It’s been a long wait since PS VR was announced for Pre-Order back in March at £350. I took a leap of faith a put down my order ten minutes after the announcement, in the hope that VR will breathe something fresh into gaming that has in a way become stagnant. So here are my initial impressions after a day with PS VR and a few of the games I’ve played thus far.
Upon opening the packaging to PS VR you are treated to a ton of cables and a gorgeous headset. The set up is actually quite easy and the mess of cables will depend in your play space. You’ll also need a PlayStation camera (sold separately) for the device to properly function. The headset is without a doubt the best-looking headset on the market at the moment, built from soft rubber and plastic the headset feels sturdy and futuristic; it feels like I’m holding some sort of Prototype.
Equipping the headset is quite a simple affair, there’s a button on the back that extends the band to fit over your head and a button underneath the visor which adjusts the viewing angle. Comfort will depend on the shape of your head, for me personally. It fits perfectly. Furthermore, there’s no light intrusion from the outside and it’s rather light too. So I was able to game for a few hours and even watch an entire movie with little to no discomfort.
There’s also some in-ear headphones included with the headset which are okay, but My Astros can simply plug into the inline remote and fit over the headset quite comfortably. So of you have a pair of over ear headphones, you should be fine with those. It’s also worth noting that PS VR is usable with glasses. The visor can be extended and retracted to suit your needs. This was tested by my Wife after some fiddling to get the best viewing angle for her.
Visuals in the headset are surprisingly clear, there’re a few options to you can increase the screen window, but I found the medium setting the best suiting. Other than that, there is an IMAX style setting but it’s a little too close for my liking. There are options to change brightness and various settings to get the best out of the headset, it’s actually quite a simple affair, and everything feels simplified. Picture quality is pretty good, in fact, I was surprised by how nice everything look. The PS menu looks crisp and depending on the game you’re playing some look exceptional.
As mentioned earlier, I watched an entire film (Jurassic World) which looked great, while the picture quality isn’t as good as a 1080p TV (due to resolution, etc.) it’s still an enjoyable experience, you’re completely free from distractions, and it’s certainly a great way to become immersed while watching a movie (No more pesky sun reflection off the TV).
I also spent plenty of time playing games on PSVR and what an impressive array of launch titles on offer, there’s something for everyone, below are a few games I tried out.
PS VR Worlds – 4/5
PS VR worlds is a pricey tech demo, but it’s bloody good fun. The highlight of the disc is without a doubt the London Heist, there’s a brilliant use of the Move controllers, from lighting a Cigar to reloading a gun. The visuals and immersion is just fantastic, and I really hope we see more games like this. There are four other experiences available such as VR Luge, Ocean descent where you get to see some aquatic life up close, Danger ball (Tron pong) and Scavengers Odyssey.
Batman VR – 4/5
This is without a doubt a flag-ship title for PS VR, while it’s around 90 minutes long this is the penultimate Batman experience. You get to be “The Batman”. The visuals are simply outstanding; the use of Move is also great such as using Bat gadgets such as a scanner, Batmerang and grappling hook. It’s best played standing and is a brilliant VR experience.
DriveClub VR – 4/5
Driveclub VR is a visual downgrade from the base game. Nevertheless, it’s still a fun experience in spite of that. When you’re behind the wheel, it really does feel like you’re in a car. I found myself constantly saying “WOW” and “OMG” as I raced around a track in a Zonda. It’s great fun and season pass holders can get the game for just £15.99.
Eve Valkyrie – 4/5
“This is awesome” are the words I kept repeating at I flew past a capital ship, dog fighting alien ships and taking part in massive battles. You feel as if you’re in a ship, the videos on Youtube simply don’t do the game justice, when you’re in VR this game feels and looks amazing. There’s also cross Platform play with PC gamers, which should keep the online community alive for a while. If you’re looking to be a pilot in training, start here.
Here they lie – 2/5
This walking simulator was a short-lived experience for me, mainly because I noped out of it after several minutes of playing. Reality becomes distorted; there are these creepy animal head things and everything just feels dark and unnerving. Many have reported motion sickness with this game due to its trickery; while I didn’t feel unwell, it’s good to keep this in mind as this is one of the main offenders of motion sickness.
RIGS – 4/5
Now I only played the Rigs demo, because I had, in fact, canceled my Pre-order after watching a few videos on Youtube. As I thought that the game might be a bit dull. Well, I was wrong. Again, it’s a game that must be witnessed in a VR perspective. You feel like you’re in a machine, aiming is done through head tracking and gameplay is quite fast. This will be something I’d certainly pick up in the future.
When you take off the headset, it can be quite jarring, after coming out of Arkham VR into my living room it felt weird, not in a sick kind of way but in the way that I had forgotten where I was, I was completely immersed in that world. I had the same experience with the London Heist. I was even talking back to the characters. I didn’t just feel like I was playing a game, I was a part of it, and it’s that what makes VR special!
I am yet to try the likes of Battlezone, Rush of Blood and Kitchen though. Even so, PS VR is off to an exceptional start. As this is a new way to play games and while some will call it a gimmick, it’s not a gimmick in the sense that it’s a silly phase. This is something that can be built on. Games have become stagnant and VR looks to shake things up a bit. I really hope we see the creation of some interesting games and experiences that simply aren’t possible on a TV, imagine the possibilities such as Terminator VR or GTA VR?
Finally, you can be Batman. You can drive a tank or fly a spaceship; the sensations and smiles I’ve had while playing in VR have really left a mark. This is a bold step for gaming industry, and Sony has delivered something quite special to kick-start VR into the mainstream, what a time to be a gamer! I well and truly recommend this product!
I’d also like to add (other than feeling a little tired) I’ve experienced zero motion sickness from the games played.
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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