Sairento VR has been kicking around on Steam for a few months now and it’s slowly amassed a following of dedicated fans. The premise is simple: you’re a badass cybernetic ninja that can slow down time, chop up bad guys with cool swords, deflect bullets, and gun down foes all while feeling super cool and stylish. If that sounds similar to Raw Data, that’s because it has a lot of surface-level similarities, but actually feels very different while you’re playing.
There’s slow-motion bullet-time elements, I can shoot enemies with a variety of guns, leap through the air and slice them with my sword, and generally do a ton of different things that I could never dream of doing in real life. In this way, Sairento VR is a bit of a power fantasy for fans of high-flying action movies; which was, unsurprisingly, exactly the point.
“Our goal was to let players experience the iconic “bullet-time” scenes from The Matrix, blended with the slow-motion mayhem of the Max Payne game series, all while looking and feeling as badass as the Bride from Kill Bill. We were also heavily inspired by the cyber punk theme in Ghost In The Shell,” said Aldric Change, CEO of Mixed Realms, the creators of Sairento VR. “We did this by giving players a daring range of moves not seen in most other VR games. For example, in Sairento VR you can perform a massive leap into the air, do a double jump to elevate yourself even more, slow time down, shoot down a couple of enemies, before landing in front of another to cut him down.”
In a way, it’s remarkable that the game has maintained popularity despite its seemingly perfect recipe for motion sickness. While Raw Data, one of the closest comparisons that people make, includes a sprint-based teleportation movement system, it’s intensity mostly stops there. You can’t exactly leap and flip through the air in other experiences. Most VR games don’t even approach those levels of movement.
“In offering such a daring set of moves, we know that motion sickness is one of the key concerns when it comes to VR experiences, so we address it by providing as many locomotion options as possible,” explained Chang. “For those with strong VR legs, we have touchpad locomotion, jumps, and wall-runs. For the more sensitive players, there is teleportation after fading to black, and the option to disable motion blur. But at the end of the day, the core experience of being a ninja is unchanged.”
Since Sairento VR released in Early Access in late 2016 on Steam it’s received steady updates. Currently you can not only do all of the things Chang mentioned, but you can also run on walls, slide across the floor, and move through the environment using touchpad locomotion instead of just teleportation jumping. It’s slowly been expanding and the team intends to keep adding into it in the coming months.
In just a few weeks around the middle of May, Chang says they are planning for a “midterm” update that will offer improved A.I., a new enemy, better visuals, two new locations, new difficulty options, dismemberment effects, and other general improvements.
Dismemberment, as grotesque as it sounds, will be a welcomed addition. When I’m slicing up an enemy and they just fall over, it feels like a bit of the payoff isn’t there. Years of video games and R-rated action movies have taught me that if I’m a super-powered ninja, I should bee able to cut human bodies into tiny pieces.
Following that update, around August or September, Chang is expecting the game to be ready for a “full launch” outside of Early Access.
“Players can expect [a] multiplayer component where players can fight alongside each other, more enemy types, brand new locations, an expanded arsenal of weapons, a full original soundtrack, and a storyline to string the game events together and to bring continuity to the Sairento universe for future sequels, plus more,” said Chang. “Before we embarked on making our game, we extensively played and studied what other VR games were offering players. Although some of them were fun, we felt that many VR games did not fully utilize the advantages of being in a medium like VR. The sense of freedom in movement that virtual reality can empower players with is usually not seen. So when we made Sairento VR, we wanted to make players feel like a real action superstar.”
If leaping through the air in slow motion, running on walls, slicing up enemies, and dodging bullets sounds like a good time to you, then you can check out Sairento VR on Steam at the price point of $24.99. It features official support for both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and it does of course require motion controllers.