Title: Sairento VR: Untethered
Developer: Mixed Realms Pte Ltd
Publisher: Mixed Realms Pte Ltd
Genre: Action, Arcade, Shooter
Platform: Oculus Quest
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 27.06.2019
Price: £14.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
How intense can a VR game feel? Sairento challenges this question. It combines the fast, arena-based FPS action and flow-like state that DOOM but provides you with the progression, incentives and themes of Warframe. Sairento filled that looter-shooter shaped gap in my Quest library – but at the cost of a lot of content left on the cutting room floor, the real question is:, is this downgraded port worth the jump?
Sairento puts you into the shoes of a cyber-punk Ninja, but this isn’t very clear in Untethered. The Quest port actually gets rid of the main-story campaign, which might be a small price to pay for mission-based arena shooting, but when I first loaded the game and made my way through the tutorial I was left with a couple of major questions – what am I actually doing? Who am I? What is the context of this game? I wish that some exposition would have been given as jumping right into a massive menu with clunky and confusing AI with absolutely no idea what I was doing was a muddling first impression.
Sairento VR: Untethered’s controls are snappy and intuitive. Playing for a long time really puts you into a flow-like state, something that few VR experiences have elicited from me in the past. As you play you’ll be running, jumping, backflipping and sliding your way across many different maps that really feel like they were made for full 360 wireless VR. It’s a level of immersion I don’t find in many other games, especially in games that require such intense physical activity and full attention. Because this game and its missions were so strenuous and demanding, I never found myself wanting to ‘play a quick mission’, I always had to set aside time as I needed a full, open playing area and to be ready for quick actions and head turns. What i’m getting at is that this isn’t your casual ‘one-round-before-bed’ kind of game.
From the start, Sairento equips you with a full arsenal of weapons. Aside from a couple paid DLC add-ons, there are a multitude of weapons and categories already unlocked allowing you to build your desired load-out as soon as you start playing the game. The game’s diversity in gameplay doesn’t come from building the most OP loadout with the most powerful guns but more-so allows the player to challenge themselves by building themed load-outs, farming to upgrade and level up weapons to get your favourite load-out to its maximum potential in difficulty. It’s this self-appointed challenge aspect of Sairento that to some, might stray them away but to others, draws them in. It allows people to play how they want – to give them freedom in how they tackle certain situations.
The truth is, Sairento Untethered is an arcade shooter. You’re given assignments of varying difficulty and it is your job to clear waves, survive and assassinate hoards of enemies and bosses. There is an online multiplayer mode but this isn’t PvP, instead its co-op PvE and furthermore the entire time I played the game the maximum number of players I witnessed online was 2. That includes myself. Needless to say, you will probably never touch the online multiplayer as it is completely dead. Besides from that disappointment, overall I found myself enjoying the gameplay loop as the progression was heavily inspired by looter shooters like Warframe and Borderlands.
As you complete missions you gain Relics – upgrades for your weapons. These incentives pushed me to keep playing, however as I played I got more weary of Sairento’s lack of identity within its loot system. It feels like a F2P model, there are free loot-boxes as well as premium and different currencies and whilst this type of separation can be helpful for grinding, I just found myself being bored and overwhelmed when I had to manage currencies, sell items and buy new items with absolutely no idea about the ‘weight’ that these currencies held.
After missions, Sairento VR gives XP for you and your weapons. Levelling up weapons gives them modifiers such as damage or aim assist boosts and levelling up yourself gives you skill points which you can assign into skill trees to further personalise your gameplay. Enjoy using Assault Rifles over Shotguns? You can modify your gameplay style in correspondence to that.
In the end, the only reason to keep playing Sairento after trying all the weapons is to experiment. To self-appoint challenges and achieve them in your own time and way. Sairento rarely sets goals aside from a few daily challenges that award you with a loot-box or two, but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that as deep as Sairento appears to reward players for progression, it is shallow and boring unless you strive for your own personal goals. It can be fun to make a separate load-out for a big tank, a heavily equipped soldier or a mobile ninja, but once you’ve played them once, there is no real point to play them again unless you strive to beat your own scores and records.
In some ways, I enjoyed Sairento’s blend of FPS arcade fun. I could see the inspiration and I could see the gameplay’s appeal and point, but it was after trying basically everything that the game had to offer in only a few hours that I understood the sacrifices that the developers had to make in order to offer full 360 wireless movement on the Quest. It’s a well-made game – it’s controls and premise are well executed and offer a unique and fun experience in VR. If you like DOOM and/or any type of looter-shooter you’ll be well adjusted to Sairento’s gameplay loop, just be careful as to not throw up whilst doing a backflip.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Sairento VR from the Oculus Quest store