks decent enough with the enemies and weapons all well designed, whilst the environments themselves are unique and certainly vibrant. However, some environmental textures could be a little sketchy, which is something you’ll notice when leaping around or running across walls. There’s never anything that’s outright ugly in the game and the fast pace means you won’t notice the flaws too much, but if you really stop and take the world in you’ll see that Sairento probably isn’t the prettiest game that’s available on PlayStation VR right now.
Sairento is bloody brilliant. Sure, the controls can take some getting used to and the visuals are nothing to write home about, but when you get caught up in the action and start slicing-and-dicing your foes whilst leaping around in slow-motion and blasting out headshots, it’s hard NOT to feel blown away by it all. Add to that the fact that there’s both competitive and co-operative multiplayer to sink your teeth into, and you’ll quickly find yourself losing hours on end with Sairento’s fantastic futuristic-ninja action.
Developer: Mixed Realms, Swag Soft
Publisher: Mixed Realms, Perp Games
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift