The Playstation VR2 is the second iteration of Sony’s virtual reality (VR) headset, an update to the original VR gear from more than five years ago, and it’s one hot item today.
Want to get a sense of all that metaverse and VR hype, thanks to Meta and Mark Zuckerberg? Well, the Playstation VR2 lets you test our the newfangled VR experience for yourself with the help of a Sony game console.
For starters, the VR2 is an impressive piece of gaming hardware. It has two 4K OLED HDR-enabled screens with a 110-degree field of view that almost completely covers what your field of vision.
The VR kit also features four cameras on the cover of the headset to help map the playing area so that you would not bump into the furniture blindly as you get excited in a game.
With just a click of a button, the four cameras will show your surroundings through the headset’s screen so you can reorientate yourself in the gaming area.
Within the goggles is an eye-tracking camera that can follow what your eyes see, which helps with screen navigation. You can pick an option on the menu screen just by looking at it. Now, that is intuitive!
Setting up the VR2 headset is easy too. First, I connect the left and right controllers with the Playstation 5 console via an USB cable and then follow the instructions to link the headset to the console with the cable.
It then proceeds to adjust the goggle’s lenses to match your eye’s position and calibrate the eye-tracking system.
Unfortunately, the headset rests on your forehead and back like a clamp, which can be uncomfortable for long gaming sessions.
I just wish there is a third point of contract like the bridge of my nose so it can ease the pressure on the crown of my head. I also have to wear my spectacles while playing because the headset has no diopter adjustments for each eye.
The only connection that VR2 needs is the USB Type C cable that links it to the game console, and the controllers are connected wirelessly.
The 4.5m cable is long enough so that you won’t feel restricted during gameplay. I had some misgivings using the USB Type-C port, but it held on throughout my tests.
The Playstation 5 console streams images to both the TV and the goggles simultaneously so spectators can follow what you are looking at and reacting to in-game.
The first game I tried was the racing game Gran Turismo 7, and it immediately blew my mind. It is uncanny to see the ‘hands’ on the screen reacting to steering and gear changing while your real hands use the PS5 dual sense controller to control the car.
You will feel that you are sitting in an actual car with the ability to see the rearview mirrors and the surroundings, giving you the illusion that you are a race car driver.
To experience the true power of the VR2, you would have to fire up Horizon Call of the Mountain. The game immediately reminds me of Tomb Raider, where you play Lara Croft from a first-person perspective.
The two hands in the game correspond to the position of your hands with the Sense Controllers so that when you reach out for items or use the bow and arrow in the game, it feels like you are manipulating them.
For example, I can reach out to steps on the ladder or crevices on a cliff wall to pull myself up, yes, rather like in real life.
The haptic feedback from the controllers add a dose of realism to the game. When you draw an arrow in a game, the controller vibrates more as you hold on to the string’s tension.
The overall experience of VR2 is impressive. It certainly gave me a challenging workout I have never thought possible, as I find myself drenched in sweat dodging attacks and driving on a race track within an immersive environment.
Besides Gran Turismo 7 and Horizon, there are Resident Evil Village, Star Wars Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, No Man’s Sky and The Dark Picture for game titles that support VR2.
Yes, questions remain about which new games will be available for the VR2 in the future. However, it is still early days to see how well supported the VR systems will gain support from the public.
I will be stoked if more first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty supported VR2. With it, I can quickly look around and engage enemies, feeling feeling the vibration from the controllers whenever I squeeze a virtual gun’s trigger.
The bad news is that the VR2 system works only on a Sony Playstation 5 console, not other hardware. Plus, its S$869 price tag costs as much as another Playstation 5 console, which may deter consumers from adopting it.
That said, the VR2’s simple setup and gaming experience are impressive. They may be enough for some gamers to justify paying a hefty price to get a taste of VR.