So you’re considering buying a Playstation VR unit, or perhaps you already have one and are wondering what to play? Over the past six weeks or so we have played dozens of virtual reality titles, and we’re rounding them up right now to give you a decent idea of what to expect and what to invest in. The majority of Playstation VR games are mildly priced, but here are seven of the games that are mid-price or even full-price.
Essentially a re-release of one of the early PS4 games, DriveClub VR has a few things going against it despite being the best racing game available so far on the Playstation VR platform. With the Driveclub name attached, one association we had going into the experience is that of amazing visuals. The original Driveclub was a showcase title for the PS4, and certainly the best looking racing game that’s exclusive to Sony’s console.
With the conversion to VR, Driveclub has lost quite a bit of that shine – as the image quality through the headset isn’t nearly as crisp as what we were used to when playing the original on a regular TV. This no doubt has to do with the limitation of VR that we talked about in our hardware-focused article – having to render an eye for each eye, thus requiring more horsepower. For DriveClub, this meant a significant compromise in visual quality – which is why we were happy to find out that the game benefits greatly from the power of Playstation Pro. Trying the game again on Sony’s stronger new console resulted in a significant visual boost, lifting DriveClub VR to the level it should have been at in the first place.
The actual driving is a lot of fun, and experiencing it all in virtual reality is a blast. What’s especially fun in that regard is using the game’s replay mode, where you can relive your race from the passenger seat and really take in how close you were to the other cars and walls – it’s a thrill ride for sure, but one that’s best enjoyed using a Playstation Pro.
Using a Pro console, DriveClub is a must play for PSVR owners. Buying both a Pro and a VR unit is quite the investment though, which brings us to another small point of criticism. DriveClub VR is a separate game from the original DriveClub, meaning that you’ll have to pay once more for a game might already own – when a VR patch or upgrade felt more appropriate. If you can look past all that, then be sure to play this – it’s the best traditional console VR racer at the moment.
Criticized for how short it is – especially at its current price point, Rez Infinite is also the game that’s garnered the highest review scores out of any of the titles we’re discussing, and with good reason. A remake of a game that’s 15 years old already, it has simple graphics at its core, with low polygon counts and wireframes. On top of that, however, there is an audiovisual spectacle that is unmatched – with lights and visual effects that are synchronized perfectly to the music in this rhythm-based shooter.
Rez Infinite can also be played without a Playstation VR headset – which makes it an interesting purchase even before you invest in one. The experience when transporting yourself to the virtual world of Rez is well worth it though, and adds immense value to the package. The gameplay hasn’t changed much since the 2001 classic was first released, which isn’t problematic in that the original was so refined, but we’re wishing that they had added more of it – as the game’s campaign isn’t even two hours long. The individual levels are well worth replaying though – or should we say reliving – as Rez Infinite can transport the player to another world. If you want to show off how cool and transformative VR gaming can be to your friend, you’ll want to invest in Rez Infinite.
We first played Eagle Flight well before the Playstation VR was even announced and before the Rift and Vive were available to consumers. It was part of a series of tech demos shown off by a small team of Ubisoft developers, who first showed us a scene from Far Cry 3 in virtual reality. While that was impressive, the demo that later became Eagle Flight was the one that really stuck with us.
Not requiring the use of a traditional controller, we were soaring over the roofs of a city that resembled Paris by just looking into the direction we wanted to fly in – and for the duration of the experience, it felt like we had gained the ability to fly. While that’s cool in and of itself, just soaring through the air is only fun for so long, so there is a gameplay element involved as well. Aside from the challenges involved in navigating tight passages and corners, there is also a capture the flag element – where you take over the ‘flag’ by flying into the other player, the collision causing him to drop his prize allowing a you or a teammate to pick it up again and try to bring it home.
This is the most fun aspect of Eagle Flight, as it automatically creates a cat and mouse game where you try to shake off other players by navigating your way through narrow alleys and under bridges. Your teammates can also try to knock opponents out of the sky to protect you, introducing an important team-based element to the game. And all of that is controlled by your head and neck movements – no controller required. It’s an experience that’s smooth, intuitive and a lot of fun. It’s also a rather thin experience in terms of content though. Showing its tech demo roots, Eagle Flight isn’t the most diverse game out there and while it remains fun the novelty aspect does wear off after a while.
RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
RIGS, or RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, was no doubt one of Sony’s big flagship titles for its Playstation VR launch. They put one of their top internal teams on the title (Killzone’s Guerilla), and a sizeable budget must have been allotted when you look at the game’s price tag – RIGS retails for the same price as other AAA titles this holiday season. Needless to say, expectations were high and RIGS mostly delivers.
