Review – The Persistence (Switch)

The Persistence was originally released as a VR-exclusive title almost two years ago. When we first tackled it, we gave it a 8.5, praising its strong visual design and roguelike elements. We now have a non-VR version of the game out there, not only for the PS4, but also the Switch, which will be the platform we’ll be reviewing it in. Did it manage to make a successful transition?

The game is set inside a colony ship also named “The Persistence”. You play as a clone of an officer called Zimri Elder, who awakens one day only to see his malfunctioning ship being overrun with creatures. Zimri must repair crucial ship functions, stop the infected horde and figure out what has happened. It’s a similar setup to Dead Space, and it does its job just fine. Given how this is a roguelike, this is less of a proper plot and more of an excuse to explain its setting.

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The Persistence has a very sleek art style.

Given the game’s rogulike nature, this means death is just a natural way for you to improve your skills and equipment in order to attempt a better run next time. You will die a lot, but with the resources you gather, you can unlock permeant upgrades that you can take into different runs. Its best feature is within the suits with a variety of specific bonuses that cater to different playstyles.

The Persistence was originally developed with VR in mind, so I was wondering how well would it fare on the Switch’s hardware. This surprised me, as the game runs really well on such inferior hardware, surpassing all of my expectations. It managed to make a smooth transition to non-VR controls almost perfectly, with great button mapping. It just feels natural on a dual-stick controller setup. Aiming and interacting with the environment can take a few minutes to get used to, but it’ll quickly feel natural to you.

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One of the first things you’ll see is this beautiful Interstellar-esque black hole.

Sneaking around the Persistence colony ship is a genuine good time, as the game features a great sense of atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times. Scattered throughout each map are a number of fabricators that you can use to build lots of different weapons and gadgets, ranging from simple melee weapons to my personal favourite, the Valkyrie, a powerful harpoon-style gun that fires a high velocity bolt at your enemies, letting you maintain your stealth and take out enemies at a distance. You are also equipped with a useful shield that can block bullets and parry melee attacks, opening an opportunity for a takedown.

One of the biggest surprises is how well this version of the game runs on the Switch’s inferior hardware. The same strong environmental design present in the PSVR version is still here. The Persistence itself is great to look at with some great lighting and a shiny sci-fi aesthetic, even though the user interface just isn’t that good, where the VR roots become apparent. The overall performance is impressive, with the game running at 30fps roughly 90% of the time, with only a few occasional framerate hiccups, both in docked and handheld.

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Stem cells provide a great incentive to be stealthy.

The Switch version of The Persistence managed to exceed my expectations in every single way. Not only it’s a good proof that you can also port former VR games to a non-VR environment, but it’s also a fun horror-themed roguelike with great visuals and environmental design running pretty well on such underpowered hardware.

 

Graphics: 8.0

A succesful conversion to the Switch’s inferior hardware, with good visuals and a steady framerate, although the UI isn’t very good.

Gameplay: 9.0

I was initially sceptical of a VR game making its way to a more traditional input method, but it ended up working really well.

Sound: 8.0

Great sound design that enhances the overall horror experience.

Fun Factor: 8.5

The Persistence is a fun roguelike horror game with a great progression system and addictive gameplay loop, be it on docked or handheld modes.

Final Verdict: 8.5

The Persistence is available now on PC, Playstation 4 and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of The Persistence was provided by the publisher.

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