“A competitive sports game is coming out for the PSVR? Surely my favorite writer, Kyle Durant, at my favorite site, Pure PlayStation, will be the one reviewing this?”
Why yes, random internet person I’m one hundred percent sure definitely exists. In fact, I badgered Horizon Zero Dawn hater Chris Harding about being the person to review Sprint Vector. The title immediately captured my attention at last year’s PlayStation Experience. A parkour racing game with powerups in the vein of Jet Set Radio would make anyone giddy, VR game or not. So after getting over my jealousy of the Vive and Rift community receiving Sprint Vector first, I dove right in when the copy came through. However, I wasn’t expecting this game to provide the hardest body workout since college. I currently cannot move my upper body without wincing.
Essentially, Sprint Vector is a fast-paced, parkour, racing game on skates. You’ll be zooming through courses and obstacles while jumping, finding shortcuts, rail sliding, drifting, gliding, climbing, and moving your body in tandem with these actions. There are also power-ups to acquire and use on your opponents. So you could say this is a combat racing game too. Most importantly, Sprint Vector is a ton of fun and truly makes you feel like you’re a badass skater in a well designed racing experience. It recreated feelings of racer joy I’ve only known playing the old Burnout and Arctic Thunder games. Plus, it captured the competitive athlete in me and never let go.
For the most part the buttons and controls are innovative and full of ingenuity. Gathering speed and actual in-game movement requires one to physically swing their arms at the risk of looking like a broken ragdoll to onlookers. With a Move controller in each hand, you need to hold down the trigger while you stretch your arm forward and release it mid-swing down at your side. Just like you would pump your arms while running. This will achieve basic movement and acceleration. By performing the same exact motion with both arms and holding down the Move button instead, you’ll jump up in the air based on your hang time and the speed you accumulated. Your turning is a bit simpler as you only have to face the direction you want to go. Now comes my favorite part. Once high in the sky you can actually hold down the triggers, put your arms out in front of you like a superhero, and glide. Not only that but you can also fall with style by turning your hands like they were on a wheel. I can’t accurately describe to you how awesome this feels in practice and how much I lost myself in the act of racing.
In case you want to up your skill once you’ve mastered puny basic techniques, there’s a whole lot of advanced maneuvers awaiting you. Your gloves can shoot a projectile that can destroy objects or open secret pathways, arcade power-ups can be activated by aiming and double tapping the trigger, drifting is performed by holding a Move controller on your hip facing away from your body, and there’s even boost trails that can be grabbed onto. Weirdly, I found a satisfaction in the climbing mechanics. When you approach a green wall you can actually grab onto the ledges and hang. Then hoist yourself up by quickly swinging your arms down which sends you flying up and over what was blocking your path. Once again the ingenuity here needs to be seen and experienced to be believed. What could have been a simple but fun racer was made into a complex Iron Man-like challenge instead. Sprint Vector is all the more better for it and I fully expect this game to go places on controls alone.
The title boasts twelve different, offline races to compete in against other A.I. racers. Each track will offer up to four stars to earn and most will take 2-4 minutes to complete. First and foremost, the maps are expertly designed. There will be plenty of jumps, turns, obstacles, and paths to take that offer more than just racing through a level. Additionally, a handful of maps are tiered where there will be a bottom, middle, and top path to traverse. I’m still finding new routes to travel albeit some of them are difficult to appropriately pull off. Now these twelve tracks aren’t entirely different as the same location is used plenty of times. Some of tracks will be reversed from the first time you raced on them or complete new areas entirely. Still it was changed up enough to keep much enjoyment in the playtime.
There’s also a challenge mode to complete that basically acts like a time trial or collection course as fast as you can. There’s a bit more of these than there are offline races and I am currently making my way through them now. They are by no means easy, but they keep the fun factor intact. Lastly, the online multiplayer where you actually go crazy skating against other people. I can’t wait to try this when Sprint Vector goes live on Tuesday. I already know here is where I’ll make some wonderful memories in my entire history of gaming. Unfortunately, my fellow reviewers were never on and attempting to connect to a lobby when I was. There’s no indication though that multiplayer racing will be any different from the offline portion or that the adrenaline pumping movement and smooth framerate will disappear.
Now I wanted to give this game a higher score than what you see below. Believe me I really did due to the fun factor alone. Sadly, there are some minor game breaking problems that occurred more than I’d like to admit, but not nearly enough to ruin my time with Sprint Vector. For whatever reason my camera could never pick up the Move controller down at my hip when I tried drifting. Probably because I’m a tall person if I’m being honest. To compensate my quick turning situation, I actually move my entire body in the direction of the track. While this works and I will continue doing so at the moment, sometimes I end up one hundred and eighty degrees away from my TV. Here problems can happen. The game registers that I’m technically backwards from my starting position and occasionally I’ll start to skate backwards when I’m in this situation. In a fast paced race this could break any chance you had at winning. The last “big” problem I encountered was a sudden shift or jolt in my characters movement to one side. Out of nowhere I would be flung to the right or left when performing the skating actions normally. This has only cost me two races so far, but man this was annoying to deal with at any time.
Sprint Vector PSVR Review
Sprint Vector is another evolution for virtual reality. Actually performing skate-like motions in a competitive VR racer shouldn’t be this fun. Like I don’t think normal racing is this fun. Granted there’s no huge jumps, gliding, or witty announcer commentary in standard skate racing. Point is that Sprint Vector is a blast to play even if the idea of rollerblades don’t speak to you. The maps, the gameplay, the controls, and the fun are some of the finest the PSVR will ever see. You’ll be hard pressed to find an experience like this where actual muscle soreness can take a back seat to your enjoyment.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.