So, a few weeks back I came across a Skyrim VR bundle for $149 in my local Walmart. I didn't have the money to get it at the exact moment, so I didn't pick it up. Unfortunately, it didn't dawn on me to put it on layaway until it was too late and, of course, it was gone when I went back after BF and all the bundles were marked back up to their original prices. Fortunately, last night I went in there and they still had one BF 5 game bundle, and whether by mistake or by choice, it was marked back down to the BF price of $199, so I grabbed it. I haven't downloaded the games, yet, but I did try out the demo disc and some games I already own that had VR support, so I wanted to share my feeling on a few (not all) of the games I tried.
This is a game overflowing with cuteness and its use of VR is great. You are basically seeing the level slightly from above, while you control the mouse in the game, as well as a floating orb you use to interact with the environment. You start in the little mouse's home before venturing out. It's just so crazy being able to lean into the level to look up closer to the character, who will look up at you when you do so. You really just want to reach out and pet the little guy. The second screen after this does something seemingly so simple, but uses it to show off the benefits of VR. There is a wooden gate that blocks your view of the mouse when he walks behind it, but you can simply lean forward and look down to see over it. Like I said, so simple, but it still amazed me being able to do it.
This has a simple concept, move your head forward to headbutt soccer balls into a goal. What makes it great is the presentation and changing challenges. You appear to be in a jail yard at night with only a few lights on and an announcer instructing you from a PA system sitting on a big scoreboard to the left of the net. It's amazing being able to look up at the sky and behind you, even with not much going on in those areas. The demo actually struck some fear into me at the end, only to become awesome as all Hell, and a definite buy in the future.
You see, the lights turn off after each challenge and the next is setup before the lights come back on, leaving you in near complete darkness. Well, when the last challenge is set up you just see this huge black shadow and the sound of machinery running. Then, the announcer is yelling at the one controlling the challenges that you're not ready for the next challenge. I literally said, "Oh shit, what's about to happen?" Then, out of nowhere, they start pumping heavy metal through the PA and the yard is lit up with flames and a few lights. The machinery is a metal gate/door that opens and shuts really quick blocking the net. Sadly, the demo ends here, but I will definitely be getting this game.
This is the infamous demo that was revealed to be a tease for RE7. You're in a dirty kitchen, sitting in a chair with your hands tied in front of you. There's a guy laying on the ground and you a camera in front of you. It's crazy how relatively smooth and accurate the tracking of your controller is with your virtual hands. You push the camera over and it wakes up the guy on the floor. It turns out you know each other and he tries to get you out of there. Seeing the guy walk up and stand next you is an interesting sensation. Like you're really there. Eventually you both are attacked by an evil woman who kills and beheads your friend before staring you in the face and then stabbing you. I thought it was pretty damn cool, and I can see why some were freaked out by that demo.
This is a game I already had, but supports VR. I didn't play too much of it, but God what a great experience. Looking all over and seeing all of the abstract parts of the level that you may have missed when playing it normally. It's also fun to look at the characters up close. The main character will also look back at you, something many VR games are thankfully adding. In this one you hit the right analog stick to snap into different camera positions. At one point, I hit back to change the camera, and I was about chest deep in the floor. Here it was fun having the character jump and cartwheel over you, or just dance (for those unfamiliar with the game, the main character moves by performing ballet) around you, as you turned to follow her.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
This is one of the games that came with the bundle, but I only played the demos so far. If you are a fan of Mario, or games along those lines, you are doing yourself a disservice if you never play this. I didn't know what to expect from this game, but was blown away immediately at seeing the premise. You are a floating robot (you can see yourself on random screens in the level) that has a DS4 controller that house the little bots. One of them has a cape and it is his job to save the others, who when rescued will fly back into your controller. As soon as you start the first level, you flick the saver bot out of your controller and he lands on the ground. I looked to my left and to my right and spotted two different sets of stairs that led to platforms where you collect coins. And you can't see it at first, but for the one on the left, if you bend over just a bit and lean to the right, you see a big coin that was hidden. Each level is like this, looking around corners and under parts of the level to find hidden coins and bots to save.
And there are parts that just stun you. Like in the first stage you see these giant robot hands come up and destroy part of the level. In the second, a jumbo jet flies by. And I'm not sure about the rest, but the first world boss was a sight to behold. At the beginning you get a grappling hook and ride up a giant elevator to the top of a skyscraper. Here, a King Kong size robot gorilla, whose hands were in the first level, climbs up and you have to fight him. Your little bot has to break one of his teeth, revealing a hook that you use your newly acquired grappling hook to pull the rest of the tooth out, hurting the boss even more. Just seeing that big guy in your face is almost breathtaking.
There are some cons, though.
I found 2 things that I could say are negatives about the PS VR. One was motion sickness. Now, in games where you mostly are still, like Moss, Headmaster, and Kitchen, I felt none. In games where you move slower, like AB:RM and Battle Zone (the cockpit view is really cool), I didn't really experience any, either. However, I did try Thumper and Wipeout, and I definitely got motion sickness from playing them for just a min or two. Fast motions are just not great in VR. This may be different for some.
The second is resolution. While it doesn't take away from enjoying the games, you can definitely see that the PS VR is a lower resolution than playing normally. Especially if you look at how sharp the game looks on the TV, which is what others around you will see. In darker areas, the screen door effect is more noticeable, too, though nowhere as bad as it was when I used my phone for VR, which is also 1080p. And it is still pretty cool playing movies (2D and 3D) and regular games on a simulated theater screen, if you don't mind the drop.
In the end, I had a blast experimenting with the PS VR, so far, despite a couple of drawbacks. I can safely say, I am pumped for PS VR2, which should address the lower resolution and maybe improve the motion sickness. Though, that last one might just be me. I don't exactly like rollercoasters or rides that whip you around real fast.Last edited by thismeintiel - on 14 December 2019