Cyborgs, Ninjas and virtual reality, sounds like a near perfect game if you ask me. Ever since I saw the trailer for Sairento I have been eagerly awaiting its release, it looked smooth, fast and like nothing else I had seen on PSVR to date. So I put my name down for the review, sat back, waited and here we are. Sit back, strap yourself in it's going to be a good one.
In this fast-paced title, you play Chieko and you are a cyber-ninja agent of the Sairento organization. The game is set in the high-tech future in the megacity of the Tokyo Cluster, 2066 AD. It's dark, gritty and you find yourself at the centre of a terrorist attack that leaves you broken and without support. You then trace the attacks back and slowly uncover a dark plot against you and your organization. The story is quite basic and the campaign is quite short but it does its job of giving you somewhere to start and get to grips with the game and its mechanics.
I will be honest with you, my first session and maybe even the first-day playing Sairento was hard work. I didn't really enjoy it and it was very slow going. There was a lot to take in and a technical control scheme to get to grips with. I could, however, see past my initial shortcomings and I knew that there was something lying beneath and I should persevere.
On my second day and a few hours into the game something started to click, I started to get good at the game and my enjoyment skyrocketed. I was pulling off silky smooth kills and with amazing style to boot. I had got to grips with the controls and the game just started to flow. It felt amazing, I was stuck in a technological action film and it was superb.
After you have completed the campaign there is a lot more game to play, you can try and build your ultimate assassin and keep improving your build to get better scores and find better items. There's multiplayer, challenges and single random missions which all add to your experience and loot pools. These serve as ways to upgrade your loadout and grind for skill points and relics.
Along with this, there are craftable items in your armoury, daily rewards and other bonuses to earn. Every time I booted up Sairento I was greeted with new things to do, new rewards to earn and spend in the armoury. You are constantly tweaking your character and it was always fun trying out new weapons, upgrades and adjusting the stats of your killing machine.
The actual gameplay of Sairento is something you should experience for yourself really, it's hard to explain but after an initial high learning curve, you are treated to something very engaging and extremely rewarding. The levels normally follow the same flow, kill all the enemies, even if the actual objectives are different. However, how you kill these enemies and the amazing manoeuvres you pull off while doing so is where the fun lies.
You can double jump, slide, wall run and slow down time. You can then use your myriad of weapons to slice and blast your way through numerous enemies in an orchestra of motion and at breakneck speed. When it starts to become second nature it becomes a lot of fun and deciding how to dispatch your foes is very addictive. It feels like a John Wick movie at times or like your trapped in the Matrix with Neo like powers. It's all very empowering.
I really liked the VR implementation in Sairento, after the initial steep learning curve, it all became natural. The tracking was very good and there is a wealth of comfort and control options to try. The game even supports the new foot rudder peripheral which changes the game completely and makes the controls much easier. The VR implementation is very good with zero VR 'messiness' and plenty of options for all players.
One of my only gripes with the game's controls was that sometimes, in the heat of battle, it was difficult to rotate or strafe while fighting. Don't get me wrong it was workable but took some doing. The 3D rudder peripheral removes all this by offloading all the motion controls to your feet leaving your hands for combat only. Strafing, rotating and moving were now easier and I was pulling off far more elaborate manoeuvres, dodging and floating around the stages with ease.
Graphically Sairento is a bit basic but in my opinion that's not really an issue. Yes it could look nicer but the gameplay more than makes up for it. The textures are rough in places and the low resolution of the PSVR headset amplifies this. I am only mentioning this for the review but I hardly noticed during all the kick-ass action and bouncing all over the place, chopping off cyborg heads.
Music-wise the Sairento is good, the soundtrack is decent and portrays a futuristic environment well. Its upbeat soundtrack really fits the action of the game and propels you through each stage. The sound effects and voice acting are also OK, nothing took me out of the game or broke the immersion and it all served its purpose admirably.
Sairento performed beautifully. I had zero issues with my time with the game. No crashes, gameplay bugs or graphical hitches whatsoever. Its a testament to the development and QA teams and it left me to really enjoy this fun ballet of death. I really enjoyed my time with the game and this was made even better because I had no technical issues to deal with or worry about.