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PlayStation VR: Hands-on impressions from inside the virtual world

The PlayStation Blog team check out nine VR titles on the GDC showfloor

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The future is looking bright for PlayStation VR, PS4’s upcoming virtual reality platform launching this October. The PlayStation Blog team recently had an opportunity to play a host of new demos, each showcasing impressive variety and ingenuity. Here are our thoughts so far:

Rez Infinite

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One of gaming’s most beloved audio + visual symbioses, Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s classic on-rails shooter is a perfect candidate for an updated VR incarnation. Even if you’re played Rez a hundred times since its original release in 2001, being directly embedded into its trippy, synaesthetic world is an experience that must not be missed. This is how Rez was always meant to be played. — Justin Massongill

Cool VR Detail: Being able to look behind you when a boss goes off screen to keep attacking it. Total game-changer!

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives

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Just plain cool, and a good demonstration of how PS Move motion controllers can transform the PS VR experience. Simply put, Job Simulator tasks you with completing a series of comical office challenges by interacting with various props. Each PS Move represented an independent hand; by moving my hand and pressing the trigger, I picked up and moved a coffee mug, turned on a coffee maker, and ate a donut. All in a day’s work! The atmosphere is seriously funny, and the final game will include other jobs like chef and convenience store clerk. — Sid Shuman

Cool VR detail: Job Simulator is essentially a big, fun VR toybox. I had tons of fun just poking around my cubicle, finding hidden jokes and subtle gags.

SuperHyperCube

One of my favourite PlayStation VR experiences thus far, SuperHyperCube is a first-person puzzle game that tasks the player with rotating a 3D shape to fit through a hole in a slowly advancing wall. Each success yields a more complex shape, and slimmer chances of success.

Since the hole is in the middle of the wall, you’ll need to peek around the shape floating in front of you to see it. This subtle use of VR lets the player focus on the task at hand, while feeling no less immersive and natural than larger-scale experiences. This isn’t just a great VR title, it’s one of the best puzzle games I’ve played in years. — Justin Massongill

Cool VR detail: If you want to access the Options menu, just turn to your left and you’re there. Cool!

Battlezone

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Tron on tank treads! This tank shooter provides a glimpse into the future of the VR shooter genre, playing more like a traditional shooter than any of the other VR demos I played.

Loosely inspired by the ’80s arcade and Atari classic, Battlezone plops you in the cockpit of a high-tech tank and sets you loose on a play field teeming with enemies. The game notably takes great advantage of VR’s verticality. I craned my head back to target high-flying aircraft with minigun fire, then glanced down at my virtual dashboard to spot enemy tank locations. The shooting mechanics felt tight and satisfying, too. — Sid Shuman

Cool VR detail: Calling out two for this one! First, looking to the left and seeing your tank’s cannon move up and down as you aim with the right stick on your DualShock 4. Also, sitting in an honest-to-goodness tank cockpit, complete with panels upon panels of flashy lights, knobs, and buttons.

Thumper

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On paper, Thumper sounds like the kind of game that would be way too intense to play in virtual reality, but thanks to its track-based gameplay and constant focal point (the shiny space beetle you control) it’s actually one of the most comfortable VR experiences I’ve had. After trying Thumper on PlayStation VR, there’s no question that that’s how I’m going to play through it this October. — Justin Massongill

Cool VR Detail: Leaning forward to lower your vantage point and get right behind that chrome beetle — everything feels faster when you’re right on top of the track!

Golem

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This one’s exciting because a) it’s unapologetically ambitious and b) it’s being designed by veteran developers including Jaime Griesemer and Marty O’Donnell.

In this PlayStation VR exclusive, players are cast as a bedridden character who can control towering, sword-wielding creatures. The game’s full scope is still shrouded in mystery, but I did face off against another golem. As my foe swung his enormous sword, I adjusted my PS Move to parry its incoming attacks. This one could be very, very cool. — Sid Shuman

Cool VR detail: To move your character, you simply lean forward, back, or to the side — and it works really well. These kinds of gameplay advancements will prove vital to the growing VR movement as developers and players adapt to the medium’s wider palette.

Headmaster

Placed into a mysterious “Football Improvement Centre” (read: a dark, unsettling soccer field), players are made to hit balls into a goal using only head movements, tracked via PlayStation VR’s high-precision sensors. It takes a little getting used to, but before long you’ll be heading oncoming soccer balls into strategically placed bonus switches around the goal and field. Throughout the demo, things get progressively tougher… and progressively stranger. Let’s just say a piñata is involved. — Justin Massongill

Cool VR detail: Looking up at the lone spotlight on the field and watching the light flare across my field of vision.

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

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This one came out of left field: an on-rails shooter based on PS4 horror hit Until Dawn. Featuring appearances from Until Dawn’s masked murderer and other unfriendly guests, plus nods to light-gun shooters of yore like shootable ammo crates that yield upgraded firepower, Rush of Blood plays like a midway attraction designed by John Carpenter.

I got a strong House of the Dead/Time Crisis vibe, right down to shooting off-screen or flicking your wrist to reload your weapon. Rush of Blood carves out its own identity though and – get this – has me pining for a revival of the light gun shooter genre. I’ll take it! — Justin Massongill

Cool VR detail: An on-rails shooter where you can actually look around! I spotted lots of little secrets while playing Rush of Blood, just by looking for them.

Wayward Sky

Wayward Sky proves that not everything in virtual reality needs to be first-person. Using a wonderful laser-guided point-and-click mechanic, players guide the story’s main protagonist indirectly but with impressive precision. Upon reaching one of Wayward Sky’s frequently placed puzzles, it switches to a first-person viewpoint so you can reach out and solve it using your PlayStation Move motion controllers. Keep an eye on this one.

