PlayStation VR Worlds (PSVR)
Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
Release Date: Out Now
Nausea: Limited-Strong VR Legs Required (Dependant on game)
Controllers: DS4 & Move Compatible
PS4 PRO Enhanced
Playstation VR Worlds features some great, and some not so great, short gameplay experiences that everyone should try – but is it worth the price-tag?
VR Worlds comes with four games and one experience for you to try out. None of them last a huge amount of time but one of them features a moment I would class as one of my most memorable and enjoyable gaming experiences ever.
VR Worlds works best when it’s your first VR experience. It’s not that the game has less to offer if it’s not, but overall it does seem less impressive – mostly due to the length of the games included. This was my first VR experience and I was blown away – by the menu screen no less.
All of the games can be played with just a DS4 (some require no controller), though The London Heist is best played with two Move controllers.
Luge is both one of the more simplistic games included, and the ugliest. It’s also rather dull, especially after the first few tries. The only goal here is to get down a mountain as quickly as possible, weaving through oncoming traffic and successfully navigating tight turns. Movement is controlled by tilting your head, a control method that can take getting used to. The sweet spot between your character not turning at all and careening off into the side of the road can be challenging at first.
There are three levels and you are given a certain amount of time to complete them all. The countdown clock does not reset from level to level, but rather gives you a few extra seconds depending on how quickly you finished.
It’s probably the worst of the bunch and a pretty forgettable experience overall. I don’t see myself coming back to it anytime soon.
This was my first VR experience, other than the overwhelmingly impressive menu screen. You don’t actually do anything here other than take in your surroundings. You are inside a submersible diver’s cage and fixed to the spot. Although you don’t do anything you still find yourself completely immersed. I found myself holding my breath and was greatly relieved when I realised I wasn’t going to drown.
It starts off calm enough – there are some lovely looking fish to gaze at and the cage feels so real I put my real-life hand out to grab it – and felt silly when I’d realised what I’d done. And then you begin your descent. It’s here you realise that this isn’t a trip for the faint hearted. After a malfunction with the lights and the discovery of an ancient wreck the shark appears. Suffice to say I recoiled in horror on several occasions, which then had me giggling in delight.
There is another mode available that is slightly less terrifying; you do not descend but instead stay near the surface and can take in the relaxing surroundings. I don’t expect many to replay this very often but it could be a nice way to unwind after a particularly stressful day.
Ocean Descent is a great experience and I highly recommend it as your first VR experience, or using it as a great way to showcase the technology to others.
No console would be complete without some sort of homage to Pong and PSVR is no different. I always enjoyed Pong but playing a VR version is something else entirely. There are several modes including the Championship mode in which you battle it out against several A.I. rivals and a Score Attack mode in which you attempt to play for as long as possible without losing all of your balls, increasing your high score as you go.
This is another game that you control by moving your head, but this one is much more intuitive. You may miss a few balls at the beginning but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Learning to hit back at your opponent with a curve ball is very satisfying. This is a mode I imagine lots of people will come back to every so often – the online leaderboard certainly helps with longevity.
Sci-fi is the genre in which I think VR will really take off; taking us to new worlds that we could never hope to visit in the real world. Scavenger’s Odyssey however, may just make the majority of people sick. This was the first game in which I felt any nausea and I have to admit that even though my ‘VR legs’ are a lot stronger than they were at launch, I still find it hard to make it through a level.
You find yourself in a sort of mechanised spacesuit, loaded with guns, a grappling hook and the ability to jump onto certain walls and platforms. You make your way through linear levels, fending off hundreds of small of space-bugs and their larger mothers. When you first look down at your arms you’ll realise that you’re not entirely human. It was very cool having alien arms and hands.
I must admit I’ve only made it through the first level so far. By the time I’d acclimatised to VR and gotten my ‘legs’ I had already moved onto other games.
The London Heist
Now this is where it’s at. The London Heist has two playable levels and several scenes in between. These aren’t your normal cutscenes, however. You can look around – though you are unable to move your character – and in one scene set in a pub you can pick up a lighter, light a cigar and actually smoke. If you breathe in the microphone imbedded in the headset will pick up the sound and mimic the effect of real-life smoking.
The pub scene was so immersive I felt like I could stretch my hand out and feel the leather of the chair I was sitting on. There are no words descriptive enough to explain how VR can feel when it’s at its best and most immersive.
And those aren’t even the playable levels. The first has you ducking for cover and shooting enemies that are trying to encroach on your position. But the better of the two levels is the ‘Getaway’. You are a passenger in the getaway van and various enemies, on motorcycles and in cars, will try to shoot you down. The level was so immersive I could almost feel the wind – when my friend played I actually did turn on a fan and point it at him, to which he screamed, “I can feel the wind!”
The feeling of speeding down a motorway whilst looking all around you for enemies and shooting them down is definitely a gaming moment I will never forget. After my first go my face ached from the incessant amount of grinning it had endured.
The story is clichéd but it really doesn’t matter. The game, though short, is so exhilarating you’d be mad to let an unoriginal story sully your experience. It’d be criminal if we don’t get a full-length sequel to this. The game mechanics don’t even need to change; an on-the-spot or on-the-rails shooter would be more than acceptable – I just want more of it. There is an extra Shooting Gallery mode with several different levels, with a leaderboard to help keep you coming back.
All in the all Playstation VR Worlds is a collection of some great experiences. Some may argue that it should have come free with the headset, and that is a valid point. But it’s not free, and you’d be doing yourself and anyone you introduce VR to, a disservice if you did not have these titles in your collection.
Verdict: 8/10 – VR is here and this is a great way to experience it for the first time.