The best and worst of Virtual Reality is on show in this mixed bag of showpieces
However, Playstation VR Worlds is a necessary addition to your Playstation VR lineup. Not just because of its namesake or because it has a varying palette of experiences, but because it contains several quintessential ‘wow’ moments that go some way to justifying that hefty £350 pricetag.
Like being descended deep into the ocean and coming face to face with spectacular subterreanean scenery. There I am – sat on sofa – gazing all around me, openly gawping and exclaiming profoundly like I’m five years old all over again. For just a moment, I’m immersed in a game in ways I haven’t felt in years. It’s not a particularly interactive experience, I’m merely turning my head looking left and right to see what I can see, a guide whittering on in my ear.
Yet I catch myself holding my breath for longer than necessary, an overly long smile fixated on my face. The only time I’ve felt this connected to a virtual experience is at expensive 4D experiences at theme parks. That inaugural moment will stay with me for a very long time.
But you can also have some fun with Playstation VR Worlds playing Danger Ball. It’s a simplistic turn, a hybrid of Air Hockey and Pang where you use your head to move the paddle and try to get the ball past an AI opponent at the other end.
You’re staring down a narrow tunnel which creates a really unique 3D effect and depth of field, and the opponent at the other side has various different capabilities and effects, such as a larger paddle which you need to chip away at, and a tendency to go for spin-shots. Considering the simplicity and familiarity of the game, there is a great sense of satisfaction in progressing through the tournament stages and finding a way to breach enemy defenses.
Unfortunately, the ugliness of VR does rear its head in VR Luge, a taboggan/bobsleigh game where you’re surfing up and down hilly roads, avoiding passing vehicles and other obstacles. Tilt your head to move left and right seems fine to begin with, until you’re skirting around corners and bouncing off the road, jolting suddenly at high speeds.
The game not only feels a bit limited, but the dizzying feelings it gives off make it hard to stick with. Ultimately, it’s rather forgettable and certainly gives off the impression of being a tech-demo. It certainly wouldn’t replace Drive Club VR anytime soon.
Scavenger’s Odyssey sort of falls somewhere in the middle. The good news is that it makes for a great Metroid Prime themed Sci-Fi shooter where you leap between planets, aim with your head, and pull away debris that obstructs your path, all while telling a minor narrative.
The bad news? Tilting 360 jumping around, while also moving your head up and down to blast things quickly gets destabilising and disorientating. If you thought VR Luge was rough, this will twist your brain inside out.
Fortunately, we saved the best till last. The London Heist is a full narrative driven experience that presents multiple different scenarios for you to interact with. I won’t spoil everything, but you play the role of a gangster who is involved in a major bust.
You’ll get involved in full-blown shootouts, have to solve puzzles and find clues by finding hidden areas, and car-chases. You’ll even get to sit in an old British pub and light a cigar, smoking rings around the face of your co-horts. If Ocean Descent presents wow moments, London Heist gives you a glimpse into the incredible future we have in store from VR games.
All in all, it’s a fantastic package and needs to be seen to be truly believed. And with various score-attack modes and challenges, there’s even some longevity to be had here. Even the more intense experiences have flashes of fun and brilliance.
If you own Playstation VR, then VR Worlds really does need to be on your radar. It’s the marquee title for the platform that offers some of the finest examples of Virtual Reality gaming on the market today.