PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up – part 1

The PlayStation VR2 brings high-fidelity VR gaming to the PlayStation 5. In the PS5, we finally have a console powerful enough to deliver AAA VR games and experiences without the technical limitations that faced the original PlayStation VR headset. There are still compromises, but you’ll still find similar compromises in premium PC VR headsets that are more than twice that of the PlayStation VR2.

Whilst there have been complaints about a dearth of games, especially first-party titles, the PSVR 2 launch library is still pretty healthy in my opinion. I’ve spent the last few weeks getting to grips with some of the games currently available for Sony’s new VR headset.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

Grand Turismo 7 has just got a free PSVR 2 update. Of all the PSVR 2 games I’ve sampled, Gran Turismo 7 is one of the real standouts. It’s an already great game that looks that much better in VR. I drove the Japanese Mazda Axela, a Mazda 3 in Australia, almost the same as the one I have in the garage, and it really felt like I was driving my car around Bathurst. I did find that the distant cars were a bit blurry, but that is to be expected as you are, in fact, looking at flat panels with far objects made up of fewer pixels.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

VR takes a competent racing simulator and makes you feel like you are driving a real car, looking into turns. You get an added bit of precision to your driving, as afforded by depth perception granted by the immersive 3D view. With the addition of a racing wheel (which doesn’t have to be mounted in front of the PS5), the experience is absolutely wild.

GT7 is an amazing game in both 2D and VR, and worth the price of admission into the PSVR 2 club if you are a keen racer.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

Horizon Call of the Mountain is Sony’s tentpole PSVR 2 launch title. Guerrilla has done a great job of expanding their post-apocalyptic Horizon franchise into VR. Having played and enjoyed both Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West it was pretty amazing to step into the game world and be completely immersed in it.

The game cast the player as Ryas, a captured warrior from the Shadow Carja, the antagonists in the Horizon games. As penance, he is sent on a potentially dangerous mission to investigate a potential threat to the Oseram people.

It was great to finally “meet” Aloy, the player’s character from the two other Horizon games, in the flesh, as it were. I was pretty impressed by the character models, which were not only very well modelled, but also seemed of a better proportional and realistic size compared to many other VR games.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

The gameplay is all about exploration, solving puzzles, combat, and climbing. Lots of climbing.

But to say that Horizon Call of the Mountain is a climbing game is the same as saying that the Uncharted games are climbing games or even Aloy’s adventure in the regular Horizon games. But as you are physically doing the work, it is more apparent.

Being able to interact with everything that’s not nailed down, throwing stuff, and checking things out, all with realistic physics is amazing. When climbing, I touched some little blades of grass, peeking out of the rock face, and it moved as my virtual hand brushed against it. That’s some incredible attention to detail. Seeing the huge metal beasts of the Horizon games in VR is at once exhilarating and terrifying.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

The bow and arrow mechanics work well. Using a bow and arrow in VR has been something I’ve enjoyed since the very dawn of PC VR. You also unlock a host of other equipment that’ll be familiar to fans of the series. My favourite is the grapple, especially if you have to jump over a chasm being swinging to safety. A breathtaking experience.

The game is a great showcase of the PSVR 2’s technical ability, even if it does seem to push the PS5 to its limits. There was a bit of re-projection going on and blur in some areas, especially if I moved quickly.

Horizon Call of the Mountain is rare in that it is a true dedicated VR triple-A game.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

Tetris Effect: Reconnected on PSVR 2 takes the classic puzzle game that was already reimagined for the 2D version and thrusts it into an immersive, encompassing 3D space. It’s a far cry from the monochrome version I first played on the Gameboy.

The classic gameplay remains but with each level introducing variations to keep things interesting. Levels are half-filled with blocks and with blocks falling at varying speeds. There’s even an online multiplayer option.

