Stealth, shadows, loyalty, respect, and honor were all important in Feudal Japan. It was a time of being a warrior meant more. It was the life of the warrior that some could look up to and that some would fear. When you look at that life, it became this poetic art in a way that has helped make legends from the stories that have been told. But does developer, Endeavor One and publisher Skydance Interactive along with ForwardXP, bring something new to the blade of the warrior? Let’s find out with Arashi: Castles of Sin – Final Cut for PlayStation VR2.
In Arashi: Castles of Sin – Final Cut, you will take on the role of the deadly assassin Kenshiro as you travel across feudal Japan to defeat the Six Oni of Iga, a bandit group spreading chaos across the land. Through a wide variety of weapons, tools, and techniques, you’ll infiltrate conquered castles and outwit your enemies as you hunt down each Oni. But before becoming one with the ninja, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, you will need some arm-length space. You will be blocking and striking throughout the game which means you will want to make sure there is nothing possible you can hit or anyone, including pets that could become injured as a result of your ninja skills. Second, if you are going to play seated, make sure you are as comfortable as can be with your favorite place to sit. Third, make sure those Sense controllers are charged. You don’t want to face an Oni only to have it game over because you forgot to charge them. And finally, just have some fun. With that said, let’s continue…
Back in 2021, Arashi: Castles of Sin was released on various platforms including PlayStation VR which I reviewed here. So I thought how else could I do this review without saying the same thing I did in the review? In playing, I have to say one of the things that I hoped would be received for this game was a graphical upgrade and Endeavor One delivered. From the title screen, I could automatically tell the difference. From the light particles of the lanterns that helped lead up the stairs to the sky to even how clear the music sounded, I was happy with how well things have turned out.
But one of the things before you start playing is that you will want to go into the settings. Depending on how well you are accustomed to Virtual Reality, you will want to adjust your turning type. Once you start, you are welcomed with instructions to let you know that now would be a good time to reset or recalibrate your VR headset. Next, is the movement. And I will say that playing from using the Move controllers to now the Sense controllers is night and day. Once you have everything it is time to start. From the opening dialog, keep in mind that only the subtitles are in English. You can skip the cinematics if you desire, but you will miss out on the story and the beautiful art.
If you have never played Arashi: Castles of Sin before, you do have your wolf companion, Haru. From playing catch to petting to even attacking when needed, Haru is more like your best friend.
But as you move from castle to castle to defeat each one of the Oni, you will notice that the objective is very simple, get to point A to point B either by avoiding the enemies by using stealth in the shadows either on or above the ground, or by taking on the enemies straight on. I mean, you do have some great weapons here and as you progress, objects that you discover will become available for you to use. From your blade which you will need to use to block attacks before you can strike to even your bow, which doesn’t require much accuracy, but I could feel some tension thanks to the haptics which added to the overall better experience on PlayStation VR2. Being able to hit enemies and even lanterns to help kill off any light so you sneak around more easily, felt smooth with every arrow I fired. But remember, you do have your best friend Haru, when summoning them and then looking at your target, you can send Haru to attack which makes killing that enemy much easier. I will also say that throwing stars and bombs felt good and for the most part landed where they should have.
Of course, if you do have the skill to make it to fight the different Oni, then it may take a few attempts so you can see how to defeat them as each one has a different strategy about them to defeat them.
In between your battles, you do have the option to equip your weapons. But before you move on, take a moment to look at your trophy collection as the amount of detail that has been put into each figure is quite fantastic.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Graphically, from the PlayStation VR version to now the PlayStation VR2 version, it seems that Endeavor One has done an eye-catching job with the graphical upgrade for most parts. Enemies and the atmosphere look better than they have and there is just something about walking around at night and seeing how the different ways that lights are being used. Seeing how the moon is bright and the lights of the lanterns just reflect the shadows of everything around them, it just had me step back and take it all in. And that’s due to the PlayStation VR2 visual capabilities and the HonsVR lenses that when combined are just eye candy for the eyes. With the sound you get the beautiful music of Japan, the moving of the weapons, and even the dialogue that comes in very clearly and helps complete the immersion.
There are a few things that I would love to see. First, some weight on the weapons. Each weapon looked and sounded as they should, but they all felt like they had the same weight to them. It would be nice to see this added even if it was just a little bit of an adjustment. Secondly, fine-tuning of the graphics. Don’t get me wrong, again the graphics are beautiful, but it seems that with Haru, for example, getting up close does seem a tad blurry. It would be interesting to see what could be done if a new patch came out given the power of PlayStation VR2. Third, more use of the haptics. For example, it would be fun to feel when you using the grappling gun and other weapons. Fourth, free upgrade to the PlayStation VR2 version for those who own the original version of PlayStation VR.And finally, more of the Ashanti universe in the future.
Arashi: Castle of Sin – Final Cut still gives us the art, style, and dedication of stealth action set in feudal Japan, but with a much improved look while not forgetting its roots. Sometimes we rush through life not realizing what we pass up while doing so. Sometimes, if we just take the moment to not be in a rush, we can see the beauty that is all around us no matter how big or small it may be.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to go practice being a Shinobi more.