Arashi: Castles of Sin Final Cut is a stealth, action-adventure, virtual reality title from developer Endeavor One and publisher Skydance Interactive. You take on the role of deadly assassin Kenshiro, setting out across feudal Japan in the hopes of defeating six terrorous bandit leaders who have devastated the lands for years.
With a total of five hour-long assassination missions, you must take down bandits from lofty rooftops, patches of tall grass, or go head-to-head in sword fights when detected. You’ll be equipped with a variety of weaponry — a samurai sword and bow being the main two — however, you are also given access to a grappling hook, shurikens, grenades, gas bombs, blow darts, and many more. The vast choice and open-ended levels allow you to pick and choose what to equip and where to go, either strategically planning your every move or allowing the heat of the moment to spur on your decisions. It’s an absolute blast whichever way you choose to play. At the end of each stage, you’ll come face to face with one of the six Shinobi in a boss battle, each one with a different gimmick switching up play slightly: there may be sticky tar covering the floor or statues that come to life. There’s lots of fun and unique ideas that keep things feeling fresh here.
The combat itself is basic block-and-swing swordplay with mostly accurate hit detection allowing for some enjoyable one-on-one bouts. The AI, however, has a very limited move set, attacking either high or low, horizontally or vertically, and you must block in the correct position and retaliate when your foe is stunned. It all becomes very predictable after just a handful of duels, and you’ll soon be opting for quick shuriken kills instead. Arguably the most entertaining part of combat is the wolf companion you're aided by, Haru, You can command it to distract guards by howling, pin a foe in place for an easy kill, or even dig up various collectibles.
Unfortunately, the beautiful feudal Japanese setting is let down by the poor quality of the visuals. Textures look last generation and models have noticeably rough edges everywhere you look, while open landscape views are just jagged grey mountains and pixelated foliage. The gorgeous story cutscenes are much better, though still suffer from the odd screen tear. Combined with your wolf companion disappearing or getting stuck on the environment and the occasional crash, it can be quite the infuriating experience.
Arashi: Castles of Sin Final Cut is a competent VR stealth sword-fighting action title with solid gameplay, gorgeous story cutscenes/setting, and an enjoyable array of weaponry that makes the open-ended levels a joy to complete. Unfortunately, its last-generation visuals, underwhelming AI, and occasional bugs and crashes cause this shinobi to stumble. With a little more time in training to learn some advanced moves, Arashi could have been a must-buy title.