Review: Sprint Vector
Another AAA experience from the Raw Data Team
After delivering one of the best first-person shooters (FPS) for virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs) with Raw Data hopes have been high that Survios’ next offering would follow a similar path. The team decided to tackle the difficult challenge of fast motion in VR head on, creating a heart-pounding, adrenaline fuelled multiplayer title called Sprint Vector, pitting players against one another in obstacle filled races that’s certain to attract a big contingent of players.
Sprint Vector is big, bold, garish and above all awesomely fun to play. While it features both single-player and multiplayer modes, this is certainly an experience focused on its multiplayer side. Playing solo there’s plenty to keep you busy once you’ve finished playing through the extensive tutorial – and you’ll need to – with 12 courses to learn as well as nine challenge course to complete. Master those and you’re definitely ready to head out into the online world.
The videogame is all about learning movement – or Survios’ Fluid Locomotion System – where you need to time arm swings to propel yourself forward. One look at the courses and you’ll realise that you’ll need to learn more than just forward momentum to win. It’s through this movement system that the core gameplay and the replay factor of Sprint Vector are so neatly entwined. Survios has managed to squeeze so much into it the first time you learn everything can be a bit bewildering, from timing those arm swings to get maximum speed, jumping, gliding and shooting, to using power ups and climbing, to win those races all of it needs to mastered. Yet as much as that sounds after a few races the system becomes instinctive and most importantly comfortable.
This can be a major issue in VR and Survios has done a commendable job of making frantic gameplay smooth with little jarring. Even when falling from a ledge – and you will, many times – there’s no discomfort, just the annoyance that places have been lost and you need to get back up to speed quickly.
Alongside the locomotion system there’s plenty of other things to keep you on your toes. Power-ups can be collected in each course, granting you mines, missiles, nitro boosts and loads more. They certainly add a tactical edge and as those Mario Kart fans out there know, one decent power-up at the right time can make all the difference.
12 courses don’t sound like much, with each one taking on average around two to three minutes to complete but they do offer plenty of variety. Each one has its own little routes to explore, possibly offering a better racing line than the main course but that all depends on how well you can jump, climb and soar through the air. Timing it wrong can make things even worse.
At the start of Sprint Vector you can choose your own particular character – which can be swapped if need be – yet from what VRFocus can tell there doesn’t seem to be a difference in stats. Most cartoon style racers usually fall into the same gameplay routine, so larger characters have poor acceleration with better top speeds while small characters are very nippy off the line but not so good down the straights. This isn’t the case in Sprint Vector, every race is down to your own personal skill rather than anything a digital character brings to the table.
And you will need skill, as well as plenty of stamina in those arms. As mentioned Sprint Vector gets that heart pounding, and the sweat dripping. Of course you can take it easy but that won’t win races. To be honest, once you’re track side the adrenaline kicks in and all you’ll think about is winning. Such is the involvement required to play – rather than sitting comfy on a sofa – that the gameplay becomes addictive.
There’s very little to dislike in Sprint Vector. Sure there will be times when that competitive edge over takes you, getting annoyed when you fudge a jump but that’s to be expected. The single-player has enough to get you started with a few hours of gameplay, yet it’s the multiplayer that’ll have you coming back for more. Here’s hoping that Sprint Vector draws in enough of a crowd to sustain it, rather than becoming another multiplayer focused experience that gets forgotten about. Which would be a shame, because from where VRFocus is standing Sprint Vector is another hit for the studio.