In his weekly column, Android Central Senior Content Producer Nick Sutrich delves into all things VR, from new hardware to new games, upcoming technologies, and so much more.
When I got my HTC Vive back in 2016, one game, in particular, really piqued my interest. The demo for Budget Cuts was pure magic, and it made me hope for a lot more stealth games in VR, but alas, there haven't been too many since then.
Budget Cuts Ultimate went on to be released for the Meta Quest just this summer and quickly made our list of best Meta Quest games, but there's no denying it feels more like an old-school VR game than something like Assassin's Creed Nexus.
It's what makes these upcoming Quest games so exciting for me. Vampire: The Masquerade VR is on the cusp of release in November, and right after that, we'll be graced with Arashi: Castles of Sin in early December. Plus, don't forget about Assassin's Creed Nexus and a bevy of other great stealth titles that have made their debut lately.
From Feudal Japan to the canals of Venice
Today, Skydance Interactive announced that Arashi: Castles of Sin - Final Cut would debut on Meta Quest, PC, and PSVR 2 platforms on December 5, 2023 (you can preorder now). I've only been able to get an eyes-on preview of the game so far — that means I watched the developers play it and narrate the experience — and I couldn't be more excited about the possibilities this game can bring.
I never got the chance to play the original release on the first PlayStation VR, but based on the gameplay I watched, I'm actually glad I didn't. Arashi has players sneaking around Feudal Japanese castles using weapons and ninjutsu to stealthily assassinate enemies and bring down the feudal lords responsible for the chaos ensuing in Japan at the time.
Anyone who has played Tenchu on the original PlayStation — or, more recently, Ghost of Tsushima — knows how good a proper stealth ninja game can be. There's something truly special about this setting and theme that gets my blood pumping in a way none other can.
Each of the castles you visit is impressively expansive and gives you free roam of the rooves, buildings, and countless shadows to hide in, ensuring each play session feels like it was planned by you.
And gosh dang, does the game ever look good! This one's taking full advantage of the Quest hardware, no doubt. Right now, all the screenshots we have here are from the PSVR 2 version, though, so don't get too excited about seeing this level of visual fidelity on your Quest just yet.
Movement and combat have been enhanced thanks in part to modern VR systems like the Meta Quest 3, but also because the developers took a step back and reassessed key systems to enhance for the re-release. Skydance Interactive told me that fans of the original should give this one another shot as the enhancements make it feel like a brand-new game.
If the stealth mechanics weren't already cool enough, players get a canine ninja companion that will help along the way. Haru, as the dog goes by, can be commanded to act as a distraction as much as a weapon in and of himself. Skydance says the dog's AI will impress you, and I'm sure more than one person will squeal with delight when petting him.
Plus, the game outfits you with an armory of incredible tools and weapons. Some, like your dual daishō swords, are immediately obvious in their use. Others, like the blowgun, serve a far more stealthy purpose, but battles will sometimes need to be won by force instead of stealth.
As a Naruto fan, I was super pleased to see some jutsu make its way into what otherwise looks like a pretty well-grounded adventure. What was shown off so far mainly covered traversal and visual categories, but I'm guessing the six Oni bosses — each named after one of the seven deadly sins — might unlock something interesting worth taking a look at.
But none of the games mentioned would be good without gameplay mechanics that make you feel like a ninja, a vampire, or a Renaissance man. Stealth in VR is hard because VR inherently relies on the physical abilities of the person playing it.
No one is naturally born a ninja or a battle-hardened warrior. It requires years of extensive training and experience to earn these titles, so it's tricky for developers to put ordinary people in situations and somehow make them absolve the need for this kind of training.
To me, that's actually what's so darn impressive about these games. In most cases with all three titles, players have the opportunity to do something that feels "totally badass," for lack of a more eloquent term.
Jumping off a Venetian roof, flicking out your hidden blade, and stabbing a target before running off and hiding in a pile of straw in Assassin's Creed Nexus is a moment you won't soon forget. The same goes for the first time you sneak up on someone in a dark Venetian alley in Vampire: The Masquerade on Quest and suck the life out of them so you can live another day.
These are harrowing scenarios that most people will (thankfully) never experience in their lives. But the magic of video games and virtual reality makes it possible for us to experience something that would otherwise be firmly out of our grasp, and I absolutely love it for that.
Ditch the wires, phones, computers, and extra nonsense and just put on a Meta Quest 3, the best VR gaming console ever made.
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I tried playing stealth games in VR. But I'm dummy thicc, and the clap of my ass cheeks kept alerting the guards.AC News said:VR games like Assassin's Creed Nexus VR, Vampire: The Masquerade, Arashi: Castles of Sin, and others prove that developers have finally figured out stealth in VR.
It's about time the Quest got some good VR stealth games : Read more