PSVR First Impressions

So I had a preorder in for PSVR since before I got my holiday cash out that allowed me to buy the vive and I was wavering back and forth between getting the thing as well or canceling it.

Some of the prerelease reviews eventually convinced me to go with it and get one and it turned up today and these are my first impressions having played some of the demos that come with it.

First off I was a little worried about the display quality it's the lowest res screen of the released systems with a basically a single 1080p panel now they shake that up a little by claiming its a full rgb sub pixel panel (the rift and vive both use pentile displays where there isn't an individual red green and blue sub pixel for each pixel in the display) I have to say while there are instances where you are aware of the display resolution (mostly text and the rift and vive both have problems with that as well if it's too small) it's pretty good

The ergonomics of the thing are really good having worn all three of the major head sets I'd say it's the best and most comfortable hands down despite being heavier than the rift or the vive. This is down to the way it attaches to you head while the vive and to a degree the rift are more like ski masks this is like a welders mask. It has an expandable ring arrangement that sits and wraps round the head with a band on the back of the head so it sits diagonally across the skull. The headband had a wide point of contact on you fore head so there is no pressure point. It's spring loaded so you just pull it on and it tightens enough to hold on then you adjust and there is a small wheel to fine tune the fit. The display sits on a sliding charage you can move forward and backwards to suit it apparently will even cope with glasses with no problem. The display doesn't rest on the face all the weight is taken by the head bracket so it's very comfortable. The display does tend to fog up a bit this might be down to the rubber gaskets around it that keep light out.

The machine looks pretty cool as well in white and black plastic with the glowing blue tracking lights it looks like something from the future while both the rift and the vive are ugly pieces of machinery. I know that the physical looks of the thing are somewhat unimportant but at least sony tried to make it look nice neither oculus or htc bothered.

Tracking wise it uses the playstation move tracking system which us a good six years old now and unfortunately it shows. I had several problems with it losing track or doing odd things where the world started moving around of it's own accord. It seemed especially bad when I was using the move controllers the interaction between the hand controllers and the headset tracking seemed to go really crazy at times. The headset on it's own was more stable. With some adjustment and recalibration plus relocating the camera it did eventually stablise enough that I was able to play but it shows the limitations of this pretty old tech.

So far I've run some of the demo games which were quite fun London Heist was a great laugh (though this was when I was still having tracking issues which marred the experience a little) I tried a demo of eve Valkyrie which had a slightly bizarre control scheme but did look gorgeous. The luge demo was cool but pointless as was the dive experience demo. Danger ball was fun a sort of vr pong where you look to control the paddle. I think my favorite was Scavengers Odyssey a sort of mech game where you pilot this jumping robot through a space debris field full of hostile aliens.

I've got a couple of other games I will try Arkam VR, Rush of Blood, and Wayward Sky but I needed to take a bit of a break I find VR to be fairly tiring the act of standing there mostly still for long periods of time with a plastic thing strapped to your face wears you out.

But so far I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience the tracking problems seem to be fixed with a camera recalibration and the games I've tried have been very enjoyable. As I try some of the other more complete experiences I'll add to my thoughts.

Out of the available headsets it's probably the most accessible so far it has really good ergonomics and while it's visuals are not as good as the vive or rift it's close enough to capture that same feeling of immersion. Some of the limitations are no doubt down to the ps4 itself it's even remotely as powerful as even the min spec for PC vr for either rift or vive so to get the refresh rate and graphics some corners are being cut. In the next year or so there is the new ps4.5 coming along that will fix some of that should people want to upgrade I'm not sure if it's going to be worth it or not yet it's still a very unknown quality.

But for something you can just plug in to your existing machine and get go on VR it's pretty respectable.


Batman Arkam VR is an interesting little game some puzzling some investigating bit of an odd ending but still a fun experience. You do some crime scene reconstruction stuff that is a lot of fun and I'd like to see in a full game.

Evilmatt's picture

Fascinating reading. Is there enough PS4 content for it? I think the volume of software might be a bit of a winner here.

brainwipe's picture

At the moment there is a fair number of things for it but it's like vr in general mostly short basically demo sequences very few long form experiences.

We'll have to see how well it does if sony back it properly it could do quite well but they have a history of creating good hardware that they then just abandon so they die a slow death

Evilmatt's picture

Wayward sky is quite special a sort of VR point and click. It places you above the action looking down and then repositions the camera as needed. You use the move controls to point into the world to direct your character and then for some of the puzzles or sequences it switches to first person view and the controllers become hands and you manipulate things that way.

it has lovely graphics with colourful bright environments in the run down mechanical city in the sky setting. Lots of fairly simple puzzle solving and manipulation of things with an increasing set of tools.

Really great fun a game that takes a traditional game framework the point and click and extends it using the vr technology to create something quite magical. I think it's my new favourite of the games I've tried so far.

Evilmatt's picture