A couple of days ago I received a PlayStation VR as a gift. It was the Skyrim VR bundle that included the Motion controllers and PlayStation camera. It took me a little less than an hour to hook up and for the most part was pretty self explanatory. Every piece was clearly labeled and numbered. The instructions were very visual which I appreciated. They looked like instructions from a Lego set more than a video game console.
Finally, I was able to put on my new headset and view the PlayStation home screen through a virtual reality lens. As someone who wears glasses, I was concerned that it wouldn’t be comfortable or I would have to take them off. I am happy to say that my fears were not realized. It is a very comfortable headset and easily adjustable to fit any head size.
I had forgotten that you can play or use any feature on the PlayStation 4 marketplace while wearing the headset. It just will not look as impressive as something designed for virtual reality. This led to me opening up my Crunchy Roll app and watching an episode of Dragon Ball Super with my VR headset on. I made it about ten minutes before realizing what an awful mistake I had just made.
When it comes to a new technology like virtual reality, the only thing people want to know about is the games. I put some time into four virtual reality games that bear mentioning here. The first is Playroom VR. Playroom VR was a free game with PlayStation Plus and if it was not for that I might not have taken a second look at it. It is a collection of single and multiplayer mini-games. It’s got a cute, clean look and it’s a lot of fun.
The second game I played in VR was I Expect You To Die. This game puts you in the shoes of a James Bond-esque secret agent but only in the worst parts of the job. The first level puts you in a locked car in the back of a locked airplane and you have to figure out a way to drive it out of the airplane. You are able to start the car, but upon doing so a bomb will fall in your lap, killing you. You can throw it out the window but there’s poison gas being pumped into the plane. This game is a blast.
Psychonauts In The Rhombus of Ruin is the only VR game that I have actually completed. It makes great use of the psychic abilities that players had access to in the first Psychonauts game and also bridges the story gap from the first game to the upcoming sequel. You’re always stationary in the game. You jump from body to body using your psychic abilities and look at your surroundings to solve puzzles. It feels like a natural fit in the Psychonauts lineage.
Finally, I played the game that came packaged in with the PlayStation VR, Skyrim VR. I saved this one for last because I was never a big Skyrim fan, to begin with. I have always felt that Oblivion is a much better game and never understood why Skyrim succeeded in the way it has. It’s not bad. It has just been overplayed. So I was in no great rush to play it in virtual reality.
When I finally did launch the game though, I found myself enjoying it much more in virtual reality than I ever did in actual reality. After getting through that long and boring introduction sequence, I finally got my hands on an ax. To swing a weapon in the game, you swing the controller in the real world. I’m sure this is supposed to feel powerful and heroic but instead, I felt like a child playing whack-a-mole at a local arcade. Being very careful not to break anything. I’m sure I looked ridiculous.
The default way to move in Skyrim VR is by pointing at a spot on the ground and pressing a button to teleport to it. You can change this to holding down a button and walking in the direction you are facing. I much preferred the second option but neither are very good. The teleporting feels slow and jarring. The walking in one direction would be fine but I often found myself drifting to the left and right. This game is not good but if you’re playing it with some friends, you’ll definitely have some laughs.
PlayStation VR is the only virtual reality console I have ever tried. I am sure that the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are better quality and better-looking options. Also, with E3 just a few days away, who knows what kind of virtual reality products and games will be announced. What I do know is that if you have the $350.00 to spare to get yourself a PlayStation VR, you should do it. If it was not gifted to me I probably would not have gotten one for some time. Overall the PSVR is a solid mid-ranged VR headset that does the job it was designed for.
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