PlayStation VR is finally here. A few months after its competitors, the third of the three big virtual reality headsets enters the market for the mass of VR-anticipating consumers – and it might even be the one that’s aimed towards them the most. While the usual hardware launch only packs a handful of games, PlayStation offers an incredible amount of new and exciting software. Let’s see which games meet the standards of Sony’s brilliant product.
RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
RIGS is the most immersive shooter I’ve ever played. While being seated in a giant fully controllable mech, fighting in a gigantic, futuristic arena feels unbelievably real and authentic. Even the fast movements and turns are no problem for my sometimes sensitive stomach, as this game took a lot of time in the making to figure out the right settings and colour schemes to be easy on its pilots. RIGS builds on the premise of living little boys’ mech dreams and turns this idea into a massive, futuristic sport with its own league and sponsorship deals. After playing for an hour, I felt more like Overwatch‘s D.Va than I ever did before. Loading times are obviously quite tedious in virtual reality, but if the developer Guerilla Cambridge can manage to get rid of them in future iterations, I can see this becoming the Call of Duty of VR.
Besides RIGS, Battlezone is the second exclusive full price title available at launch of PlayStation VR. People who played the original game and or many of its reboots will fall in love with the rogue-like approach on tank combat, which now comes in its best form to date. If you’re not nostalgic for the arcade shooter, however, you might be overwhelmed by its heavy price point. The AI is not the brightest, and the game fails to provide enough variation to keep you interested after the initial wow effect. If you can manage to find some friends to play the campaign in co-op, you will certainly enjoy some intense fights on the Tron-like battlefield.
PlayStation VR Worlds
PlayStation VR Worlds can be described as the Wii Sports of this platform – jack of all trades, master of none. This is the game you put in when friends and family are around. Wanna send your grandma under the sea to meet with a shark? Show your brother-in-law how it feels to be part of a heist in London? No problem with this collection of games. In addition, PlayStation VR Worlds highly benefits from a stunning menu that’s also a perfect playground for first time VR explorers. While Ocean Descent, The London Heist and especially Danger Ball are three short but great experiences that I wouldn’t want to miss, VR Luge and Scavenger’s Odyssey are terribly designed games that can even make veterans sick. I would much rather have a fourth good minigame instead of two rushed bad ones. But since even Wii Sports had its boxing, I think VR Worlds can be remembered for its good parts.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Twenty dollars can’t be spent any more wisely than on this literal rollercoaster of emotions. Despite not having much to do with the original game except for lining up its threats and villains, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood doesn’t fail to live up to the success and provide an even deeper horror than the actual narrative. Again, a really stomach-friendly approach makes this game easily accessible and gives players only the good butterfly feeling of riding a rollercoaster while using the move controllers for some shooting gallery fun. After playing the first two levels, I was covered in cold sweat, physically unable to continue my journey on the rails of terror. Blood Rush cleverly combines perfectly-timed jump scares with a believable and sinister stage design for every kind of phobia. As a big fan of thrills and dark movies, this is genuinely the greatest horror I’ve ever experienced in my living room. If you can play through all seven stages of this game while still being able to concentrate on getting your highscore up, you are my personal hero.
If you have demoed VR on any other system before, you’ve probably already played a good portion of Job Simulator. The game puts you in different scenarios – everyday jobs of the past, or at least how future robots would imagine this tasks. This is presented with a spice of Portal-like humor, which excellently goes with the sandbox-y nature of this game. Trying out different combinations of items is great fun, and when you find a hidden secret or joke, the game can be incredibly rewarding. Ever wanted to know what happens if you actually try to burn a CD? Job Simulator has the answer. For a small price point, it will give you lots to explore and play with. The only shortcoming is the nature of PlayStation VR, which doesn’t allow full 360 degree movement with your hands due to camera restrictions.
Since EVE: Valkyrie has been defined for many years, it’s probably the most complete VR experience to date. Besides its high level of polish it allows players from different VR platforms to play together, which makes it especially appealing for multiplayer sessions. That exactly is the department where Valkyrie shines the most, as its singleplayer campagin lacks a bit of variation and pace. People who craved a realistic PvP space adventure, however, will totally come at their costs and can anticipate one of the graphically most impressive games on the platform.
I have to admit that I totally underestimated Headmaster in many ways. The game needs no controller input at all, as you only use your head to control the menu and your actions – so you can basically say that the game sticks to its premise. What starts at a regular training ground for your header skills gets trickier and weirder with every stage. Ball types change, and so do the ways how you earn points. Headmaster is far more than a cheap tech demo, as is accurately recreates the feeling of heading a ball, which is a really natural movement understandable for everyone. Since it’s hilarious to play and even more to watch, this game might be one of the most essential VR games to own.
Here They Lie
There’s nothing positive I can say about this simply awful game, except for its sound design. Here They Lie is the quickest way to make your friends or yourself vomit. Graphically it’s near to being unplayable, as it’s terribly blurry and then even forces you to read things you pick up. And when you somehow manage to physically endure the long and tedious set-up, the special effects of the horror elements will give your stomach an even harder time. I have no idea how somebody could create a trailer that promising, but the person deserves a medal for making this joke of a game look good.
I wouldn’t exactly describe Rez Infinite as a rhythm game, but its mesmerizing nature reminds of various genre classics. Personally, I felt this rewarding vibe of Sound Shapes while travelling through the game’s cyberspace, even though the games aren’t really comparable. As the game requires you to aim with your head, many situations force you to leave your comfort zone to actually keep up your score and shoot an enemy, which drew on its flow at some times. Yet, the lucid gameplay is addictive enough to make you never want to go back to the normal TV mode again. After beating the game, Area X is unlocked, which really builds on the power of the hardware and marks one of PlayStation VR’s trippiest adventures.
While the original Driveclub was polarizing, the VR version of it isn’t. Due to the limitations of the headset, the game lacks graphic fidelity – a thing really bad for a racing sim. Playing a simulation also greatly benefits from immersion, and if you can get your head in the game, you can almost feel the mud on the streets. With the comeback of social challenges and the high level of engagement due to actually being seated on the driver’s seat, Driveclub VR can be enjoyed if you’re a real racing enthusiast – just make sure to be ready for a bumpy ride, since the game’s not gonna go easy on you.
Instead of taking the first-person approach, Tumble VR moves away from the action and lets you build towers with blocks of different colours, sizes and materials. The game provides an extensive list of minigames that require clever planning, smart decision making and a bit of skillful positioning. Tumble VR is not a trippy or impressive game, but perfect for long and relaxed play sessions in a different world.
All in all, early adopters can choose from a broad variety of games at launch and anticipate the ever expanding software catalogue of PlayStation VR. Most of the games mentioned above have demos, or are even included on the demo disc that came with your headset, so make sure to try them before you commit to buying one. Now stop reading this, and immerse yourself in the virtual world – there’s a lot of fun to be had.
This review was written using lots of PlayStation 4 review codes provided by Sony. Are you excited for VR? Which game are you looking forward to the most? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!