Rather than presenting yet more novel ways to shoot foreigners that committed no obvious crime other than existing, virtual reality is taking gaming in a direction towards experiences and immersive moments. It’s no surprise that this is the way the software is going, when you consider the current limitations that come with wearing a wired headset and the usual amount of space people have to play such a thing.
So, as a platform not short on attempts to give you a different kind of sensation, here are 6 of the best experiences we’ve had on PSVR so far, as chosen by Maffoo and me. This may contain spoilers (depending on how precious you are) but all these happen pretty early in the games so probably just get over it, really.
Batman Arkham VR
Moment: COME IN MY CAVE (chosen by Jonathan)
Rocksteady are a company seemingly already very aware of what works and what doesn’t in VR, and they’ve added to their near perfect record of bringing Batman to consoles with this. It’s not very heavy on movement, showcasing Bats’ side as the world’s greatest detective, rather than his side of beating-everything-to-a-pulp as seen in the films.
Either way, while many people will speak of the moment you put on the cape and cowl as the defining part of this short adventure, for me it was entering the lift and descending into the BatCave that really provided that special moment. Not only is the sense of scale incredible as you emerge from the lift shaft to the iconic lair, but there’s also a dinosaur hanging from a wall for seemingly no reason (I’m sure there is a reason but don’t tell me; I don’t care).
Drive Club VR
Moment: THIS IS MORE LIKE A CAR THAN A CAR (chosen by Maffoo)
We all know Drive Club and how good that game is, and the VR version has not let us down. Nothing has changed with the game itself, it’s purely just in VR now. Now I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there like me thinking “I wish I could feel as if I’m sat in the car”, and wow, the headset really makes you feel that way. You can still choose all your typical camera views when driving, but the best one is definitely sitting in the drivers seat. The way that you can sit and look around the entire car is just amazing; the detail that has been put in is awesome. All the pattern work and dials, the seat and full dashboard, even the car doors on the inside, and the fact there is no back seat but a roll cage, all add to it. You just can’t help but think how impressive it is that the VR headset has given such a different light to the game.
Robinson: The Journey
Moment: BIG DINOSAUR TIME (chosen by Jonathan)
Robinson: The Journey came as something of a surprise in itself; not one of the biggest titles to get touted for use with the PSVR headset but seemingly one of the most expansive, featuring stunning scenery, puzzles and vertigo-inducing climbing. It also has dinosaurs. Congratulations if you’ve spotted a theme here, I really like dinosaurs. Anyway, there’s a moment that made me realise the true scope of what’s possible when you feel like you can theoretically move anywhere and do anything (even though you definitely can’t really). At one point you are presented with one of those big lizard-giraffe dinosaurs blocking your path, and you’re instructed by your cocky robot guide that you need to make it move somehow. The fact that I spent five minutes trying to throw food into it’s mouth when I should have in fact been doing no such thing is testament to the immersive nature of the game; it doesn’t feel like you just try one thing and move on when it doesn’t work like you usually would; it feels more like you can try things more than once and the next time it just might work. Like in life.
Moment: In control without a controller (chosen by Maffoo)
Have you ever wanted to head the football like a real football? Then… go outside and play football. On a serious note, this is such a fun alternative to that; the tutorial really gets you involved and teaches you how to play the game. I got so into it I was throwing my head all around the living room (apparently). I think it gave the VR a great time to shine as you didn’t have to use the controllers, it concentrated solely on the VR headset, which has seriously sold the kit to me. Let me just talk about the game, it’s as if your based in a prison, I know strange right. The graphics are pretty sharp and responsive, when you have a ball fly at your head it just shows the response in the headset and how precise the camera really is. It’s a difficult game though trying to get those balls in the net, you need to master that heading skill.
Until Dawn: Rush Of Blood
Moment: TERROR. ALL THE TERROR (chosen by Maffoo)
So, being the only person at NGB who is man enough to play a horror game, I had a go on one of the PlayStation VR launch games Rush of Blood. The game is based around you being sat in a rollercoaster and you are being taken around on this ride. I love the fact that you are sat in the rollercoaster and you can look around everywhere.
The designers have captured the eeriness of the game really well, with just the right amount of light and an amazing collection of sound effects; with the right headphones it really adds to experience of the game. The main thing I loved about this game is the feel, with the headset on I really felt like I’m in the game, and the way that the Move controllers were that sensitive to how and where I moved was brilliant. I think if you play that game on your own with the sound right up, you will literally POO yourself.
Moment: BIG SPIDER (chosen by Jonathan)
Okay, sometimes VR is also good for showing you really big things that make you think OH DEAR just like any other game. Having spent the demo of FPS Farpoint shooting at spiders that are larger than a spider has any right to be but are smaller than, say, a horse, the mission ends with a house-sized horror emerging from a cave, presumably to fuck you right up. The demo lets you panic for a minute or so about how on earth you’re going to deal with this (I just hid behind a rock) before mercifully fading to black, but it was a great immersive moment.
So there you have it, our 6 favourite moments in PSVR thus far, and the thing isn’t even out yet. Despite this, there’s a range from ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ to running and screaming, and also potentially soiling yourself it appears. Truly something for everyone.
Let us know yours too, because it’s nice to be sociable isn’t it. Follow Maffo on Twitter @SIRGOLDING (I don’t know why he insists on it being in capitals) or me @jonnafang. Like, share and subscribe, so on so forth.