Sony Entertainment's PlayStation exclusive headset is one of the most debated VR rigs to date. With top-of-the-line headsets like the Oculus Quest and the Valve Index now on the market, many users want to know whether the PSVR is even worth the buy. There are a few factors to consider before purchasing the PSVR.
The Upside of the PSVR
Sony is known for its exclusive games, and PSVR is absolutely apart of this perk. Moss, Farpoint, Firewall: Zero Hour, and Resident Evil 7 are just a few of the current games that can only be played on PlayStation VR. More recently, and most importantly, among that list are Blood and Truth, and Astro Bot: Rescue Mission.
Astro Bot is an adorable new take on platformers and exclusive to PlayStation. Players help rescue several robot friends while fighting off cartoonishly cute baddies. The best part of this game is that the PS4 controller is used as a multipurpose weapon and storage unit to aid your robot friend. This also takes care of the pesky Move Controllers that can often feel clunky and rarely have the range of motion players want. Hopefully, this will become more streamlined with more intuitive controllers in the PlayStation 5.
The latest exclusive, Blood and Truth, is by far Sony's greatest PSVR first-person shooter to date. This action-adventure follows Ryan Marks as he delves deeper into the seedy underbelly of London's crime scene. The acting is phenomenal and the action scenes are an adrenaline rush of epic proportions. The one downside to this game is the movement. If gamers use the Move Controllers, which is highly recommended for the gunfights, then the movement is solely point-and-click and practically on the rails. Apart from the movement, Blood and Truth is a gorgeous game worthy of immediate purchase.
The highly anticipated Iron Man VR is one game many PSVR users are psyched to play. The few scenes released in their official trailer are enough to geek out any Marvel fan, but they presented one pesky caveat: "Not Actual Gameplay". Iron Man VR still hasn't received a release date, and fans are worried it may not come out on the current version of the PlayStation VR.
The Downside of the PSVR
The set up for the PSVR is so unnecessarily complicated. For a system that's supposed to be ushering in the future of gaming, it's awfully reminiscent of untangling coaxial cables for the first time. Set some time aside to hook up the PSVR, and make sure there is plenty of space for chords to be strewn about. Between the fickle camera which won't calibrate properly if there's too much light or the two HDMI cables needed for headset and TV, the PSVR can be a bit tedious.
The graphics for the PSVR are great for their limited abilities, but they're also not the best on the market. Many of the Sony exclusives have made great strides, but players will not be able to experience games like Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice because the graphics are too limited. There is also what is known as the "Screen Door Effect" in all PlayStation VR games, which causes players to look at graphics through a mesh weave. This issue is not unique to PSVR, and many systems like the Oculus Rift have the same downfall. This can cause a further disturbance with immersion, but not so jarring as the motion.
The Move Controllers are possibly one of the biggest downsides to the PSVR. The simplistic (and honestly phallic) design of the controllers has only appealed to Beat Saber enthusiast. Many games suffer from lack of smooth motion and resorted to either teleporting or an "on the rails" style of gameplay. The only game to have come close to the smooth movement was Arizona Sunshine which allowed players to point and hold controllers in the desired direction of movement.
The main pull for the PSVR is that it only costs about $299 as of the release of this article. With November on the horizon, several bundles and deals are likely to come out again pairing exclusive games with the headset. Last year, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission was bundled for the base market price, essentially giving players a new headset and game all in one. However, this price is only if buyers already own a PlayStation 4.
The closest VR headset anywhere in the price range of the PSVR would be the Oculus Go, Windows Mixed Reality, or the Samsung Gear VR. These systems have a wide range of abilities and graphics, but most are sub-par when it comes to the PlayStation VR. Great VR rigs can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, so a majority of it depends on what kind of experience players are looking for.
The Oculus Go is a nice stand-alone headset and an obvious prequel system to the Oculus Quest. The Go only has one controller and a maximum battery life of probably one hour. Not to mention the Oculus Go is limited on gameplay, and unless users are fond of teleporting movement, this headset is a giant waste of money. The Oculus Go is valued at $199.
The Samsung Gear VR is the least expensive, with even less incentive to buy. The Gear VR, powered by Oculus, uses Samsung phones inside a fitted headset. Simply slide the phone into the headset and use the single controller to navigate around. The Gear VR is great for watching live events, but active gamers may as well watch a tv set through a pixelated screen door. Not to mention, Samsung Gear VR was sued over potentially stealing intellectual property which ultimately led to the Gear being the last headset to come from Samsung in quite a few years. Samsung Gear VR is currently valued at $99.99.
Windows Mixed Reality has been revolutionary with its inside-out tracking technology. Where most headsets rely on cameras or positional sensors, WMR headsets track from within the headset and controllers to the area surrounding the player. The WMR is far from impressive, but the quality of graphics is the most comparable to a more expensive HTC Vive or Oculus headset. All that to say, the technology still isn't perfected in these, and players will still need a reliable computer to operate this headset. The Windows Mixed Reality is valued at $399.
The Oculus Quest is likely the most bang for buck, listed at $399 base price, and requiring no extra computing system. The Quest has freed players from wires, tracking towers, and boasts the six degrees of functionality (aka 6DoF) all die-hard VR fans crave. Plus, the Oculus Quest has full access to the Steam library while also promising access to the upcoming Star Wars: Vader Immortal game. The one downside to this headset is that since the headset is operating on a mobile processor, the quality of visuals is sacrificed. However, with freedom of motion, less time in set up, and a price competitive to most headsets the graphics hardly seem like a downside to the Oculus Quest.
The ultimate question is whether PSVR is worth the investment. If gamers are new to VR and already own a PlayStation 4, then yes, this system is worth investing in. The PSVR has a great library of games ranging from the much-beloved Beat Saber to the terrifying immersion of Resident Evil 7. Exclusive VR games and big-name experiences are constantly being released. However, if players are looking to truly dive deeper into VR, experience more multiplayer online games, and are willing to shell out the extra cash, Oculus Quest might be a more worthy investment.