As I’ve mentioned before, I picked up a PSVR bundle during Sony’s E3 sale. The bundle came with a demo disk of various games and a copy of “Skyrim VR.” The demo disk was definitely a fun start, but ultimately left me wanting – as demo disks are designed to do – because none of the demos gave me the satisfaction of a complete game. Unfortunately, “Skyrim VR” didn’t seem like the right next-step either. I don’t quite have my VR legs yet and I’ve heard that “Skyrim VR” is most immersive when played in free-motion mode, where your character actually walks instead of teleporting from point to point. Unfortunately, free motion makes you more prone to motion sickness. I still have to build up to that and don’t want to ruin the experience by jumping the gun and getting sick.
Well, luckily, during Sony’s massive Summer Sale, I was able to pick up a boatload of new VR experiences to try out for dirt cheap. First up was “PS VR Worlds.” Much like a demo disk, “PS VR Worlds” is a collection of five games that have been built and optimized specifically for PSVR. The five games are pretty diverse, varying in genre, setting, and length.
For my first experience, I chose to dive into “Into the Deep,” (see what I did there?) a working-title that puts you into a diving rig to explore the open ocean. There were a few different modes for the game, each of which explores different depths of the ocean. However, the final mode, “Shark Encounter” is by far the longest and most immersive. It’s a bit disappointing when you realize that “Shark Encounter” just reuses some of the same content from the shorter modes, but the developers do tack on a story that makes it worthwhile to run through regardless. Reuse of content aside, “Into the Deep” was jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring from both a graphical and immersion standpoint. This was, by far, the first time a VR experience has made me lose myself in a digital world and I actually felt really small in the vast ocean landscape laid out before me. It really illustrates the power and potential of virtual reality. I’m not sure how much replayability this title has, and it would have been great to have an open-world-esque experience in the open ocean, but this is definitely a can’t miss for any VR beginner.
Next up, I played a few rounds of “Danger Ball.” The best way to describe this experience is “first-person Pong.” You stand at one end of a digital court, striking a ball (using your head as the paddle) and trying to get it past your AI opponent. It’s a really simple concept but it was still fun and had a good amount of replayability. It’s definitely nothing to write home about but it’s a great beginner experience. My only wish is that the developers integrated Move controller compatibility into the game instead of relying solely on head movement.
“The London Heist” was, hands down, my favorite experience on “PS VR Worlds.” The game puts you into a story-driven first-person shooter on rails, following the story of two London mobsters trying to pull off a diamond heist. The game is definitely narrative-driven, with bouts of action interspersed with cutscenes where characters get really in-your-face. During the action sequences, you use two Move controllers as handguns to shoot down your opponents in both a standoff and a car chase sequence. The car chase sequence was especially fun; you can even stick your head out the window of the vehicle and look behind you to see upcoming enemies. Even the narrative cutscenes are interesting; you can always interact with the environment around you – smoking a cigar feels particularly lifelike since the microphone in the headset actually listens for your inhale and exhale. The only downfall of this game is that it isn’t longer. The whole experience can be completed in 30 minutes or less, but this is a world I definitely could have spent more time in.
Ah – and now we’ve reached the two tricky titles in the collection. “VR Luge” and “Scavenger’s Odyssey” both seem like really entertaining concepts. “Scavenger’s Odyssey” in particular seems really compelling, as it’s a space adventure where you’re the pilot of a spaceship. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get very far into the game before I started feeling pretty nauseous. Hopefully, this is just a case of me attempting the game before developing my sea legs. However, I’ve noticed a lot of chatter online that says this game is pretty rough on the gullet. The same can be said for “VR Luge.” The concept is pretty simple here – you run some street courses on a luge, dodging and weaving between cars and navigating some pretty windy roads. It was definitely fun while I was able to play, but after two run-throughs I had to take a break because I was getting pretty dizzy. I’m hoping that after I’ve worked my way up through more motion-based games, I’ll be able to revisit these experiences. Until then, I can’t really give an opinion one way or another.
Overall, this collection was a great steal for just under $6. The titles felt longer and more fleshed out than anything on the demo disk… but I’m not sure how I would have felt about it if I purchased it for original retail price. All 5 experiences were still pretty short and left me wishing they were a little bit longer. However, the very fact that I wanted more is also a testament to the quality of the experiences themselves, and I’m glad I have them in my game library.
Have you checked out “PS VR Worlds” yet? What did you think of the experiences? Drop me a line in the comments below or on Instagram!