PlayStation VR is seeing quite the resurgence recently; it seems like every month in 2019 we’ve been treated to an excellent new game or experience to enjoy when we put on our headset. Sairento looks to continue that hot streak, and offers a short but sweet burst of ninja justice on PSVR.
Do you remember when you played the original Metal Gear Solid back in 1996 and first encountered the Cyborg Ninja cutting a bloody swathe through a corridor of armed guards? Sairento is the closest approximation of that, and good lord it’s fun. Playing as an enhanced ninja of a group called the Silent Ones, you’ll run, slash, and gun your way through enemies in their droves across the streets of a neon-lit Japan. A conspiracy runs deep within your clan, and you’ll uncover it one bloodstained mission at a time. All-in-all, Sairento’s plot is just the right shade of dark without feeling too oppressive, and despite the serious subject matter, the gameplay is easily the reason to blast through mission after mission in one sitting.
Sairento on PlayStation VR uses Move controllers exclusively, and with good reason. While movement leans on the “teleport” mechanic seen in any number of other VR action titles, this actually acts more as a jump. Your character can effortlessly throw themselves into the air or across long distances, even wall-running. This may sound nauseating, but in practice it quickly becomes second nature, and you’ll soon be chaining these moves into slides, dodges, and attacks.
Perhaps most enjoyably, the game's wide variety of weapons can be grabbed from your person with satisfying accuracy. Reaching down, you can grab your dual pistols, while reaching over your shoulder you can grab your twin swords. That’s not all, though -- along your journey you’ll find a bow and throwing glaives, all of which handle well after a brief adjustment period. Factor in the use of slow-motion, and you’ve got yourself a thrill-ride you’ll be happy to re-attempt every time you fall to an enemy mob.
Early levels may make you feel like a sort of slapstick comedy infused assassin as you stagger from walls to the ground, slash through an enemy, and then unload your weapons into nothing but thin air. However, the steep learning curve means that, once you're capable of doling out a balletic buffet of bullets, you’ll feel incredible doing so. You may even work up a sweat.
Sairento on PlayStation VR doesn’t offer the same high-resolution textures of its PC VR counterparts, and so environments can feel a little drab in places. Although, while you’re jumping from wall to wall, there’s little chance to stare at the scenery. Unfortunately, identikit enemies with basic AI seem to act solely as chance to show off your ninja prowess, although later levels do offer a lot more challenge.
Thankfully, once you’ve finished the five or so hour campaign, you can replay missions with a co-op buddy, and as with most things, it’s more fun with a friend. Wall-running in tandem or sniping a pair of targets from distance just feels right in VR.
Sairento on PlayStation VR may not be a big-name title, but it deserves to be. Excellent combat, unique movement mechanics, and a steep learning curve make it a must-play for anyone looking to unleash hell in VR.