Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live the life in the Dark Ages or possibly the life of a pirate? I am not talking so much about what you would be doing in those times or how you think your life would be much different without the distractions of things such as technology, climate change, or even the things that are in the news that we have today. I am talking about more of what it would be like if you had to fight with swords at a time where actions meant more than the words that were being said. Times when people made their own justifications of the situation in their own hands regardless if it was right or wrong. How do you think you would do in those times? You think you would be alive to live another day or would it truly be dead men tell no tales? But does developer Sinn Studio show us what it’s like to live and die by the sword? Let’s find out with Swordsman for PCVR and PlayStation VR.
Swordsman is a story-driven game that is physics-based combat from the weapons to the bodies where you will take on waves of enemies as you try to take them down and survive while not trying to become sliced and diced yourself as you journey to Gnipahellir where the fierce one known as Jotunn awaits. So before we begin, I want to state that you want to make sure you have some room Since this is physics-based, you will be swinging your swords and blocking and dodging and you really don’t want to take out anyone near you, human or animal, as you are becoming the epic swordsman that you were born to be. But, you will want to make sure that your strikes count and that you can move with some agility because these enemies are not playing.
As long as you have the space that you need, it’s time to get into the settings. You will want to decide if you want Snap or Smooth Turning. Swordsman also takes advantage of the 3dRudder controller (more on this in a few) and if you are playing on PlayStation VR, this might be the best option (again, more on this in a few) for movement. The main story is divided up into different worlds with Knights, Vikings, Mongols, Samurai, and Pirates and even includes the Horde mode where you have to fight against zombies.
When you first start out, you are introduced to the game hub and this is where not only can you select the different options, but also where you can add game modifiers, upgrade your skills, and even buy new weapons and armor to help you in your journey. The good thing about this hub is you can come to it at any time if you find things start to get a little tough. But be careful what you purchase as if the armor you selected is too heave, that is going to affect different factors within the game such as defense, health, and what can be a lifesaver at times, speed. But on the flip side of things, if you purchase the items too early, it might take away from some of the challenging aspects, so keep that in mind as well.
But Swordsman is about combat. The weapon in your hand will either be your best friend or depending on how strong the enemy or enemies are with their weapons (yes, multiple enemies can appear at one time), your weapon by be the one to blame or how you might have forgotten to attack but yet dodged and you received that fatal blow where things start to go from colorful to dull just as your life is leaving your virtual body and you start having flashbacks on your life, wondering if it was all worth it. Don’t think like that…snap out of it and if that does happen get back in there and show them who rules this world.
But the newest update to Swordsman is one that is my favorite, and that is the Pirates and Dismemberment. This is where you take the battle and your sword skills onto a pirate ship in the middle of the ocean with other pirates, a Kraken, and try to work your way to the pirate captain Blackbeard all while fighting in stormy weather and using new weapons such as the Gun Sword as well as new dismemberment mechanics which really add some fun to the gameplay. Playing as a pirate just had this refreshing feel that brought everything you would want from any pirate movie or book and puts you into the action. There really is something about not only the enemy pirates coming at you, having to deal with the Kraken by firing the cannons, and then adding the weather effects while on the sea just brings it all together very nicely.
Let’s talk about the graphics and the sound. Originally I started to play Swordsman on PlayStation VR and some of the graphics did seem just somewhat not as clear as they could be. Times, when you would see blood, seemed to make those moments become clearer. Seeing the distance on certain levels was clearer than some, but the pirate’s level shined more, at least to me. I tried also playing on PCVR and the graphics did improve some. Not saying that when you are busy swinging a sword and dodging an attack that you have time to look around and see the cracks in the wall of a castle, but you will notice it as you are waiting for the next enemy to appear. The music and sounds were top notch and that helped balance out the times when I noticed somewhat of blurring of the graphics at times.
This brings me to the controls. The way you can swing your sword, kill an enemy and then grab their weapon works amazingly well and everyone should play just for the mechanics alone. As I mentioned, I started playing on PlayStation VR, but because of the limitations of the Move controllers with not having the thumbsticks (come on PSVR 2), I found it more difficult to move around in the game. Then I thought I would try the 3dRudder, but there was an issue where the game would detect it, however, it kept stating it was waiting for my feet. I reached out to the developer, who stated that they found the problem and in the next update, this issue will be fixed. That’s when I moved over to try the game on PCVR and wow, the thumbsticks alone helped tremendously. Before, I was dying like nothing else, but on PCVR, I was able to move and swing like nothing else. This is why on PlayStation VR if you have the 3dRudder it may just be the best option to play Swordsman on the platform simply so you won’t have to worry about the button layout per se. Again, this is just my opinion and I really cannot wait to try the 3dRudder and Swordsman on PlayStation VR.
There are a few things that I would love to see added to the game. For one, an increase to the graphics just for when those moments when it is not as clear. Second, I want to see more time periods or events in history such as the Civil War and battling against soldiers while you can hear the war going on and smoke from gunfire or cannon fire impacts your vision. And last, but not least, it would be awesome to battle other players in real-time. You could do 1 vs 1 or even 2 vs 2 with tournaments and leaderboards. I am not sure if any of these will happen, but the developer is constantly working to improve the game and that is a very good thing.
Swordsman shows how the combat mechanics should work in VR. It gives us a chance to let out some of our frustrations in life without doing actual harm to anyone. It’s an escape to relief and can be therapeutic to some. And with the way the world sometimes throws us for a loop, isn’t it nice to be able to let out those frustrations without taking it out on the ones that matter most to us in the short time we have in life?
Swordsman is out now on the Oculus Store, PlayStation VR, Steam, and Viveport. A review code was provided. To learn more about Sinn Studio, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some new weapons and armor to use.