PSVR Thoughts

I couldn’t find that I had posted this. I found it lost in old drafts. Enjoy or enjoy again!

Objectively, the PSVR is an expensive add-on that feels like a beta test of its hardware and software. It is not a mature platform. It has few, if any, “killer apps”. Setting PSVR up optimally is not for the weak willed and is a frustrating experience most of the time. The screen resolution prevents games from ever looking like the trailers that Sony and other developers use for marketing. The headset, though not heavy, does get heavier over time and as you move. Plus, it does not breathe at all.

But subjectively? Subjectively, it has all been worth it.

Whenever someone asks me about my Playstation VR, I am always reticent to talk about owning one in detail. I struggle hiding my passion and enthusiasm, so I can protect the other party from buying into my hype. As a PSVR v1 user with a Playstation 4 Pro, my living room setup is ludicrous because of the lack of 4K passthrough. To take advantage of my PS4 Pro’s better graphics (you know, the whole point of the system) I had to either keep the PSVR disconnected all the time or find a third-party solution. Until I found that solution (a HDMI splitter), I never used the PSVR because it involved so many steps to get just right.

I had to:

  • Make sure I had the right HDMI cable(s) connected.
  • Pull out all the wiring associated with the PSVR headset.
  • Setup the camera for an optimal viewing angle.
  • Figure out which controllers I needed (two PS Moves, one dual shock, etc.) and make sure they were charged and ready to go.
  • Put on the PSVR helmet and make multiple adjustments to get the right viewing angle/comfort.
  • Get up and make further adjustments to the camera positioning because I never get it in the right location the first time.
  • Micro-adjust other specialized settings within the software (for example, height and distance adjustments), if needed.
  • Hope that the software or hardware doesn’t bug out for a variety of reasons.
  • Put everything up when done because no one wants a heap of wires and other expensive hardware laying around in front of a television.

Keep all these things in mind when I say to you that I love being a PSVR owner. While I could probably do better with more expensive setups or more expensive platforms, the PSVR just works (once you figure it out) and does so in the convenience of my living room where I have the most space. I could put my PC there too, but the thought of playing my normal PC games on my television horrifies me, as does moving a PC tower back and forth.

When it comes to PSVR games, I favor movement over immersion or multiplayer. I never played organized sports as a kid, but I enjoy a pick-up-game. In adulthood, it is a lot harder to get the sports-like activities in, so being able to do a virtual reality equivalent is fantastic. I love Knockout League for its Punch-Out!!!-like approach to VR boxing. More recently, I have been playing Beat Saber, which feels like a hybrid of dancing and air traffic control that works out similar arm muscles as tennis. Speaking of tennis, I have also had success playing Holoball though it is shallower than the other two games mentioned.

Even games like Superhot, which is not in anyway a sports game or sports-like game, adds a certain degree of physicality in VR. In that game, the enemies only move when you do, so dodging a bullet can mean maintaining a crouching position for a prolonged period as I survey the battlefield for my next move. That engages muscles that sitting never would.

Of course, VR isn’t just about swinging your arms like an idiot. I have also had a lot of playing old favorites like Rez or new favorites like Astro Bot Rescue Mission. Even Tetris benefits from VR in Tetris Effect, though I quickly got tired of wearing the headset for an admittedly minimal impact on the gameplay.

There are a lot of other experiences I am looking forward to having or may have forgotten about while writing this. Moss is a big standout there, but also the upcoming remake of Space Channel 5 to sate my inner Dreamcast fanboy. Many of these games are short or repetitive, but I do not view that as a negative. Rather than overflowing with weak gameplay bits like most open world RPGs, these smaller experiences are tighter and more focused on stronger gameplay.

Despite being a rough, unpolished experience, PSVR has sold me on the future of the platform (and VR gaming). Assuming it can’t be any worse to setup, I am almost definitely getting PSVR in whatever form it takes with the future Playstation 5. If they can add features like a wireless headset, better screen resolution, or a simpler setup, then I may even get it day one. As a gamer who doesn’t mind moving around, PSVR is a perfect match for me and something I frequently look forward to playing when I have the time.

Author: C. T. Murphy

Part-time writer, sometimes blogger.

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