The release of Playstation VR marks an important moment in gaming history; it’s the first time gamers can play VR on consoles, and for a relatively low price in comparison to PSVR’s competitors. My initial impressions of the headset are very positive indeed, it is truly an immersive experience, and most of the launch titles have been quite enjoyable to play. So, I’d like to highlight three particular games that have really impressed me and cemented my confidence in Playstation VR
Batman VR is by far the best VR game I’ve played yet. The quality of the whole experience is incredibly high, but this is not surprising at all since it’s made by Rocksteady, the developers behind the Batman Arkham series. The game is a relatively long detective mission lasting roughly two hours. There has been a murder in Gotham, and as the greatest detective in the whole DC universe you must find the culprit. The game takes place in a first person perspective, really making you the Batman. Let me tell you, it is very exciting when suiting up as the Batman and it wasn’t long before I was shouting “I’M BATMAN!” in Christian Bales famous Dark Knight voice. Before getting the PSVR, I was skeptical if paying the extra cash to get the move controllers would really be worth it, however I’m glad to say I was very wrong. The move controllers add a whole new degree of immersion and interactivity to many games. It’s surreal and quite frankly awesome to reach down, pick up a Baterang and throw it to a button in order to unlock a door. If you are on the fence about the move controllers it really is worth the extra cost. Also be warned, Batman VR has a few scares in it that certainly sent shivers down my spine. Coming face to face with one of Batman’s greatest enemies is exciting but may not be for the faint of heart. Batman VR is a well-rounded experience harnessing all of Playstations VR’s capabilities, placing you in the suit that you’ve always be in.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes:
When I heard that Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was a coop game my immediate thought was, how the hell does that work? You’d need two VR headsets, right? But when I saw how you play the game everything made sense. The person wearing the VR headset has to defuse a bomb, while the other player/s must use the TV instructions to describe how to do so. This game is all about communication as the TV player does not know what the bomb looks like, so the VR player has to describe it to them, and then the TV player can provide the correct instruction on how to deal with it. You go about defusing the bomb by solving puzzles placed on the explosive before the timer runs out. You have the classic cut the right wire puzzle but then you also have some more obscure ones like, moving around a maze and Simon says. As you can probably imagine all of this creates an energetic party game full of shouting instructions and potential mistakes. You do have three strikes so if you do make an error the timer on the bomb counts down even faster, instead of immediately blowing up. The puzzle are random every time you play so there is little chance for you solving them by memory, but I’d recommend you don’t try to do that as the fun comes from trying to communicate to your teammates. Although I do think that Keep Talking could be played without VR, having the headset adds more immersion and intensity as that red digital countdown timer ticks and ticks until you manage to defuse it or blows you up into pieces. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes may not be my favorite game on PSVR but it is most certainly the best party game for it.
The final game I’d like to talk about is Thumper. This rhythm game has you play as a beetle traveling at high speeds along a glowing track in space. If you think that sounds pretty trippy, you’d be correct. As is in many rhythm games you dodge obstacles to the beat of the music in order to survive and progress. It is not overly complicated but this does not make it less engaging, in fact its simplicity is one of its biggest strengths, anyone can pick it up and quickly learn the controls. The music that goes hand in hand with the gameplay is also very impressive. It’s quite hard to even put it in a category or genre but it is certainly aggressive, full of drums and heavy beats. When you press buttons to the audio cues it feels good simply due to the impactful beat, there is a strange sense of power you get for playing this game. While you are experiencing all of this you are also presented with an absolutely gorgeous backdrop filled with vivid colours and psychedelic shapes, it is really an amazing sight when playing in VR, especially when coming across the gigantic, domineering bosses. This is one game where you can play without the need of a VR headset and even then I would still recommend it, for its satisfying gameplay and soundtrack.
Overall, these games have made me very confident in Playstation VR, I don’t feel it’s just a gimmick and I do think that we have a place in gaming for it. I’m looking forward to what game developers bring next to virtual reality. However, I just hope that Sony keep up with VR and don’t forget about it, like PS Vita. Unfortunately, we will just have to wait and see.