Cool VR detail: Being placed directly into the game’s cutscenes — it’s like standing on stage during a play instead of sitting in the audience.

25 Comments
0 Author replies
rayna-monique 22 March, 2016 @ 13:37
1

Do I need to pre order to get it or can I just go in shop on day 1 and pick it up there and then

This hasn’t been confirmed, but your much better off pre-ordering as soon as you can! When the PS4 first became available for pre-order, if you didn’t pre-order before a certain date you had to wait an extra couple of months to be able to get your hands on one. I have heard that pre-orders for PSVR are through the roof, so you would rather be instead of sorry by pre-ordering one as soon as you can!

2

I’m not buying one until I can get one boxed with a camera and move. And that’s that.

AlucardTepes_DE 26 March, 2016 @ 05:13
2.2

Don’t worry they will release one set for Europeans with all those stuff for extra 100€
Has for me, personally, I’m not buying it either, till I get the 1st japanese games in it, that is.

3

I wonder what Driveclub VR’s fate will be now that Evolution Studios has been shut down?

“I wonder what PSVR’s fate will be now that Evolution Studios has been shut down?”

Fixed.

4.1

Why fixed? One studio has no real bearing on PSVR. There are much more worthy titles out there to make it appealing.

@maxdiehard
That is your personal opinion don’t put someone elses down and state yours as a fact.
I for one was looking forward to play Driveclub in vr as promissed and it would be my main reason (for now) to go for psvr.

5

I had the pleasure of playing Job Simulator on the Vive a few weeks ago at a PCGamer Expo.

I had a great time throwing doughnuts at the flying computer robots. It was an experience that really did made you feel you were actually there, reaching out and interacting with the virtual world 1:1. It’s something you have to experience yourself. Explanations do no justice, VR really is the future of gaming.

6

What’s happening with Driveclub VR now?

Are we now stuck with GT Sport for our PS VR racer, with its inevitable delay until 2050?

European_Gamer 22 March, 2016 @ 17:58
7

I preordered PlayStation VR yesterday. I’m looking forward to see which games you deliver at E3 and beyond.

CoolRichy007UK 22 March, 2016 @ 19:07
8

£349 for ps vr only a (deleted) would waste money on this

8.1

If you have nothing of value to add, just go away.

£349 is the most reasonable price there is for VR, considering the competitors are almost double the price.

AlucardTepes_DE 26 March, 2016 @ 05:16
8.2

you can always pay 700€(minimal hopefully) for a Oculus-Rift and buy a 1000€ computer and get yourself a candy.

9

@MaxDiehard

First point: People are allowed to express an opinion on this blog and I too happen to think that £349 is way too steep, a peripheral that costs more than the PS4 itself, really?! What will be the knock-on effect, meaning will the games themselves be costly too?

Second point: You really had fun by chucking doughnuts at flying robots in a VR world?! Well I am happy for you that you can be so easily pleased but generally (with few exceptions) I like my gaming to be something a bit more complex. Yes I’m sure it was a fun little try out for you but I could never see myself having “a great time” doing that!!

To me £349 is a lot to pay out, I don’t think VR could ever be good enough to make me forget THAT kind of cost for a new gaming experience. Call me old fashioned but I prefer my much cheaper and very enjoyable (for the most part) entertainment on a TV.

Lights out, headphones on…..that’s my VR :)

9.1

Sony originally stated that PSVR would cost around the price of a new console, and it has. £349 is the exact same price the PS4 sold for at launch. It’s more than reasonable as opposed to the competitors that have priced theirs at almost double.

Not to mention that the PS4 is readily available to run it whereas the Vive and Oculus require high-end PCs costing upwards of £800-1000.

9.2

New technology is always expensive and being game related it will no doubt be glitchy which will detract from the VR experience.

Time will tell whether or not this will be a passing interest with Sony. No doubt it will be better than 3D but i can’t see VR reaching it’s potential on a PS4.

The idea of VR has been around for quite a while and I do believe it will eventually become very good….in 10 or 20 years.

Technology is great but it comes at a price, maybe in the future increased use of VR will make people suffer from a new medical condition called DR (Detatched Reality), lol.

ONEshotWilldoIT 23 March, 2016 @ 10:22
10

Is VR WORLDS a standalone boxed game or does it come free with the PSVR??

10.1

It’s a standalone game. I’m not sure about a physical release, I’d say yes though. North America has a bundle with the camera, 2 ps move controllers and the game VR Worlds. The regular PS VR will not come with any game. (except maybe Playroom for VR)

pablo-hassan 23 March, 2016 @ 13:20
11

I was lucky enough to play on the VR at E3! I was unlucky in getting to play the only game there that didn’t sell the experience to me which was Hatsune Miku project diva, it wasn’t a game but rather a concert experience in well VR!! So I went away disappointed and not sure if I wanted to purchase it!! Then I saw REZ Infinite boom pre order day one now the wait ……. EXCITED even more so that DOAE3 with have VR !!!!

AlucardTepes_DE 26 March, 2016 @ 05:20
11.1

Lol If I knew Hatsune Miku would be there, even I would want to put those VR on! You were so lucky, damm you have no idea.

You just picked my interest in VR right now with that one.

LieutenantFatman 23 March, 2016 @ 16:49
12

First time I’ve heard of Golem, sounds interesting.

evergreen_15 26 March, 2016 @ 08:07
13

The wait until October is going to be an absolute killer.

How long until games will only be compatible with PS4.5?!

I cancelled my pre-order as I want to try one for an extended play before investing £350 as a Samsung Gear VR gave me a terrible headache.

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