Summed up as ‘future sports meets mech combat’, RIGS sees you piloting a giant mech robot – and it proves that fast paced, first person-based gameplay can be enjoyed and endured on a VR unit. This is thanks to some excellent controls and a smooth audiovisual delivery that never made us nauseous despite some frantic matches. We believe there are two keys to this experience – the extensive use of head tracking (which allows you to essentially use your head as a right thumbstick) and the simplified visuals that provide a lot of contrast. A downside to that last element is that RIGS’ graphics feel a tad underwhelming considering its price point and the fact that the same studio also produced Killzone: Shadow Fall, but we suppose that that is the trade-off that needed to be made to provide a fun experience. This isn’t a bad looking game at all, but it looks like Tron more than it looks like Killzone.
Aside from fairly standard arena-type shooting elements, RIGS also provides plenty of ‘whoa’ moments with the aerial acrobatics you can pull off. Ramps and platforms are plentiful and will see you launching yourself into the air more often than some will be comfortable with. Perhaps this is the reason that the tutorial in RIGS is long – as going in head-first might have been a little too daunting, and easing the player into the experience might be exactly what a game like RIGS needs. The action is still fast and dynamic, so it’s not going be for everyone(‘s stomach), but luckily a demo is provided with the VR unit that will allow you to sample the game before you fork over a good amount of money to buy it.
Robinson: The Journey
As a post-launch title, we only recently got to look at Robinson: The Journey and thus the full review is still up. We won’t start copying that text here, but we will include the game in this list – it’s a showcase title for Playstation VR if there ever was one. It’s also a prime example of the dangers of VR – where an amazing audiovisual experience might cause the gameplay to take a bit of a backseat. But hey…. having the feeling you’re in a real life Jurassic Park is enough to make this our favorite guilty pleasure on PSVR thus far.
Trackmania Turbo isn’t necessarily a launch title or PSVR title, but it did receive a VR update very recently. This wasn’t too surprising seeing as how we saw the game running on VR hardware about 18 months ago – sitting in a corner of the room we were playing Eagle Flight in. It’s a worthy addition to this list though, since Trackmania is a ton of fun to play either with or without VR.
When the game first came out, we already reviewed it – and we loved it. What the (free) Playstation VR update does is allow you to race on 40 new tracks that were designed with VR in mind. You know those Google Cardboard VR demos of rollercoasters? Some of these Trackmania tracks can deliver an experience that’s crisper and more interactive, and it’s exhilarating – although for some reason Nadeo defaults the game to a third person viewing angle, switching to a first person one for certain sections. Perhaps this is to make sure you have a good enough overview of your surroundings when playing, but we would have enjoyed the opportunity to at least try out first person racing.
As a Trackmania game it feels a bit counterintuitive if your goal is to beat the best times out there, since you want your camera angles to be as tight as possible for that. However, as an experience it’s one of the most fun games currently available for Playstation VR owners and it’s essential that you try it. After all ,one of the best parts about this is that Trackmania Turbo is already worth the price of admission as a regular PS4 game, so you win either way.
Moto Racer 4
Although launched back in November, Moto Racer 4 – as a VR title – feels like it’s still in development. Not all of its game modes were available to play in VR at the time of launch, giving us the idea that VR support was a bit of a last minute decision by the developers. Still, as an arcade Moto Racing game, it’s unique – but is it also good and fun to play?
There are two answers to that question. As an arcade racer, it’s fun – but it’s in no way revolutionary. The Moto Racer franchise was pretty big around the turn of the century, but it’s been well over 10 years since the previous game and the formula doesn’t seem to have evolved much. As we’re not fans of the hyper realistic motorcycle racers out there this isn’t a bad thing, but it also makes sure that Moto Racer 4 won’t blow anyone’s mind. This is partly because its visuals mark a significant upgrade from the older games in the series, but don’t come close to bigger (and recent titles) like MXGP 2.
But what about VR support? Well, with the basic gameplay being functional and fun, it’s an interesting addition – or should we say experiment? You’re not likely to play much of Moto Racer 4 in VR, as the experience becomes a bit frantic and uncomfortable quickly – much like riding on the back of a real Moto Racer bike would be, I suppose. So the added value of VR is limited in Moto Racer, but if you’re in the mood for a retro-inspired arcade racer then it’s a thrilling way to experience it – even if you’ll only do it a handful of times. Extra fun: having another player use the controller while you sit on top of the motorbike – it might not have been intended that way, but it’s intense and a true thrill ride that’s not for the faint-hearted. We’d wait for a sale though.