Review – Sairento VR

My opening moments in Mixed Realms‘ Sairento VR left me disappointed. The early 2018 PC hit I had heard so much about seemed like a letdown. At least, that was my thought until I realized that I was playing the game entirely wrong. Sairento VR isn’t Superhot VR. It isn’t about moving the action around you or to simply get from point A to point B. It is about jumping into the action and getting from point A to point B with style!

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Looking good even on PSVR.

“Do not try to bend the spoon, that is impossible….” I very much felt like I was inside the Matrix, resisting what I don’t know because of everything I know. I was trying to bend Sairento VR into what I know, and like Neo, I took a beating early on. Instead, I had to realize the truth: that there is no “Game”. Then I saw that it was not the game that bends, but only myself.

Once I swallowed the red pill, the real game of Sairento VR opened up, and I realized how amazing it really was. In one fluid motion: wall running into a jump, slowing down time and shooting two enemies, landing in a slide, slicing through another guy before jumping out of range from other attackers. I was making fewer and fewer conscious decisions as a frantic, fluid, complex impulse took over and I was loving every second of it.

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You’ll all get a turn.

You play as a member an order of cyber ninjas, in a vivid sci-fi neo-Japan, named the Silent Ones. Sairento VR’s campaign is made up of about 10 missions where you try to figure out who or what has corrupted your former brothers. It is only a few hours long, but it serves to introduce you to the game’s combat system, which is a good thing. In the early stages, Sairento VR’s controls can be overwhelming, requiring repetition and practice to get them down, so instinct can take over.

Little is left unused on your PS Move controllers. While most games have you running, taking cover, aiming and shooting, Sairento VR has you looking, moving, teleporting, slowing time, jumping, sliding, aiming, shooting, reloading, unsheathing your blade, slicing, all requiring a different movement or button. A tutorial walks you through the concept of each action, but you can only perfect the combinations with a bit of practice. The learning curve can be steep, maybe too steep for some, and practice is absolutely required, but Sairento VR is at its best when it is all about fluidity and flow.

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More than one way to get “a head” in the game.

By the campaign’s end, presumably armed with an understanding of the gameplay and language, you will find that the game now opens up. A variety of modes like Purge, Assassination, Survival, Wave Assault and Elimination keep the game fresh, as does an influx of weapons to upgrade and equip your assassin with. Sairento VR truly feels like an RPG at times, as you mix and match which weapons you want for which maps and modes. You will be changing your layout and replaying levels in your search for that perfect run.

Sairento VR can have an overly steep learning curve and that can be a bit much to overcome for some, but it rewards you generously with an incredibly fun experience that few other titles are willing to bring. Graphically, it takes a slight hit going from PC to PSVR, but it is still gorgeous, and the designs are instantly recognizable. The game’s soundtrack is also a nice mix of past and future: hints of historical Japan mixed with futuristic sci-fi electronic beats.

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Who’s the shogun of Harlem?

Don’t let Sairento VR fool you early on or dissuade you with its steep learning curve. Let the campaign reshape you in just how you tackle it. Let go of this being a simple horde challenge and buy into it being a type of dance. A dance where you perform a 10-minute symphony of death, stringing together kills in a ballet, leaving corpses behind you in the most glorious of ways. My advice? Take the red pill.

 

Graphics: 8.0

Not as rich or smooth as its PCVR predecessor, but still gorgeous, with a vibrant mixture of classic Japanese and futuristic designs.

Gameplay: 9.0

I only knocked the score down a bit because the steep learning curve, which can scare some prospects away.

Sound: 8.5

Futuristic sci-fi beats mixed with hints of classical Japanese folk help fuel the off-the-wall, high-octane gameplay

Fun Factor: 10

Sairento VR keeps getting better and better the more you keep with ir, and the more you start to trust your instincts and reflexes.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Sairento is available now on PSVR and PCVR.

Reviewed on PlayStation VR.

A copy of Sairento VR was provided by the publisher.

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