PS VR First Impressions
Had my first opportunity to try out virtual reality. Glenn from PS Nation invited me to their hotel suite where he and two staff writers were set-up for the weekend. Huge thank you to Glenn, Dave and Michael for letting me crash their party for a couple hours and give PS VR a go.
First off I asked to play something that would give me a good intro to the tech. Didn't want to jump in too fast knowing that it could potentially be disorienting. Glenn and Dave suggested I play Ocean Descent from PlayStation VR Worlds.
Next step was getting all set-up. The headset has a couple adjustable points enabling it to fit comfortably on my head. Glenn helped me into the get up and fortunately the first game didn't require a controller so was just a matter of getting the headset on seated in front of the television.
I was then lowered in a shark tank deep into the depths of Ocean Descent. Being the first time I ever tried virtual reality, I proceeded to look just about everywhere. Up, down, left, right and even in a full 360 degrees. Was able to turn all the away around in my chair and see behind me.
The view was incredible. Beautiful fish swimming by, little deep sea drones searching the area with their bright lights and a rope that extended all the way up to the surface where I could still see the shadow of our boat. Extremely immersive except for not being able to see my legs, feet, arms or hands. Those were invisible.
Ocean Descent is a fairly short experience but I quite enjoyed it. Especially when the Great White Shark showed up and started bashing at the cage I was suspended in. Thank goodness the chair I was sitting on didn't move when the cage did. I probably would have lost it. Fascinating to see the giant shark swimming around the cage. Looked almost lifelike.
Next up I tried another PlayStation VR Worlds game, The London Heist. Liked this one even more than Ocean Descent. Felt like I was dropped as a main character in a good movie.
Started with my character being interrogated in a chair by a rough, gangster type. Think Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Reservoir Dogs. Literally felt like I was a character in one of those movies. A character who doesn't speak but is involved in a few conversations.
Used PlayStation Move controllers while playing The London Heist. The game screamed for it as there are objects that can be picked up and used. And fully interactive environments. Like when in a car and you can change stations on the radio, open glove box, adjust visor and more. I even lit a cigar and stuck it in my mouth at one point.
The story, albeit short, is excellent. There's some good suspense and tension and the game finishes with a fantastic shooting section. Being flanked by other vehicles and motorcyclists driving up ahead and then shooting back at you all whilst holding a gun in one hand (Move controller trigger as the gun trigger) and with the other hand/Move controller reaching into a duffle back and grabbing more ammo clips. Shooting felt solid too. By far the best experience I had with PS VR.
I played RIGS: Mechanized Combat League last and this is where things started to turn. All set up and ready to go when immediate excitement hit; saw the logo for Guerrilla Games on the screen (developed by Guerrilla Cambridge).
Playing on Glenn's account I wanted to perform well and not mess up his stats while also giving it a demo obviously. Was placed into a 5 minute match of Power Slam. Goal of game is to kill enemies to obtain Overdrive mode and then when in Overdrive mode jump through a ring in center of the field to score points. Won the match 5-4 but by the time I did, I wanted out of the headset bad.
Started to feel sick playing RIGS. It's a much faster paced game than the first two I played and also uses a controller in combination with the VR headset. Feels like playing an FPS with an added VR headset. Left controller stick to move, right controller stick to strafe and the headset to look and aim. Felt very disorienting frankly. I took the headset off at the half way point and took a minute break in order to get back in there and finish the match.
At this point it started to get worse. Happy to win and happier to finish, I tore the mask off (gently) and apologize for the amount of sweat my face left on the device. Sat still on the couch a few minutes until felt well enough to stand up and use the rest room.
Fortunately I didn't get physically ill. Unfortunately I felt sick the rest of the afternoon and evening. My take away, and until I can get some more time in with PS VR, is that I'm unsure if it's for me. The first two experiences, feeling immersed into a movie, were amazing and frankly I'd love to play more of those types of games. Playing the fast pace games however, like my experience in RIGS, seems better suited for the old fashioned, giant flat screen and controller. I wish I wasn't one to get the occasional motion sickness but I'm used to it now after many years. Still blame that plaid design my grandparents had in their Oldsmobile (blech). Never forget that one trip to the Fruit Ranch but will leave it at that.
Not meant to disparage PS VR as it appears the experience will be different person to person. Not everyone feels ill playing RIGS or the fast paced games. Heck, perhaps after a few more play sessions I could even get used to it and no longer feel sick. I'd encourage everyone interested to seek out a way to try it.
For me though, bring on more chill, movie-type games in VR. Heck bring on walking around a beautiful park in a part of the world I've never visited. I'll start saving my pennies.