Reborn: A Samurai Awakens was in development for a long time. It was announced way back in 2017 as part of the China Hero Project, and amazingly, it looks even worse now than it did back then. It comes from developer Geronimo Interactive, and I can almost guarantee you that the behind-the-scenes story of what went wrong in the development of this game would be more interesting than actually playing the game. This probably doesn’t surprise anyone, considering most of the VR fare coming from the China Hero Project has been at best, forgettable and at worst, outright bad. The lone exception being Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher.
Despite a tricky control scheme (that was thankfully patched), Immortal Legacy was quirky but surprisingly deep and fun. Reborn: A Samurai Awakens is a new low for the Chine Hero Project, and unfortunately I don’t have many good things to say about it. This brings me no pleasure, as I’m sure somebody worked hard on this, but it’s my job. So here goes…
Before I grab my gas can and spark up the lighter, I need to get the obvious stuff out of the way. Reborn is a PSVR game, so you’ll need the headset and a pair of Move controllers. I’m an optimist by nature so I’ll start with the positive: you can arm yourself with a blaster pistol or a laser sword in each hand. You can switch between the two and even mix and match. The problem is that neither of them works well. Like, at all.
The pistols feel weak and ineffectual. The laser swords actually feel pretty good, until you need to deal some damage. Wielding these swords in “battle” may be the most frustrating and least fun I’ve ever had in a video game. Swinging the swords doesn’t work. Instead, the only way to deal damage is once you accidentally parry your opponent’s attack; you simply hold out your arm and waggle the sword back and forth using only your wrist. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so ridiculously unfun to do.
The game does feature full locomotion, but all you’re doing is walking towards a spot that triggers waves of enemies. Once this starts you can’t move, because what says “samurai” like standing in one spot and waggling your sword like you’re swatting away a fly? Strangely enough, the weapons disappear from your hands while you’re walking. It was clearly just too much trouble to fix this.
Once you get into position, several different enemies will spawn and attack while you’re stuck in place. The first is some floating drones that fire lasers at you. You can destroy them with your pistols or deflect their shots back at them with your saber. This mechanic barely works but it’s probably the best this game gets. The very next enemy is a samurai that uses three canned attacks that you are supposed to deflect to allow you to return the favor. The problem is the parry technique seems to be completely random. I tried blocking these attacks hundreds of times and was only successful what felt like a quarter of the time. I assumed I was doing something wrong, but a technique that worked once wouldn’t work again for the next six or seven tries. Then, something else would work that didn’t work previously. Eventually, it got to the point where I just wanted the enemies to stop spawning so it would be over.
There are multiple levels, and they even introduce some additional enemies, but the combat never changes. There is one set of gun-toting enemies that manage to change it up a bit. They actually manage to walk almost directly behind you where, of course, the PSVR camera can’t track. Perfect.
I fought a couple of bosses that looked pretty cool. They were huge with some decent detail and managed to convey what facing a giant disgusting monster should be like in VR. But then you remember that the combat still only involves random blocking and waggling of your not-a-lightsaber.
I hate to have nothing good to say about a game, but there is honestly nothing good to say here. I genuinely find it hard to believe that the team behind this game thought this worked or would be fun. It doesn’t. It isn’t.
I was only able to put an hour and a half into Reborn: A Samurai Awakens before conceding defeat, so I wasn’t able to see everything it offers. Although, playing through two of the six levels here should award me some type of perseverance award. Combine the endless waves of boring and broken enemies clearly designed to artificially extend the playtime, the countless framerate drops, glitches, and crashes and you have a game that isn’t worth the cost. Hell, it isn’t worth any cost, and I am honestly surprised it passed Sony’s quality control to begin with.
Reborn: A Samurai Awakens PSVR Review
Overall - Crap - 2/10
Reborn: A Samurai Awakens is a bad game that misses every mark it was trying to hit. The enemies are boring and the combat is so bad, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. It is to be avoided at all cost.
- It has both laser swords
- and blasters
- Neither weapon is even remotely fun to use
- Combat is mind-numbingly repetitive and wildly unfun
- Buggy and prone to crash
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS4 Slim.