There’s a ton riding on PlayStation VR as the mainstream champion of virtual reality.
Though it arrived half a year later than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the very fact there have been already nearly fifty million PS4 consoles in people’s lounge (and currently simply over that number) meant it had a definite advantage. What number of people do you know who might afford additional to drop than $1,000 on a computer and high-end headset? What percentage people do you know who might afford a PS VR? precisely.
But that also means it’ll be most people’s introduction to ‘good’ VR. With compromises created on the hardware to attain that price, PlayStation VR isn’t excellent. However, it’s going after console gamers exhausting, and ultimately, it’s still a stunning PS4 accessory. What is more, currently five months since launch, the library is far stronger with some must-have titles that feel like complete games, not simply demos to showcase the potential of this technology. Oh yeah, and every one of this appears to be paying off nicely once you look into how well the system is selling.
Right now, the HTC Vive still stands because of the benchmark of high-end VR, though the Oculus Rift is barely trailing back, and is about to have some pretty fantastic games later this year. PlayStation VR is mainstream VR straight away – thus is it worth jumping in?
Sony PlayStation VR review: Setup
Sony has found a decent balance regarding keeping the PlayStation VR practical and accessible; it’s perhaps not as plug-and-play as we’d like, but it is a darn sight easier to put along than the HTC Vive. Simply set up your PlayStation Camera first – this is often sold separately but needed to play, not an extra just like the Move controllers – then follow the directions to connect all the proper cables from the Processor Unit to your PlayStation 4.
Read this: PlayStation VR tips and tricks.
The primary factor to remember is that this box suits a pass-through for your HDMIs – one operates from the TV into the unit, another from the group to the PS4. One little niggle: this will affect HDR performance on your TV. Thus you’ll be wanting to change it off once you are done with the headset.
Then you connect the headset itself to the Processor Unit – we’d suggest going with the longer cable here thus you’ll be able to rotate comfortably – and power on the PlayStation VR via the in-line controls, which also combine volume and mic buttons.
That’s just about it, and while we’ve maybe made it sound simple, there are still lots of cables to manage. If you are a very little precious regarding having no wires within the lounge, it’s challenging to create everything look neat. However, because it does not use the same play area as the HTC Vive, you almost certainly will not be moving a lot of furniture around, if any, to create room for the PlayStation VR. There is not any room mapping required. You simply got to tinker with the Camera to line it up together with your head and ensure there is nothing in swinging distance for you to interrupt. Sony recommends playing PlayStation VR sitting instead of standing, sitting five feet from the Camera with enough area on either side for you to lunge/duck/turn.
It helps if your PlayStation 4 is near your TV because the standard PlayStation Camera wire is pretty short and this has to both attach to your console and be able to see your face.
All in all, setup is fairly easy, and a couple of months on, we’ve had few reasons to disconnect any of the kits. As we said, you’ll be able to shut down the Processor Unit without disconnecting any wires. Thus there isn’t any reason to disconnect PlayStation VR once it’s set up.
You always know wherever you’re with the menus – once you’ve got downloaded some VR games (which will take a while), they simply appear in your regular PS4 menu for you to pick. This appears in VR too handling PlayStation’s cinematic Mode – it is a 2D screen floating in a blank 3D area, and you’ll be able to press the PS key on your DualShock to quit apps and games and go back to that at any time, that is reassuring.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Design and comfort
The PlayStation VR’s blue lights do not just act as tracking points. Therefore, the camera will follow your head around. However, they make the headset look damn lovely too. It is also comfortable. The plastic head strap distributed the load more equally than the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, whereas the full crown section on your forehead makes sure it remains comfy once in place.
Once it’s on, it senses very light, even at 610g. Even after an hour of Job Simulator, it ought to still be comfy on your head, and with bigger games like Resident Evil 7, this comfort is a vital requirement.
