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16th Feb 2023

PlayStation VR2 feels like it came from 20 years in the future

Rory Cashin

PS VR2 review

Here are our thoughts on Sony’s new virtual reality system.

When was the last time you were playing a game and you were literally so overcome with entertainment from what you were playing with, that you couldn’t help but actually laugh out loud in delight? That is exactly what happened with the PlayStation VR2, within the first few minutes of use there was an immediate and overwhelming sense that this actually could be the next evolutionary step in gaming.

There have previously been some attempts in marrying gaming with physical involvement from the player, from the Wii controls to the Xbox Kinect, but never has it felt as smartly integrated and cleverly designed as it does right here. We should immediately get the elephant in the room out of the way: in order to fully enjoy this, you’ll need to invest in the PlayStation VR2 (retailing at €599.99) and already own a PS5 console (either €449 or €549, depending on which version you purchased), so admittedly that is at least over €1,000 before you’ve even purchased a game.

Having said that, this a matter of working out your own cost:benefits ratio, and in the case of the PlayStation VR2, the future of those benefits is looking very, very bright. The system will launch with over 30 games available within its first month of release, including VR adventures set within the worlds of Horizon Zero Dawn, Star Wars, Gran Turismo, Tetris, NFL, Resident Evil and The Walking Dead.

As for the system itself, even setting it up feels like we’ve suddenly stepped 20 years into the the future. Slipping on the headset, the easy-to-understand instructions help you fit it to your head and adjust for your eyes. It then maps out the room your playing in (for full mobility, 2m x 2m space is best), which you can edit using the ingenious controllers. Initially they might appear daunting, until your brain understands that they are essentially just a regular PS5 controller, but snapped down the middle so you can hold one in each hand.

Your only tether from that point on is the lengthy cord connected to the PS5 console, so you’re free to sit, stand or move about, depending on your preferred play-style. The eye-tracking within the headset is immaculate, using your own vision as an on-screen cursor, and the controllers appear on screen in front of you, just as themselves when in between games, or appearing usually as a pair of floating hands when within games.

The sensitivity of the controllers themselves is also spectacular, to the extent that the fingers on the hands will change from first to pointing, depending on whether or not you’ve got your own fingers on the buttons. Not pushing the buttons, just placed on them, with further actions only then happening when the buttons are actively pushed down.

As for the headset, maybe the two biggest complaints about virtual reality to date are both magnificently quashed here. (1) Throughout the games we played while reviewing, there was absolutely zero motion sickness. The movements are clean and clear, and never once was there an issue of our brain not aligning with what we were experiencing. In fact, the only issue was a mild case of vertigo while playing Horizon: Call Of The Mountain, but that was merely down to the fact that we were climbing up the side of a sheer mountain and stupidly decided to look straight down.

And (2) the weight of the headset is negligible – same with the controllers – so there is never a sense that our line of sight is being pulled downwards by what we’re wearing. Looking up and around in all directions is easy, and highly recommended, to check out the absolutely gorgeous sandboxes we’ve been dropped into.

In the end, what we experienced across using the system and the accompanying games does feel like the next evolutionary step in home entertaining. There will never be a full replacement for the basic appeal of sitting back and playing a game on your TV with nothing more than your controller, but in terms of technological achievements and pure immersiveness, the PSVR2 is unparalleled, and if you can afford it, and absolute must-own.

The PlayStation VR2 is available to purchase from Wednesday, 22 February, with some stores offering pre-orders right now.

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