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Stride: Fates Review

Stride: Fates hit the Meta Quest in November last year and left a good impression on me. Now Joy Way have ported it over to the PlayStation VR2, I have now taken to Airon City again, but did it PSVR2 port do it justice?

Release Date: May 16th 2024
Developer: Joy Way
Publisher: Joy Way
Price: US $29.99
Reviewed On: PlayStation VR2
* Code Provided For Review *

A Narrative That Exists

Stride: Fates put you into the shoes of slum dog in Airon City, where you have been recruited as a chaser by SkyChase. A narrative does unfold in the game, but it’s nothing to write home about and seems more just to give context for the setting of the next mission over telling the full tale of the chaser.

Run, Jump, Slide and Swing

Joy Way have taken elements of Stride they released in 2022 on PlayStation VR, and even earlier than that on PCVR with the promise of a campaign mode coming down the line. However, this then became a standalone release with Fates.

The main focus of the game is the parkour, which has translated over from Stride and what that game offers. Putting running, jumping, wall-running, swinging and sliding together to make your way through Airon City – putting a good run of these together smoothly does feel exhilarating and makes your feel badass. One element I am happy to see in Fates is a simplified jump, which means you no longer need to swing your arms upwards to get more distance on your jumps – which I found the button press option now available made it a lot easier to get a better flow. One area of the game that breaks up the smoothness of the parkour is the placing of upgrade packs throughout this city. These are often hidden away meaning you might have to stop to look around or even abruptly to collect them – which when in a lovely combo the flow of the gameplay is suddenly ruined.

Why is collecting these upgrade packs important? This is due to them being used to unlock upgrades for the three weapons you will get as you playthrough the first 4 levels. These are a pistol, a shotgun and a sub-machine gun. When making your way through the city with the parkour and add taking out the Skull’s it adds to the badass-ery. However, with the amount of ammo the game throws at you, you never feel like you are ever in trouble from the enemies and makes you unstoppable. It would have been much better if the game reduced the ammo amount and made you have to take on the hand-to-hand combat or use things like knives and pipes at times.

Shooting in the game does have one issue that is not present on the previously release Quest version, and that is the gun angles are all off – I am not sure if these have just not been adjusted in the port for the different shape of the sense controllers. This really affects the dual-handed modes for the weapons, and I found just not using them dual-handed was by far the best approach. Especially given the aforementioned zero concerns about your ammo.

Stealth is in the game but is never forced on you, with some missions being easier if you use stealth. This is due to being spotted bringing in things like drones to contend with. But, if you just want to go in guns blazing and have the fun of fighting off drones and the enemies you can, as the stealth element is never made a full on requirement for the mission.

A Little Shocked

The city is laid out perfectly for the chasers to use it to their advantage, as you make your way across it with your parkour skills. However, Airon City is meant to have the feeling of being a little dystopian, but it all looks a quite clean with little disarray – which seems an odd choice from a design perspective. What shocked me the most was the overall visual presentation on PlayStation VR2, with a lot of anti-aliasing being present in the game, and with the amount of time you are looking the ledges to jump from and grab hold of it is very evident and in your face. This is something the developers have said they will be fixing with an upcoming patch – but at this present moment I cannot confirm or deny this has improved.

Another shock to me is, since the Quest 3 enhancements were added to the standalone version, I honestly feel the PlayStation VR2 version looks worse visually. Despite the claim of graphical improvements being present on this version

The sound design is a bit mixed bag and in some areas lacking little things that could have made it a lot better with some minor changes. The strong point of the sound design is the music, this is action packed and keeps you in the mood and the free flowing feeling the game offers. The voice acting is passable, but at the same time there are instances where it has very little emotion. Then you have the guns, that all seem to be lacking a bit of the punch to the sound, fixing this with something a little more punchy would make a big difference for such a small change.

Comfort

The Verdict

Stride: Fates is the closest we have gotten to having Mirrors Edge in VR, so if this is something you have been waiting for this does a good job of offering this. Although the story is not that strong, how smooth the parkour elements come together, makes it easy to overlook the lackluster story as you are feeling like a badass. Every element of the game does have room for improvement on the PlayStation VR2 port and if you have both the PSVR2 and Quest 3, I would recommend the later at the moment.