Reusing assets isn’t something we’d normally encourage a game developer to do. It implies you’re recycling resources to cut corners and make a quick buck. It’s interesting, then, that Syren’s surprise new chapter, released this week, doesn’t feel like that at all. And that’s not just because it’s available for free.
Taking place after the events of the original game, Syren’s second chapter plays a little like a mirror world, running you back through the first game’s levels only in the opposite order. If you’ve already crawled through the game’s dank underwater lab then the idea of working your way back through it might sound tedious, but things are actually very different this time around.
Developer Hammerhead has retooled Syren from survival horror to action shooter with this release. The result is a strikingly different tone; you’ll have a gun with you from the word go, and you can pause the game at any time to head to a shop and use in-game currency to pick up new weapons (as well as see a nod to Hammerhead’s previous work in VR).
It feels almost like a new game set within the same world, as if Hammerhead turned the original game’s surprise boss battle into an experience of its own. You can scavenge your surroundings for extra ammunition and new weapons, and you’ll have a utility belt that allows quick access to weapons and items. The story is a little more direct, too. You play as a CIA agent that has orders relayed to them over comms, though you might learn that your superiors are a little less than trustworthy as you shoot your way through.
One of our major complaints against Syren when it released back in February was that it was a little on the short side, lasting anywhere between one and two hours. The second chapter adds to that initial run time, though, making it less of an issue.
There’s still no update on the PlayStation VR (PSVR) release of Syren, but this new episode is available on the Rift and Vive versions now as part of the original $19.99 package. There’s never been a better time to jump in.
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