On Friday, January 19th, the Sprint Vector Closed Beta kicked off. VR Game Rankings was lucky enough to get into the beta, and we've been playing the game throughout this opening weekend.
Survios could very well be looking at another key VR franchise for their up and coming studio. Of course, Survios is the studio and publisher behind Raw Data, one of VR's earliest triple A franchises. Raw Data is well known for having that special something, that secret sauce, and it appears that Sprint Vector shares some of those same ingredients.
The game is incredibly colorful and energetic. In fact, I'm reminded of Electronic Art's mothballed SSX series from those classic PlayStation 2 days. There's a slight resemblance to Wipeout as well. However in this game, you don't have any hover cars or snowboards. You're basically skating along on some futuristic inline skates, at breakneck speeds through multicolored tracks and obstacle courses. To generate speed, you must move your arms back and forth, while gripping the trigger button and releasing it at just the right time. The motion is not unlike cross-country skiing. Like you're stabbing your poles into the snow, pulling yourself forward, and letting go at just the right time.
One thing this game could really struggle with though, is the somewhat steep learning curve. You can jump into Sprint Vector and have some immediate fun, but you'll soon realize that you're not really getting anywhere without an intimate knowledge of the control scheme. I must admit that I had to spend considerable amounts of time, just getting acclimated to the various maneuvers. A number of tutorials are included to help the player along in this process, but it's still a lot to digest and remember on the fly. I went through the beginning and intermediate tutorials several times just to really come to grips with all the various actions your character can perform. Certainly, once you spend enough time really memorizing what does what, you'll probably do just fine. I'm just not sure every player that approaches this game will be so patient.
Once you do get the hang of things, you'll definitely have an enjoyable racing/platforming mash-up awaiting you. I've tried 3 tracks for far, and each one was very stylized and distinct. Production values are a huge part of this overall experience. The sound effects, background music, even the back and forth banter of the two announcers all comes together to make for a very interesting romp around these unique race courses. Although this game is still very much a work in progress, what's available in the open beta seems highly polished and refined.
I'm still a little early on in this Open Beta to make any type of final assessment about this game. There's certainly lots to love here, but the controls are a lot more involved than I was expecting. I'd love to get to the point where I could just play the game instinctively, without constantly trying to remember which buttons do what. Getting into a "flow" in this game would likely be extremely exhilarating but I haven't quite tasted that sweet nectar yet. This open beta still runs through January 28th, so I several more days to fine tune my skills and hopefully find my groove with this title.