Back when we at FinalBoss io were kids, we’d dream of VR without even knowing what it was. Playing driving games we’d complain about how unrealistic it was that the in-car camera always faced dead on forwards instead of turning when the car turned. The turn speeds in First Person Shooters made us feel like a poorly constructed robot confined to tank tracks. Now, those dreams are a reality with PSVR!
For the last few months we’ve been playing Playstation’s answers to all of these woes in the form of PSVR. The headset that connects to your home console to put you right into the action, and gives you realistic camera controls.
Initially released in 2016, PSVR is already on its second version with much-improved styling and efficiency than the first. The headset features a 5.7-inch OLED panel displaying a resolution of 1080p. The headset also has a new processor unit which lets your friends see what you see on the TV, gives the ability of 3D audio to the attached stereo earphones, and accommodates HDR video input. On the body are nine positional LEDs that let the PlayStation Camera track 360-degree head movement.
How much does PVSR cost?
It really is some marvellous new age technology that you can have right in your living room, but all that power comes at a cost. A complete PSVR set will end up costing more than the PS4 you use to play it. With each peripheral having to be bought separately, all these costs soon add up. To get the best experience from the device, you will need; PSVR Headset £214.80, PlayStation Camera £61.98, and Playstation Move Controllers £71.87. All together coming in at a grand total of over £350.
What you get for this is extremely good. All are well made and feature an ergonomic and stylish look and feel. The set-up as a whole is the easiest VR kit that we have tried to jump into and use straight away. The move controllers lack a movement stick which does impact their functionality but also makes them more natural in your hands, focusing more on gestures than button pushes which is ideal when your eyes are encased in a helmet and you can’t see the buttons anyway.
How easy is it to set up PSVR?
The set-up is easy and straightforward. Just plug the wires into the holes they fit in. PlayStation has also numbered them to help. We do need to complain about just how many there are! For the full set-up, you will need six cables plugged into seven sockets. That’s right; splitters are involved. These have been significantly streamlined from the V1, but it is still a lot. We get that this is powerful stuff with a mass of data being sent here, there, and everywhere but we never realised how good we had it when controllers went wireless.
A small niggle which is annoying is that one of the cables involved is a USB running from the VR box to the PS4. For anyone pre-PS4 Pro this means you are losing 50% of your USB ports and you can forget about trying to charge both move controllers while everything is still plugged in. We recommend an external PS4 controller dock to keep everything neat and ready to play.
Also included is a trailing wire going from the VR processing box with visuals and sound to the headset. As much as we’ve tried to avoid it, we’ve stood on this and almost pulled our heads off literally every time we’ve played PSVR. You can even see Adam do this very thing in our PlayStation VR Worlds London Heist Playthrough.
What is it like to play PSVR?
So now we’ve finally got it up and running, let’s play! Originally we were a bit sceptical about the novelty of Virtual Reality, but once in the headset, it’s a whole new way of playing. It works as a totally escapist experience all alone by yourself with headphones in. More than once, we’ve been playing for hours not realising that the sun has gone down. Taking off the headset to find ourselves in the middle of a pitch black room.
The camera and LEDs work really well together meaning you can play in the dark and also with the TV turned off. The PSVR won’t annoy the neighbours but your random running and screaming might. It also works in a group setting with friends able to watch what is happening on a connected TV screen and changing players is quick and easy with the quick release head strap.
The headset works right out of the box but there are also a few more settings that will fine tune your experience including changing the eye screen brightness and measuring the distance between your eyes for optimum playback. You can also continue to use all other PS4 settings and features like sharing footage and images and streaming live from your VR view. The PS camera is disabled for streaming however as it’s already in use tracking your head.
We’ve tried all sorts of game genres to get a real feel of what is possible in the VR world. We’ve found the best to be Puzzle, Horror, and Shooting games. The ability to interact with the environment via the move controllers means that escape room games are truly going to be able to utilise Virtual Reality. Horror games like Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and The Inpatient come into their own now that the option to hide behind a cushion is gone. Combine this with 360 soundscapes and the player is put on absoulte edge. If you like raising your heart rate, we’d recommend these.
Some games that don’t work so well are ones where you change speed quickly and need to look around while moving. These can cause motion sickness incredibly quickly, only allowing you to play for a few minutes at a time. Several games have developed methods to get around this like jump teleporting instead of smooth movement. Megaton Rainfall adds horse blinker style darkness to your screen edges whenever you are turning with the controller or going backwards. This can spoil some games and for Megaton Rainfall we turned this setting off. Substantially increasing the immersion but also forcing us to have a break after every single mission.
Should I buy a PSVR?
PSVR is awesome tech. Get involved if you can afford to. Although still relatively new, PSVR is already at a stage where you don’t feel like beta tester anymore. Its value for money is not so great though. If you are going to purchase we’d recommend getting all of the extras including the PS Move controllers and stress that the system can’t be played for too long at any one time. Anyone interested in buying the system needs to realise that even though it will be the majority of your PS4 expenditure, it will probably be the minority of your PS4 gameplay. Even so, we own one, and we love it!