There’s no pass-through camera to visualize what is going on in the real world, but there’s a brilliant handy button on the bottom of the headset that slides the screen back and forth to induce a secure fit, or to ascertain the whereabouts of your cat. The headset’s cord tends to induce within the way less than the HTC Vive, particularly as you will not be moving regarding as much. However, take care that you do not find yourself yanking the PlayStation 4 from below your TV with any significant movements – or at least make sure to have the extension wire in. In our few months of using it, there are a couple of times wherever we’ve pulled the Processor Unit out by mistake.
There are some flaws with the look. The plastic strap helps with the load, but it will be a little tricking to get on and off, also with the button and dial to loosen the headband. Watch out to not catch your hair (if you’ve got it) once you pull it off by not extending the band enough.
The rubber sections around your face, and significantly to the sides, feel flimsy and do not provide you with that secure feeling of being enclosed like the soft HTC Vive or even a Gear VR. Also if they do not let any light in if you bash the side by accident throughout a game, say, it will flex and make a number of the world around in which is precisely what you do not need. It will be slightly distracting, and typically a bit sweaty.
Then there is the fog. We’ve got ourselves wiping down the lenses quite a few times in our months of using the ps VR. Granted, this is often a problem shared by all virtual reality headsets, but the ps VR is a lot of susceptible than some of those we’ve tried. Not a dealbreaker, however not ideal.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Display
While PlayStation VR needs some things of its computer counterparts, its display, a single 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 OLED, is mighty spectacular. The two Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have two displays a-piece and what we’ve got here on the PS VR could be a similar size to a Note phone in a Gear VR. However, it’s very sharp because of the RGB tech with three sub-pixels per pixel. That makes it harder to note the lines between every pixel than on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with a less noticeable screen door result, though it still pops up from time to time.
Its one hundred degrees field of view is slightly smaller than Oculus Rift or Vive (and some mobile VR headsets now), but the PlayStation VR has a refresh rate of (up to) 90Hz, or maybe 120Hz using its ‘reprojection’ tech.
The VR worlds you will explore looks rich, spirited and immersive on display and as Sony boasts, we tend to encounter little visible lag within the pictures because of its less than 18ms latency. Of course, some of this may return all the way down to the games themselves.
We should additionally say that if you have been spoiled by the HTC Vive, you’ll likely notice the distinction in quality. However, the reality is that a lot of folks haven’t used HTC Vive nevertheless or cannot afford it, and therefore the gap between the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR is tiny enough that this may be ok to impress most. After many months of exploitation it alongside the other headsets, we tend to feel still like this can be the case.
So it is not mindblowing VR headset display but, combined with the more extensive library of games currently on the market, it’s quite good enough to help you feel like you’ve got taken a proper leap into virtual reality.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Tracking and performance
This is not a VR system designed for a lot of physical input, and that is okay. If you are happy sitting down and getting the fun of moving your head, ducking and turning spherical to shoot in several directions, then you’re well served here. The 1:1 head tracking by the PlayStation Camera is nice when you are properly positioned and, in games where you’ll be able to see the DualShock as an animation in VR (like Tumble VR), small movements are tracked well.
When we tend first to review the PS VR, we were using the now-outdated PlayStation Camera, and it works, however, we’d suggest getting the upgraded model with the tiltable stand. It’ll save you plenty of faffs.
As we said, the tracking is excellent once you position correctly, and one of the PS VR’s annoying flaws is that this tech is not as forgiving as we’d like. The camera has a restricted viewing angle, and things also get dodgy once you flip your head and it’s to track the back of the headset. We’ve also had some instances in our extended time with PS VR of the motion controllers going AWOL once the tracking has come unstuck. We’d wish to see Sony deliver a tracking system that does not throw us outside of the play area thus often.
If you are in a game and the perspective goes awry you’ll be able to hold down the ‘options’ on a DualShock to recalibrate your view, that is fast and works like a charm. But if you switch players of different heights or fancy standing up, you will even have to recalibrate the Camera that quickly becomes annoying and is difficult to do with just one person.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Controllers
A real purpose for the PlayStation VR is that you will just play along with your DualShock controller that you already have (thus saving money). However, you’ll be wanting to get some PlayStation Move Motion Controllers to take advantage of everything PS VR has got to provide.
