PlayStation VR2 hands-on: Horizon, Resident Evil, and more

Once Oculus went wireless with its Quest headset in 2019, there seemed to be no turning back. For years, everyone has been talking about what the annoying ropes of virtual reality are and how they will inevitably disappear one day, once the technology is discovered. And here Oculus was way too early, find out.

Sure, games looked like a generation or two ago compared to those of the Valve Index, Oculus Rift S, or even PlayStation VR, but that seems like a fair trade-off for something that didn’t make you feel like you’re on a leash. Almost immediately, I switched and started using Quest more or less exclusively for virtual reality.

I was not alone. Quest has taken off, becoming the most popular of its line of headphones and delivering a highly convenient, high-quality virtual reality experience to millions of people.

after trying PlayStation VR2 Recently, I remembered what we lost.

Last week I tried out Sony’s new headphone for the first time and was surprised at how great two of its standout games are, The call of the horizon from the mountain And the Resident Evil VillageAnd the seem. They did not rely on particle or stylized artistic direction; They looked like the AAA console games you happen to be in VR. The past few years of playing Quest have recalibrated my expectations of what VR games should look like, and it’s been great to see games progress visually once again without the need for elaborate setup.

I’m still not particularly excited about returning to a tethered headset, but with Sony’s support and gaming this nice, it’s instantly tempting.

The image shows the inside of the Sony PlayStation VR2 headset and the adjustment knob on the back

Photo: Matt Lyon/Polygon

headphone

At a Sony press event, I had the opportunity to tinker with the PSVR2 and try out four demos of the game. Overwhelmingly, the thing that jumped out is that the device looks like the original PSVR has been updated. Sony has been known to not rock the boat or change plans around like the others; It is continuing on the same path that began six years ago.

The headset itself looks a little different this time around — studded with cameras and cut with sharper edges to match the look of the PlayStation 5 — but it looks familiar, with the same kind of slider, padding, flexibility and weight distribution we got on the original PlayStation VR.

The main benefits come with raw power and visual tricks, such as innovative rendering (where the entire hardware only shows the areas you’re looking for), which help the graphics look sophisticated – it’s certainly impressive that they can replicate a game like Resident Evil Village With minimal withdrawal from the console version – and a variety of changes in quality of life.

For example, there is now a button under the front of the device that you can press at any time to switch to the transparent view using the external internal cameras built into the headset. This allows you to pause the game to talk to someone in the room, or pick up your consoles without having to take the headset off and then reset it when you turn it back on.

It’s also a good thing that Sony has simplified the wiring involved with the setup. While you have to deal with a wire coming out the back, it’s now a single wire that plugs into your PS5 instead of a mess of cables. If you’re using wired headphones it’s still hard to take it off, then take the headphone off, knowing what to do with two controllers, but that’s progress. The lack of a PlayStation Camera simplifies setup even more, thanks to the cameras on the headset.

These cameras also allow the system to track your movements more accurately and comprehensively. On the original PSVR, having a single camera in a fixed position meant games struggled when they required players to turn to the side or look behind them. Now, since the tracking comes from the headset, as long as you keep the controllers in front of you, you can search anywhere without a problem. Old news on other platforms, but a welcome addition here.

Likewise, Sony’s PlayStation VR2 Sense controllers update the interface, looking and feeling much like the controllers included with the Quest and Quest 2, with handles encased in plastic rings to aid tracking and the ability to record the touch of a button instead. from the press. Again, it works fine and makes a significant upgrade, but it will feel familiar to those who have kept up with other hardware.

Fold in haptic feedback and adaptive stimuli in controllers, headset vibrations, and built-in eye tracking, and the Sony has a number of ways to mess with gamers, along with a few elements that set it apart from the competition.

But the Sony event wasn’t just about hardware. In fact, it was very little of it—most of it centered around four game demos.

The player shoots the bow and arrow at an observer in an open brown area

Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

The call of the horizon from the mountain

One of the best games I’ve seen in virtual reality. mountain call It looks like a visual presentation of the new Sony headphone. Leaves, wind, fire, explosions and giant robots fill the sky as you make your way through the new Horizon story.

While the game takes place in the same universe as Horizon Zero Dawn And the forbidden westIt’s a different kind of experience. For one thing, instead of controlling series star Aloy, you play Ryas, “the disgraced former Karja soldier searching for redemption,” according to Sony. On the other hand, you play in first person perspective, so you mainly see Ryas via a pair of disembodied hands while climbing, swimming, using bow and arrow, and interacting with the world around you.

The game will start in about six or seven hours, according to the developers, and the fight will mainly consist of shooting arrows rather than the wild acrobatics seen in previous games. But if the giant Thunderjaw fight you played in the press event demo is any indication, those fights should produce many of the same endorphins.

Compared to other games on offer, mountain call It appears to be the most tailored of the new headphones, with nice touches like headphone vibration and the use of eye tracking to control the game’s menus.

Mrs. D looks at the player in Resident Evil Village

Photo: Capcom

Resident Evil Village

The big boss is 9 feet 6 inches tall Mrs. Dimitrescu It’s the kind of exciting scene that VR developers build entire games around, so it was good that Capcom had queued up. Resident Evil VillageVR mode, which will consist of the game’s primary campaign and is “currently in development exclusively” for PSVR2, according to Capcom.

In a short demo shown at the event, Mrs. D was the obvious lead, speaking to you while hanging from a room ceiling with hooks through your hands, giving you an up-close look at just how gigantic and intimidating she is – and how much more detailed she looks compared to the character models in Resident Evil 7 on PSVR or Resident Evil 4 in Quest.

Capcom representatives say VR mode will have small balance tweaks and a number of small interface tweaks (like the ability to raise your hands to block) but no material changes to the content from the original campaign.

Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge – Enhanced Version

Collecting Star Wars: Tales from the Edge of the Galaxy and his final call Continuing in one package, easy to design so that the two feel like one game, sprinkle some upgraded visuals and you’ll have Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy – Edge Enhanced versionComing exclusively to PSVR2.

Similar to ILMxLAB’s Vader Immortal series, the game has a light theme park feel, and a game box feel, which is probably fitting given the title. The demo at Sony’s press event consisted of some small discussions and games in a bar setting, followed by a short outdoor getaway, but this feels like the kind of game that’s built for long gaming sessions, so it was hard to get a perfect feel for it in a short sample.

The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners – Chapter 2: Retribution

The last game shown might be the most concerning, which says something considering the presence of Resident Evil on this list. But The Walking Dead’s melee attacks take you something up close in VR, and whether you read that as praise or criticism, you may very well determine whether you should play the game.

As a beginner, I found myself struggling to find weapons and ammo and reload while chasing zombies, I’m sure the design was meant to heighten the fear of it all, but it seemed a little tricky, so I hope the game is complete. It makes things worse in a gradual way.

backing down

As with any new piece of game hardware, software support will be more important than the hardware itself at all. So far, Sony appears to be on the right track there, with a good mix of genres and licenses, although it’s still early days. Horizon seems a lot more important than most of the big-license sub-games we’ve seen for PSVR1, and while all four of these games are associated with big brands, Sony announced yesterday that the favorite Quest dungeon crawler demio Coming to PSVR2 as well.

The big question at this point is what the next wave of software will look like. Will we see a new synesthesia light show from Envis? Something cheery from Team Asobi? Another cinematic journey from a London studio? With these cards in place, we’ll get a much clearer idea of ​​what to expect from PSVR2. But on a hardware level, it’s hard not to like what Sony has shown up so far.

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