On Thursday, April 6th 2016, Sony brought their fancy new toy down to the EGX Rezzed games expo. To say it was the star attraction of the event would be an understatement, as there were queues all day lining up to try and get a spot to play one of the featured games for as little as a five-minute slot.
Luckily, myself and fellow content producers Henry Inskip and Neil Vadgama managed to get a spot to try what could well be the biggest revolution in gaming since the change from 2D to 3D graphics.
Henry managed to get his hands on the system first and he was able to try out The London Heist. From merely watching Henry play, it was clear that this was a different experience to any game that he would have played before. You could pick up inanimate objects in the car, such as bread and soda cans, and throw them out of the window or at the driver. Upon being handed a gun after being shot at, Henry was using the PlayStation Move controllers in each hand and performing actions such as pulling the trigger and reloading.
The reloading aspect looked amazing without even experiencing it first hand. In the case of reloading in games, most of the time it just happens at the tap of a button, and you quickly move on through your game, but in The London Heist, you have to use your left hand to open the glove compartment and pick up rounds to put in your gun. Just a simple thing to do, but it made the involvement all the more immersive.
However, there were drawbacks as well. The shooting action looked tricky and a little clumsy as Henry wasn’t hitting too many of the targets. Upon finishing his session, which lasted between five and ten minutes, Henry stated that he almost felt like he was going through motion sickness, which is never a good sign. He put this down to the blurry graphics; either the headset hadn’t been configured properly, or that was how the game was running currently – after all, there are still six months before PlayStation VR is launched.
After Henry finished his set, Neil and I managed to both join up to the Playroom VR title. Joining a father and son along with the PlayStation representative, we initially played a game where the person wearing the headset was a monster and was chasing the four ninjas throughout the city. It was a fairly simple title and while we didn’t hear any feedback from the son who was wearing the headset, the family seemed to enjoy the experience, even though it seemed like a lopsided game where the monster didn’t have too much of a chance to win.
Once that was finished, I got to personally try the headset. My first observation was that even if you wear glasses, the VR headset fits on your head incredibly comfortably and does not push your glasses into your face, or provide any kind of other annoyance. We played a simple cat versus mice game, in which the headset wearer was the cat who was trying to bide its time and catch the mice if they got too greedy in their search for cheese.
That was the aim of the game for the mice – there was cheese scattered all across the floor, and while hiding behind certain objects you might find in a kitchen (broccoli, soda cans, etc.), they had to make sure the cat did not manage to pounce and drag them into its lair.
Unlike Henry’s previous experience with the VR set, this game did not come with any controllers, and while in the body of the cat, winning the game was predicated on moving your head in and out of a set of curtains. You could completely look around behind you, though, to see the sky out of the window, as well as different objects that had been stored in this cupboard. Again, while not huge details, knowing you had things right behind you was an incredibly surreal feeling.
As with the other game, cat versus mice was an incredibly simple premise, and it seemed a lot harder for the mice to win over the cat.
However, just like Henry, I experienced dizziness once I had stood up and slight headaches, due to the slightly blurry visuals. You can adjust the headset for focus, but it seemed like no matter how much adjustment was made, the graphics weren’t getting particularly clearer.
Overall, the PlayStation VR headset seems more like a nice concept than a guaranteed seller at this current moment in time. That could be down to a lack of incredible games on show, or tweaks that need to be made before any sales are made, and while fun to play, VR doesn’t seem like anything you could handle for a span of more than thirty minutes currently, and even that would be a stretch. Check out our video review below: