What else would you be doing of a Tuesday evening except getting hands on with the latest VR headset at the Irish PlayStation VR launch.
We’ve already looked at the heavy hitters in the VR space, like HTC Vive, and the entry level experiences, like Samsung Gear VR and Freefly VR. In the middle of it all, there was this big empty space, a space that Sony’s PlayStation VR could possibly fill.
What makes PlayStation VR different from the others?
Sony are no strangers to the gaming world with PlayStation being one of the most loved consoles in the world. Samsung Gear VR, obviously, needs a Samsung phone. The HTC Vive needs a beast of a computer to run the intense graphics experience – making it a very expensive device. The PlayStation 4 is an affordable gaming platform, which would be far more popular amongst average gamers than high-end computers.
One thing that became quite clear at the Irish PlayStation VR launch was how this headset had greater potential to find its way into Irish homes than the HTC Vive. It also provides a much better gaming experience than the Gear VR. But how good is it? Read on.
The PlayStation VR headset
The most important part of the setup has to be the headset. Due to the fact PlayStation VR is emerging relatively late in the day, it’s impossible to avoid comparison with the competition. Comfort-wise, the headset is great. It’s adjustable at the rear and front to ensure a universal fit and optimal comfort. There was a little bit of fogging up, but we’ve yet to find a headset that has survived this test.
The only real negative we noticed with the headset was a little bit of light-leak. But to be quite honest, we were so distracted by the sheer immersion, it didn’t make much difference to the experience.
Apologies for the choppy video throughout, the event was in a bit of a blackspot.
One other massive thing to point out. The PlayStation VR headset is completely compatible with glasses. Rejoice!
PlayStation VR controllers
The biggest step up for the Sony PlayStation VR from Samsung Gear VR is the hand paddles. The colourful ping-pong balls on top serve an important purpose. Similar to HTC Vive, the PlayStation VR tracks your movement. The Vive requires a large space with two sensors placed around the gaming space. PlayStation VR instead depends on a small camera you would place in front of your TV. This then picks up on the lights atop your controller and VR headset. It also makes you look like a member of Daft Punk.
Sony’s setup is extremely smart. It’s much easier and cheaper to implement that HTC’s while delivering a very similar experience. It also means you can use a standard PlayStation controller within a lot of these games, the ping-pong controllers or no controller at all.
Games available for Irish PlayStation VR Launch
The first thing we noticed with the PlayStation VR games were the graphics. They weren’t up to the levels of the HTC Vive. Sure enough, they were ahead of the Gear VR by some distance, but they did seem a little blocky. First of all, it’s important to realise we were playing demos. It’s also important to realise that the level of immersion from the overall experience more than makes up for the graphics.
Think back to the old arcade games, or Time Crisis. It wasn’t about the graphics. It was about feeling like you were there while playing with a G-Con Gun. This is what the PlayStation VR sets out to achieve – and it nails it.
So, we’ve discovered the measure of success for a VR game. It’s a game where as soon as it starts, you know what you can interact with. As London Heist starts out, you’re in a van with a Ross Kemp looking geezer. You can pop the hazards on, drink a milkshake, change the radio station and even lean out of the van. Then lads on motorbikes appear and you have to shoot them up. When you run out of ammo, without even thinking, you load a new clip into your Uzi. Yes, somewhere between putting the headset on and the game starting, you channelled your inner John McClane and started kicking ass.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
What the christ was that all about. Between the rollercoaster nausea and gigantic killer pig corpses, that was a simply bizarre experience. But, what an experience it was. The level of immersion with Rush of Blood was, well the best we’ve experienced to date. Yes, it’s a bold claim, but one we stand by.
“Gary is shooting signs for no good reason while descending into the mouth of a pig” – why you have to love VR gaming.
Even a man whose day job is the consistent attempted murder of his mother found Rush of Blood a little intense.
— Baz Ashmawy (@bazashmawy) October 11, 2016
Right before he practically announced that Goos3D.ie was his favourite tech website.
— Goos3D (@Goos3D_IE) October 11, 2016
What is the Irish PlayStation VR launch date and price?
The Sony PlayStation VR will be available from GameStop for €399.99. The latest VR headset is expected to launch in Ireland on 14th October. Still, if you’re knocking around Dame Street in Dublin, you can pop into their pop-up shop and try out PlayStation VR for yourself.