The second Playstation VR game by Survios is called Sprint Vector and it was just released alongside its Steam version. Their first game (Raw Data) did extremely well, so will Sprint Vector follow in its footsteps?
I didn’t personally play Raw Data when it came out because it took a while for it to reach Playstation VR, but I did take note of the critical acclaim it received. I was fully expecting Survios to refine the shooter genre further with their next game, so I was surprised when Sprint Vector was announced and it turned out to be very different. My surprise was even greater when I learned that it was actually a high speed, adrenaline-filled sprinting and jumping game. I remember thinking “that doesn’t work in VR, right?’. Turns out, it does.
Sprint Vector plays out like a futuristic game show in which adrenaline is the name of the game – a bit like “Run the Gauntlet” or “The Running Man” for those who were alive in the eighties or Wipeout for younger audiences. Oddly enough, Sprint Vector combines the athleticism of the TV show Wipeout with the breakneck speeds of the videogame that goes by the same name. Witty narration comes courtesy of “Mr. Entertainment”, in an over the top manner befitting of the game shows of the future like we see them depicted in popular culture. You, of course, are one of the contestants – traversing the game’s dozen race courses on sci-fi roller blades.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Sprint Vector for me was how physical this game turned out to be. It’s not just your character who skates through courses why sliding on rails, drifting around corners or even hoisting yourself up and over obstacles – you have to be very much physically engaged with this game. Picking up speed is done by moving your arms back and forth, nordic walking-style (your arms alternate). Move both arms back together while holding the Move button and you’ll launch yourself into the air for a massive jump. Then, let go of the Move buttons, pull down both triggers and push the controllers out forward – you’ll go into glide mode, like a regular Superman.
Amazingly enough, those are just the most basic of moves in this game. You can drift around corners, grab and use power-ups, shoot at targets to open up shortcuts or other passages, and hinder your opponents Mario Kart-style. Survios is stretching the Move controllers to their limits with Sprint Vector, and it shows. I had a little tracking trouble with certain motions and I reset my camera to a higher level just so it could pick up all of my motions, but many of my initial troubles vanished after I had found the sweet spot in terms of positioning and lighting.
Course design is excellent, especially once you get the hang of the basic controls and venture out by trying to find alternate routes. Some of these involve a ton of vertical movement, which creates a sense of spatial awareness that can really only be achieved in VR – opponents can be racing not just in front or behind you, but also above or below you. You get a dozen tracks, but some of them repeat backdrops and/or courses by making you traverse them in the opposite direction. This hurts the diversity in terms of content, but luckily there are nine challenge courses for you to tackle as well – all them of very much skill-based.
Sprint Vector is a game that brings out your competitive nature like few VR games do. This is true in single player (offline) mode, but especially so when playing online against others. Combine that with the physically intense control method and you’re looking at a game where it doesn’t take long to break a sweat. In that sense, Sprint Vector evoked memories of Sparc for me – but Sprint Vector is a far more dynamic and fun game to play.
I can definitely recommend Sprint Vector to anyone who owns a Playstation VR headset and a pair of Move controllers. People who’d rather stay stationary or seated while playing would be smart to stay away though, as this is probably the most “athletic” VR title I’ve played so far. The game’s visuals, especially in stills, aren’t anything special, but that’s the price we have to pay for some of the most fluid and dynamic VR games available right now.