Recently I came across a windfall of tasty coins and decided I’d go buy the accessory everyone wants but what every wallet would sooner jump in front of a moving truck for, Playstation VR.
Playstation VR purports to be a next gen addition to the gaming experience. A 360 degree immersive experience that puts you IN the game. But is it worth it? Does it do the job well? Let’s find out.
First of all, we must address the price and specs. It is expensive. $600 AUD got me the unit, the camera that helps track the VR unit, a game and a preorder for another VR game. That’s a lot of coin straight up. Another consideration: the VR is not a console. You must have a PS4 to hook it up too. You also must clear space around the camera to about 1.5-2 metres (similar to other camera games or motion capture like Kinect) so if you have a tiny living room or you have a lot of furniture, you may have an issue.
Once its all set up it does look like a neural network gadget you would see in the Matrix, with cables dangling out of it to link to the console but I kind of liked it as it sort of feeds the impression you are going into another reality. I found the unit itself a comfortable fit; everything clicks into place, it’s comfy and nothing felt like it was being braised or chafed.
When we fired up the unit we decided to go to straight the next final frontier of reality: VR porn. No joke, it’s there. However there were more logistics involved, and we are a lazy bunch. Also, I didn’t really want anyone to walk in to see two guys taking turns watching porn on a TV screen and a VR unit and try to excuse ourselves with “for science” or some other profound lie.
So we tossed in Eve: Valkyrie, a spacecraft shooter, and chucked on the VR set – holy crap was I taken by surprise. I was facing the cockpit and as I looked down all the gadgets came to life. I bent forward in real life and my VR self bent forward too. I turned up and I could see more gadgets and the hangar. Behind me was my pilot seat. The graphics were sharp, PS4 quality, and being catapulted out into space combat I could track my foes by turning my head. I felt myself become more and more captured with this reality. When I banked my craft to engage laser cannons I felt myself actually doing it. The sensation was unreal. With 3D sound, an explosion behind you is indeed behind you and turning your head changes how the volumes are balanced. I was extremely impressed.
However it is still leaving a burning question: is it worth it? And for me, that answer is yes – but not just yet.
For starters, the cost is massive for something that is essentially an add-on to a console, with very few titles out at the moment. No doubt the cost will decrease eventually, and so you are not doing wrong if you want to wait a bit longer. There is boundless potential for the VR system but it will take time as developers realise to what potential they can use it for and really push the hardware. I have heard Ace Combat is releasing a game for VR which will be just the utter tits for a jet fighter game and one that will have me playing Danger Zone in the background like the utter dweeb I am.
Another thing is health concerns. If you are prone to motion sickness, do not get this. They get major plus points for building around people wearing glasses so you dont have to sacrifice your vision to indulge in VR but even I, with pretty damn good eyesight, found myself straining my eyes after a while. Sony recommends even if you are down for VR you slowly immerse in it for increasing periods of time and I highly concur with that. Your brain needs to accept the VR as a reality indeed and you will have to condition your senses to deal with that. But I believe with utmost certainty this is a fantastic advancement in gaming and one I will be keeping a very close eye on.