The surreal backgrounds that looked so awesome in the original Tetris Effect envelop players with images and lights swirling all around them. The pulse-pumping soundtrack thumps in time with the visuals with the sense controllers vibrating in time. Tetris Effect: Reconnected is as much a VR experience as it is a game. This is the most immersive Tetris I’ve ever played.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

It is still Tetris, so if you are that one person in the world that has never been hypnotised by tumbling shapes made from four squares, you may wonder what the fuss is all about. But there is a purity to Tetris that transcends all other game design. Deceptively simple, incredibly stressful the next, and yet at the same time absolutely enthralling.

Tetris Effect Reconnected may sound pedestrian compared to many of the other PSVR 2 titles out there but it shouldn’t be overlooked. The game’s inherent purity and hypnotic audio-visual design make it a zen-like VR experience.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

Dyschronia: Chronos Alternative is a very Japanese anime-inspired RPG mystery game. Players step into the boots of Special Supervisor Hal in the domed city of Astrum Close a place with a nigh-on zero crime rate. That’s until Professor Albert Rumford dies in suspicious circumstances. As Hal, players are charged with solving the case via investigation-stye puzzles.

This is a game for fans of the genre. Players used to more traditional action games may not gel with the sometimes-convoluted conversations.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

It’s probably worth playing just for the bat-shit crazy anime-style intro sequence that looks amazing in VR. I found the actual gameplay a bit on the slow side. It’s an odd, but nice-looking game, but perhaps too strange for me.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

Jurassic World Aftermath Collection is a VR game based on the movie franchise, ported over from Oculus Quest 2 for the PlayStation VR2. Originally in two parts, the PSVR 2 version combines them together into one adventure.

The game starts with the player crashing on Isla Nublar after the events of the Jurassic Park movie. Hunted by dinosaurs, players must use stealth and distractions as they make their way through an abandoned reassert facility. There are plenty of puzzles and doors that need opening

The cell-shaded design style is interesting if a bit old-school. But it does make for a clean and uncluttered VR experience even if it takes away from the terror of being confronted with a dinosaur. The cartoon look also makes the game a little more palatable for young or less squeamish players.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

Even though the game is a couple of years old, the design style makes it still feel fresh. It is also available for the Nintendo Switch, but you can see that it has obviously been made with VR in mind. Players are teased and subjected to jump scares that would lose all effect in 2D.

Jurassic World Aftermath Collection is a fun way for a virtual reality dip into the Jurassic Park franchise and is worth a look.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

Demeo mixes up a table-top role-playing and real-time strategy with a sprinkling of Dungeons and Dragons, throwing in card-based abilities for good measure.

The game is not a PSVR 2 exclusive. The VR role-playing game has been available for various PC VR headsets as well as for flat monitor play for a while. It’s a gameplay idea that’s really suited to VR and the PSVR 2 does a great job with it.

The premise will be familiar to anyone that’s played a game of Dungeons and Dragons or its ilk. Up to four adventurers, either controlled by the player or others, in online multiplayer, must make their way through a dungeon, defeating monsters and collecting treasure. Each dungeon has a locked exit door and the party needs to find the key.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

As all the action takes place right in front of you, I didn’t get distracted by the PSVR 2’s grainy OLED mura pattern. Demeo looks crisp and clear, and I should think so too, as VR and AR is the developer, Resolution Games’ bread and butter.

Players can choose to populate (or control in MP) their party from several different characters, each representing a different class. I chose a bard, an assassin, a sorcerer, and a barbarian for my first party. There’s also a guardian, a hunter, and a warlock. They are all pretty standard fantasy RGP archetypes.

The chapters are presented in the style of vintage Dungeons and Dragons campaign books. A wonderful touch that shows attention to detail.

PlayStation VR2: the games round-up - part 1

This is an incredible game that would likely be fun even in 2D. In VR, it’s your own tabletop fantasy RPG adventure. I can absolutely recommend this game.

The above is just a sampling of some of the titles available for the PlayStation VR2 headset. Come back soon, for part 2, as I take a look at some more virtual reality games for Sony’s PlayStation 5 VR headset.