If you do not already own the PS Move Motion Controllers, you can purchase the new redesigned, rebranded stick controllers either in a bundle or individually. There is a ton of freedom, and also the PS VR Aim Controller – the gun formed one who can work with the sci-fi game Farpoint – will be a part of the options soon enough too.
The PlayStation Camera tracked the PS Move Controllers quite enough, however, as we said, just make sure your setup is tight.
In some games, the two hand controls make it – reloading guns, holding open the hood of a car with one hand whereas you tinker around inside, etc. They don’t seem to be as intuitively designed as Oculus Touch and do not have finger tracking however they are smaller, lighter and fewer unwieldy than Vive’s controllers. By pressing ‘start’, you’ll be able to recalibrate your view however we often find ourselves using the DualShock to navigate menus till we got into the game.
But as we write these many months after launch, we’d wish to see a lot of games using the PS Move controllers over the DualShock gamepad. For a few games, it makes sense to go for a lot of traditional controllers, we get that, however as the HTC Vive and currently, the Oculus Rift is proving, the future of VR lies in motion controls. Hopefully, we’ll see some excellent new ideas unveiled at E3 2017.
As the PlayStation VR Aim shows, the VR peripheral marketplace for PlayStation VR can be vast, and it’s one thing HTC is attempting to do with its Vive Trackers. We also would not be stunned to see more from Sony. The PS Move Controllers weren’t built from the ground up for VR except for now they do a good – if not perfect – job.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Motion sickness
We can’t ignore motion sickness on the PS VR, and even after many months of using it, it’s still a problem that sometimes rears its head. It’s significantly been highlighted once showing off games to friends, and it is simple to tell that games are a lot of likely to cause it.
Driveclub VR may be a prime suspect, as are typically the games that involve high velocity – mainly if they do not look up to scratch. We’ve had a couple of bouts of mild motion sickness with the PS VR. A lot of so than with more expensive headsets like HTC Vive.
It does tend to depend on the person too. Numerous members of the team experienced some nausea ranging from barely noticeable to on the verge of genuinely throwing up once playing for over an hour. Sony says to take a fifteen minutes break once an hour and that we strongly advise sticking to this, regardless of how tempting it’s not to.
In slower games, and ones with a static viewpoint like Job Simulator, it’s a big problem, however still keep an eye out for headaches and eye strain. Again, regular breaks are strongly suggested.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Games
Before launch, Sony created a big deal about what number developers it had working on PS VR titles, and soon five months down the road there is a good handful of must-play games for Sony’s virtual reality system.
Resident Evil 7 made a giant splash once it arrived earlier in 2017, not just because it is an excellent back-to-roots sequel in its right, however, because it may be played from start to end with PS VR. Our review? Spooky as hell. The visuals do take a hit, and a few people have noticed it be a nauseating experience (and not thanks to the gore). However, the fact that there is a full-length game with a name as massive as Resident Evil’s stamped on that is good news for PS VR.
Other current favorites include I Expect You To Die, an escape the room puzzler; Psychonauts in the rhombus of Ruin, and Battlezone. There are some impressive games around the corner too, as well as Star Trek: Bridge Crew, that guarantees good things for multiplayer, however, if games were the factor holding you back from shopping for a PS VR at launch, fear no longer.
Speaking of multiplayer, we’re beginning to see a lot of cross-play with other VR systems. EVE: Valkyrie can now allow you to take on Rift and Vive, while Ubisoft also brought the support in Eagle Flight, and guarantees future games, as well as Star Trek: Bridge Crew, will have the same.
Another bonus is that the PS VR’s social and sharing options both in the form of capturing your VR gameplay (it takes the proper eye view) and live streaming to the likes of Twitch. It’s one thing that Sony has promised to take on too, significantly with bringing in other non-headset wearing players within the room.
For now, the PS VR is perhaps still missing that one, good ‘killer app’, however, there are some extremely recommended games, and given its only five months old that feels good to say. Sony’s VR system is off to an excellent start, and that we just expect it keeps its full weight following it through 2017 and beyond. E3 is guaranteed to bring some surprises, and Sony has every probability of making this the year it dominated virtual reality.