By Jay (GrimlockTheDino)
Release Date: October 13, 2016 Reviewed For: Playstation 4 Developed By: Sony
If you listen to the GameZilla podcast you know I have not been a huge fan of VR (virtual reality). I have tried most of the units out there and for the high cost of entry and lack of good software, I did not feel it was worth the price of admission. But something kept pulling me toward the PlayStation VR. I did not pre-order a PlayStation VR and had no intentions of buying one at launch. As we got closer to launch day I still had a feeling about PlayStation VR and decided I would attempt to find one on launch day. It has been a while since I went to a midnight release but I knew that was my only shot at the bundle package from Sony. I jumped out of my car and into line and luck was on my side I got the last $499.99 bundle model. I was still worried; it is a lot of money for a device I am not sold on but I went through with the purchase and added on two games: Rigs and Batman Arkham VR. I got home and set everything up, put the device on, and I was instantly sold. Around 4 am I realized I needed to go to bed (work was in 3 hours), but I already knew VR will change the way we all game; it already has for me.
I went with the $499.99 model; it comes with the PlayStation VR, two Move controllers, camera, and a game called PlayStation Worlds. It's a solid deal, as buying everything separately runs about $600. First thing I noticed was that this device was boxed very nicely; it felt good to open, like you were opening a very premium product. Once I had everything out of the box, my first thought was, "Man, there are a lot of cords here." After following the quick set up guide, I had everything ready to go and even though there was a lot of cords it was a very easy set up. The headset is light but feels like a quality piece of equipment. I was very happy with the feel and finish of the product. After opening everything and setting it up to use for the first time, the excitement started to build and the thought of, "OMG I spent how much???" was slowly being forgotten.
This section will be focusing on the three games I purchased at launch. I only want to give my opinion on the games I have actually played, but I will include a few extra launch titles to check out.
- PlayStation VR Worlds - Is the game that came with my Playstation VR bundle. PlayStation VR Worlds contains 5 separate mini experiences. London Heist: a fun rail shooter that takes you through several intense chase/shooting situations. This is the best of the 5 mini games/experiences. Ocean Descent comes in second place with a fun underwater experience. This however is not really a game, just more of a demo showing of the potential of the headset. Scavenger's Odyssey is a space exploration mini game, setting you off to search for a lost artifact. Unfortunately this mini game is almost as boring as No Man's Sky. Danger Ball is a very basic 3D Pong. Using your head to hit the ball around gets old really quickly. The issue with this game is that a better game (Headmaster) launched on the same day. The real potential for this game lies in multiplayer, which was a mode that does not exist in Danger Ball. Overall this game feels like a rushed mini game added at the last minute. VR Luge is our last mini game and by far the worst. Racing down a road at high speeds on a luge sounds like an amazing adrenaline rush but VR Luge loses all this feeling with lackluster game design. The worst part is as you race by cars and trucks, controlling yourself by moving your head, if you hit one do not worry you will simply ghost through it with no penalty. This autopilot simulation of luge is a joke and should have been left off this disc. Overall I can't be too upset with the bundled game that came with my device, but you can buy this game separately for $39.99 and for that price I will tell you to stay away. Your money is better spent on other launch titles. GameZuki Score 4/10
- Batman Arkham VR - Wear the cowl in this awesome VR experience. Batman Arkham VR is a great time where you get to become Batman! Using the PlayStation Move controllers, you get a full experience of virtual reality as you explore the Batcave and other locations within Rocksteady's Arkham series. The game's story will take about 90 mins as you try to solve a murder-mystery with some extra modes to be found in the Batcave, like target practice and Riddler's puzzle solving. Overall for a $19.99 game, the price is worth the admission to be the BAT! GameZuki Score 7/10
- Rigs: Mechanized Combat League - Rocket League mashed with giant mechs! Created by Guerrilla Cambridge as a launch title for the PlayStation VR. Take 3v3 mech battles and add both a football and basketball mode and you have Rigs. This is my favorite launch title I purchased. Being inside of a mech and flying around battling instantly showed me how VR is going to change gaming for everyone. From light-weight speed mechs to monstrous tanky mechs, the variety of options is solid and each mech feels unique. The 3 game modes you get to choose from (Team Takedown, Endzone, and Powerball) are all enjoyable and make you choose different mechs depending on the situation. Online matches are a lot of fun with very smooth game play. One issue I found with online game play was lack of actual players; I found myself fighting or teamed up with AI when the matchmaking failed to find me actual human teammates and opponents. Ranked online matches are a fun mode built around divisions and 10 game advancement seasons. You start in division 10 and I have progressed to division 5 and enjoyed every minute of the online ranked mode. Offline has you pick a team and begin your rookie career again in 10 game seasons. You work your way through your season playing all three game modes and participating in a side tournament each season. As you improve and grow a fan base, you get access to better AI pilots that want to be your teammates, for a cut of your profits of course. I have completed my first season with the Dragons and won league 3. I'm now starting my next season in league 2. I can feel the AI difficulty increase greatly and besides the AI making some very stupid decisions I have really enjoyed offline game play. Overall Rigs is a fantastic game that is easy to pick up; it feels fantastic while running around in a giant mech and battling others in what feels like a true future sport. Using real locations like Nevada, Dubai, and Rio, and building futuristic battle grounds surrounded by actual landmarks, really gives you the sense of being in the mech in an actual location. Guerrilla Cambridge took their time even on the small things like sitting in your team plane after a match and watching a hologram celebration from that match's MVP. Then turning your head to look out the plane window and see that you're flying through the air; these small points of detail continue the feel of being in the game. Rigs retails for $49.99 and it's worth every penny. If you like Rocket League, this is the same fun except you get to be in the game. GameZuki Score 8.5/10
Overall performance of the PlayStation VR has been solid. Easy set up and play makes getting into learning about your new device easy. The visuals are not the sharpest but they are better than what I expected for a Gen 1 device with launch titles. The surround sound is so immersive and really helps the illusion of actually being inside the game. Lens fogging was a slight issue; I had both my glasses' and the device's lenses fog a few times where I had to stop playing and adjust the headset to get better ventilation. I was very impressed with the overall performance of the PlayStation VR and look forward to seeing this technology continue to advance.
The PlayStation VR is very comfortable to wear and only after long multi-hour sessions did I find myself adjusting the device. The device does an amazing job distributing its weight evenly on your head. The only small issue I have is the cord running from the device can be a pain and get in the way sometimes. The topic of motion sickness has not been an issue for me or anyone who I have let try the device. Software features built into several games help create a tunnel vision effect to help eliminate motion sickness. My longest session with the PlayStation VR was 6 hours and besides my eyes being slightly tired, I had no negative symptoms from using the device. I can say my pre-purchase thoughts around comfort and length of play time of this device were blown out of the water. The PlayStation VR is well-designed and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Overall, the PlayStation VR is a very impressive and promising device that shows the potential of Virtual Reality within the gaming industry. This first gen VR device is not for everyone, with a high buy-in of $400-500 and VR not being mainstream currently, PlayStation VR has an uphill battle ahead of itself. But for early adapters and hardcore gamers, this device is something you should consider adding to your collection. At launch there are games you should play and own and right around the corner we are getting games like Resident Evil 7 and Star Wars Battlefront VR. From indie to AAA developers, the VR industry is getting support from all angles. I do think this is the future of gaming and I am glad I took the day one plunge into PlayStation VR. It's a pricey beginning with a very bright future.