Samurai Sword VR (PC) Review

By Greg Giddens 05.02.2017

Review for Samurai Sword VR on PC

Virtual reality was supposed to be the 'next big thing' many moons ago, but as Nintendo showed with the failure of its Virtual Boy, sadly the technology was not ready for mainstream consumption, despite what Lawnmower Man may have had people believe. Now VR is back and in a big way, but again, so far the experiences on offer have been somewhat lacklustre, with only a handful being worthwhile checking out, and Resident Evil 7 being the current benchmark. Along comes Samurai Sword VR, compatible with the HTC Vive, but does it manage to slash the competition, or is it more of a dull blade?

There's not much to Samurai Sword VR. Swinging a katana and throwing shuriken and kunai at a whole host of Japanese-inspired objects is very much the order of the day. The objective is to score big and place high on the online leaderboards. This can be a fun and compelling pursuit; that feeling that you can do better next try and that it's worth one more go can maintain interest for many joyous hours of play. Here, however, some issues with hit detection, variety and amount of content, hurts what could have been a much more enjoyable title.

Screenshot for Samurai Sword VR on PC

Seven short stages stipulate the challenge to slice and dice all objects placed on a path. The camera will gradually be moving forwards, explained away by adorning a horse, a boat, or simply because the character is walking. It's at a pace that can initially challenge your sense of balance but is easy enough to adapt to. Fortunately, as players will be dealing with objects in front and to the side, a seated position works just as well and can avoid those awkward falls that threaten to damage the hugely expensive VR headset.

Paper lanterns, siege racks, bamboo, arrows, stretched cloth, and disembodied samurai heads are but a few of the objects that need dealing with on each stage. Scoring high is not simply a matter of slicing them up with a katana or hitting these objects with a shuriken or kunai, yet multiple hits and slices will grant a higher score. Unfortunately, this turns Samurai Sword into an arm flailing chore rather than a test of skill or finesse, making the score chasing less structured and carefully planned, and more chaotic and determined by luck. It's a poor choice of mechanic that quickly undoes a lot of the fun.

Screenshot for Samurai Sword VR on PC

Now, that's not to say it's devoid of fun; deftly slicing the fuse of a bomb that's about to explode or deflecting an incoming arrow invokes a feeling of awesomeness that's hard to deny. However, just as the flow of flailing and occasionally dissecting the objects in the way begins to take hold, obvious problems with hit detection, where missing for no logical reason at all occurs, can utterly destroy the immersion.

The stages do offer slightly different locations, yet they all boil down to narrow corridors of similar design. The variety is disappointing, and although the quantity of objects to slash in each stage increases, and sometimes they will come flying at you to mix things up, each stage still feels very much the same. What doesn't help is the basic lighting, simple and bright colour palette, and low detailed textures. If it wasn't for the increase in activity on each stage, and the different object layout, it would be tricky to tell them apart.

Screenshot for Samurai Sword VR on PC

Two bonus stages, one dedicated to shuriken throwing and the other kunai, offer targets to hit from a stationary position. It's a nice change to the main stages but it's ultimately just as shallow. Additionally, the throwing mechanic is a little off. The Vive wands act as your hands and forearms allowing for digitally picking up the small selection of weapons, but chucking the projectiles, especially the shuriken, is inaccurate. With the flailing, lack of content, and poor variety piling on, Samurai Sword VR's fun factor ends up being fleeting, and the compulsion to keep playing and master those leaderboards isn't strong enough to give the title any longevity.

Screenshot for Samurai Sword VR on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Samurai Sword VR's arcade-style katana swinging and shuriken/kunai throwing is a bit too clumsy and chaotic, requiring less skill and more frantic flailing to succeed. Sure, this can be fun, but ultimately only for a short time. There's simply not enough variety, or accuracy to the hit detection, to make this a title that demands replayability, despite the pull of online leaderboards and the otherwise highly accessible VR on-rails action.

Developer

SAT-BOX

Publisher

Degica

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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