Hands On: PlayStation VR

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After Sony’s E3 press conference, we got the chance to sit down with PSVR and check out two of the many demos they had available for attendees to try.

We here at Gamer Escape have previously had the chance out Oculus, Star VR and Google Cardboard, and we all agree that so far PSVR’s initial impression left us wanting more. It felt comfortable and more importantly, it was easy to adjust and get on while wearing glasses.

While maybe not terribly popular when they were first introduced, the PlayStation Move controllers end up making excellent VR controllers. The triggers on the Move controllers give a natural feeling of gripping or squeezing a hand and it really helps to immerse you into the experience.

During our time at E3 we’ve had the oppurtunity to get hands on with a number of PlayStation VR demos:

PlayStation VR Worlds: The London Heist
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I got to check out PlayStation VR Worlds- a compilation of VR games. In it, I played a portion of “The London Heist” which has you riding shotgun in a van as you find yourself set upon by various gun wielding cars and motorcycles.

When the demo starts you’re simply driving down the highway, able to take some time and explore the small environment. It was great being able to do little things such as turn on the air vents, pick up a soft drink, and even open the glove box to reveal a stash of extra ammunition clips.

As the demo picked up, you help punch out the windshield of the van as you start to shoot the assailants driving next to and in front of you. As you empty each clip, you need to the the PlayStation Move controllers to reach out into the environment to grab a clip, and then load it into gun. I was much more satisfying than I would have thought, grabbing that clip, slamming it in and continuing to shoot out the tires of the vehicles along side you.

 

Harmonix VR
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I had the pleasure of playing a demo of Harmonix Music VR, a sonically centered virtual reality experience with multiple modes of play that react to sounds and music that accompany them differently. I played “The Easel”, a painting simulator which changes your PlayStation Move controllers into your pallet arm and brush where you create three dimensional art that pulses and changes in color and size with the music playing in the background.

The demo starts with you choosing a song from a playlist. I’m not sure if there will be the ability to upload and play with a personal soundtrack or if you are restricted to playing from the given set, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this would be totally possible. Regardless, I settled upon David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” before being transported to the center of an empty spherical room that pulsed momentarily before the music began.

Using your right controller, you can press the center button to begin painting in literally any way you could possibly move your arm, creating any three dimensional shape you could possibly imagine. You can then use your left controller to change brushes, erase, change colors or, most importantly, grab the plane your art resides on and move it, again, in any direction you want. This is particularly useful  when creating large shapes, enabling you to move the shape rather than the brush itself, giving you a large amount of control that would be physically impossible in reality without the aid of super strength.

All in all, I was blown away. While I am admittedly still relatively new to the VR scene, I was very pleased with my experience and the gameplay itself felt intuitive, which, if you’re creating art, is pretty important. I’m excited to see what other modes await players when it finally releases in October 2016.

 

REZ Infinite
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REZ Infinite is a remastered version of the original that brings new content and support for PSVR. For those unfamiliar with the title, REZ is a musical on-rails shooter where you lock on to and destroy waves of enemies that create sounds when they’re destroyed.

While the title does have support PSVR, it should be noted that for some, the game may not feel quite as immersive because the game is still shown from a third person perspective. What the PSVR does however, aside from giving you the ability to look all around the game environment, is let you lock onto enemies simply by looking at them. You can also lock onto targets by simply moving the cursor over them using the analog stick. Once I was a couple minutes into the demo, I started to “get it”. You can utilize both the analog stick and looking at targets with the PSVR to target enemies, resulting in an even more fluid experience.

 

Final Fantasy XV VR Experience
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The PSVR demo of Final Fantasy XV pits you (as Prompto) against a Behemoth – in the same fight that was presented in the Episode Duscae demo, first released along with the first printing of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. The fight itself is straightforward enough, target and shoot thr Behemoth as you warp around the battlefield, but when under the PSVR hood the game shifts to a first person view, allowing for a truly immersive experience. With the headset untied to the PlayStation Move controller, you can look one way while firing in another direction altogether, allowing you to fire at Behemoth while also looking around for a safe spot to teleport to when necessary.

After taking down Behemoth, the demo shifts to a driving scene, with Cindy behind the wheel. There is nothing to do during this phase of the demo except to look around and experience the beauty of the world in full VR. The experience is relaxing, and not at disorienting as some other VR experiences can be. The only thing missing was a fan blowing wind in your hair as the convertible hurtles down the desert road.