Stride Fates, the sequel to the original parkour-focused VR game is coming to the Quest this year with a PC and PSVR2 version coming a bit later. Joy Way sent me a preview build of the game featuring the first 45 minutes of the full-length single-player campaign and it’s good news, Stride Fates is shaping up to be an excellent action shooter with fantastic movement mechanics.
If you have never played or heard of Stride, think of what Mirrors Edge would be like in VR, and then you would end up with Stride. The original game was heavily focused on giving the player a movement system where you can run, jump, wall run, slide, and even grapple around environments. It’s all a quite polished system. The problem with the game was that the game modes were more designed around you playing the game for the fun of the movement and it didn’t have a structured story campaign like Mirrors Edge.
Stride Fates fixes that with what the studio promises to be a blockbuster action adventure that will last about 5-8 hours with a strong focus on narrative storytelling and thrilling gameplay.
After watching the Stride Fates Trailer, I was worried they had strayed too far away from the core gameplay loop of the original where you are jumping from rooftop to rooftop as the trailer seemed to be focused on show gunplay and stabbing enemies in the head. Luckily, those fears very quickly went away as you start the game on a rooftop and I was almost immediately jumping across gaps, wall running along advertisement boards and even swinging across larger gaps using my grappling hook. It all just really felt great.
If you are not familiar with the movement, a lot of it is movement-based with some button presses. To sprint, you swing your arms whilst pushing forward on the thumbstick, you can jump by pressing a button and then lifting both hands into the air and you can grab onto ledges to pull yourself up or even vault over obstacles. You can also climb with sections that require you to climb the side of a building, you get to use zip lines, and if you crouch in real life whilst sprinting in the game you will slide which can be used to slide under obstacles or to avoid enemy fire and perform stylish kills.
My favourite though are drones that you can use your grapple tool to hook onto and swing across gaps and you have full control of when to let go. There is something very satisfying about moving through this game world when you get a hang of all the systems just like Mirror’s Edge and you flow seamlessly through the levels.
The game also has combat both melee and ranged. I only got to use the pistol but other guns are unlocked later in the game. This mixes things up with sections point to point where you need to figure out how to get through the levels using your parkour skills. Some sections where you get into gunfights with indoors through corridors. But some take place outside and are more open giving the player the freedom to attack the situation from multiple angles. Stealth is possible and you can throw guys off of a building or just grab and stab.
The gunplay feels solid but I would personally like a little more feedback from the enemy animations and maybe more audio cues on when I have hit an enemy, as right now other than headshots they feel a little spongey which makes the pistol feel weak. The gun angle was slightly off for me as well but I’m using index controllers and the build I have was for the quest so may be fine on the intended controllers.
The combat overall is very fun though when you combine your movement skills with a little bit of slow motion sometimes it’s fun to jump around picking off targets or charging at full speed then sliding on the floor pumping them full of bullets.
The game also features some voice-over work with someone talking in your ear and the occasional appearance of a female hologram who naturally is wearing a skin-tight outfit. The voice work and narration are respectable and I didn’t find it annoying or cringey.
Visually, the game impressed me. When the developer said I was getting a quest build of Stride Fates, my expectations were low, but the game looked surprisingly good (I was still playing this Quest build on PC though). It looked good with some nice detail in the environments, good quality player models and NPC’s and some nice material effects like shine on metal surfaces and puddle’s on the floor.
If it can look this good, I am looking forward to seeing what they can achieve on the PC and PSVR2 build of the game which is set to release sometime in early 2024.
The game is still in development so there is still time for things to be improved, but there were a couple of little niggles. First when grabbing things, especially when climbing, it can result in the player’s head snapping to a new position. This is down to the fact the game now has in-game arms, so if the ledge is slightly out of reach, they can’t extend the arms further so they have to move the head to a new position instead. I found it a little jarring and would prefer they smooth this out a little and maybe even offer floating hands so they can snap the hands away from the player like in the original game.
The melee could get quite janky at times, enemies don’t really feel like they have a lot of weight when manhandling them and sometimes the knife would get stuck and wouldn’t come out.
Overall, slight niggles aside which will hopefully get improved before release, I was massively impressed with the 45 minutes I tried and it makes me even more excited than I was before to play the full game.