Do you recall 2016? Gamers were so excited about what was to come and when it eventually did launch in 2017 the hype fizzled out very quickly. There were many reasons for the demise of the VR concept, with cost being the main culprit. Another problem came in the form of a lack of ‘must-own’ games and the fact that many people experienced motion sickness. The former problem has since changed and if you’re considering a PSVR purchase you now have a wealth of games to choose from.
Unfortunately, I’ve not had the opportunity to play either Oculus Rift or HTC Vive games, so you’re welcome to mention what you think are great titles in the comments. As for PSVR, I’ve become a really big fan of the device. It’s not perfect (I know the other VR offerings are better in terms of raw specs), but when it comes to games Sony has come to the party and below are games that, if you just bought or plan to purchase a PSVR unit, you should consider:
Resident Evil 7
This was honestly the very first game to ‘get’ VR on Sony’s device. You can play the entire game from beginning to end in VR and, believe me, it’s absolutely terrifying when you feel as if you’re right there. The Baker family isn’t out to get Ethan, no, they’re haunting you. Of course you’re playing as Ethan, but once you’re in the world of Resident Evil VII the virtual reality puts you right there in the thick of things. You can just about smell the rot of the old desolated house sucking you into a horror setting that you can barely escape from. It’s an early highlight for PSVR that has aged exceptionally well.
Moss is set in an adventure fantasy setting as you would never have experienced on any format before. Unlike most VR games, you’ll still be a spectator from a first-person view, but you’ll be controlling a little daring mouse as you help her overcome various puzzles and defeat foes on her journey. What makes this game unique is that Quill, the mouse, is aware of you, the Reader. You control her every move that includes being able to jump and perform basic attacks. It’s not a very long game, but the world and level design are just absolutely magical. Also, if you’re a person that suffers from motions sickness, this is one game that might help you overcome that. The camera isn’t all over the show when Quill enters any scene – perfect for beginners.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
Yes, I know that it’s been released on all formats ever. But, let’s move on from that laughable reality and into the fact that the VR port is absolutely astounding. Skyrim does for VR what it originally did for other formats seven years ago. As with Resident Evil VII, the game can be played in its entirety from beginning to end (with all the DLC) in VR. Coming face-to-face with a dragon will just about melt your face. Graphically it still looks like a last-generation game, but the scale of the game is so huge that it overshadows any shortcomings you might fear in jumping into another Skyrim experience. This game can be played with either Dualshock 4 or Move controllers, you can decide what works best for you.
Once in a while, you need to let loose and shoot everything in sight in the form of a brainless shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Time Carnage is that typical experience. There is no story to be found here and you’ll simply be shooting zombies, dinosaurs, skeletons and other forms of evil baddies. You have access to four weapons at a time (there are many, many guns to choose from), and you interchange between the four weapons. It gets quite frantic and, should you own a pair of Move controllers, you’re going to feel all ‘Robocop’ as you’re looking in one direction and shooting threats in another. It’s just an enormous amount of fun. It’s also another game that is perfect for those with motion sickness issues, where the camera remains in one position, with only your head looking in various directions.
The Persistence (written by Marko Swanepoel)
The horror genre is undoubtedly the premiere showcase for VR since strapping yourself into a headset is the perfect way to remove any semblance of safety you have and giving in to pure terror. The Persistence is the embodiment of that idea in the form of a terrifying rogue-like that takes place on a ship filled with unspeakable genetic horrors. The game was designed from the ground up to be a VR-focused horror title and this certainly comes through in the mechanics, visuals and direction of the game. If you’ve wanted something to truly scare your pants off, you need not look much further. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the best VR horror title you can play at this present moment.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Things started off so well for Supermassive games. Until Dawn spawned this beautiful VR game, Rush of Blood, and ultimately they produced the rubbish The Inpatient (avoid that like a plague). But, this is a list of games you should own, and you really should own Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. This is literally an on-rails (you’re on roller coaster tracks) shooting experience where you’re being transported through various themes of horrors that requires you to gun down anything that comes (mostly screaming) your way. Expect solid jump scares throughout and, if you have a pair of Move controllers you’re playing it as intended. The Dualshock 4 does do the trick, but it’s nowhere near as versatile. Also, this was part of the PlayStation Plus service at some point, so hopefully you’ll have claimed it for when the time comes.
Wipeout Omega Collection
Oh boy, how do I contain myself without my fanboi roots being pulled from the ground and turned upside-down? The beauty of this VR game is that, should you already own Wipeout: The Omega Collection, you already have yourself a shiny new VR game – just update the game online and voila! The most immersive VR games take place in cockpits to resemble the feeling that you’re actually commandeering some form of vehicle. In this case, an extremely fast futuristic floating ship. You can play VR in any mode you please and there are settings to help those with motions sickness, though I really don’t think it’ll help when you’re hurtling vertically at top speed up some building. If you’re a fan of the series you simply have to play it.
Firewall: Zero Hour
I’m generally not the biggest fan of shooters, and when I do play shooters I’ll gravitate towards something like Halo. Realism? Nope. Firewall: Zero Hour changed all that. Imagine Rainbow Six Siege in virtual reality and you have the basic idea. It’s not quite as in-depth, but it makes up for that with fun. The game is an online multiplayer-only game, with a 4v4 structure, but it’s the team play that becomes the biggest factor. Get your friends to join and it’s unlikely you’re going to find anything else as much fun to play online. It’s a slow-paced game that gets very strategic. As you level up you’ll gain access to better gear like sticky grenades and proximity mines that will stop anyone from getting near that laptop – the main objective for the attacking team. The Dualshock 4 controller can be used, but if you want the real experience you have to get yourself the aim controller.
Keep Talking and No One Explodes
The one problem VR brings to most experiences is that it’s something that’s only for one person to enjoy and for the rest to watch and wait for their turn. Keep Talking and No One Explodes is the game that makes the other people in the room just as important as the VR player. The defuser (VR player) has his or her hands stuck to a bomb that needs to be defused by completing various puzzles. That’s where the other players, the Experts, come into play. It’s up to them to read the bomb defusal manual. The Defuser can’t see the manual and bases his or her actions purely on the guidance from the Experts. There is nothing else like it out there and if you want your friends or family to join in on the fun, this is the game to get.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank SEGA for releasing this beauty on the Dreamcast. Rez comes from the man that brought you games such as Lumines, Child of Eden and even SEGA Rally 2. It was one of the first games to pioneer the kaleidoscope of an abstract setting in a world that revolves around music. It has since morphed to various formats, but I think it’s finally found its home. In VR it’s the Lawnmower Man promise we were told about years ago, coming to life. The world is vast with spectacular use of colour in this on-rails shooter and, to top it, there is a brand new level made especially just for VR and it looks striking. Set alongside an immersive soundtrack and the ability to set a second vibrating controller… near your groin… will have you quite literally feeling and experiencing the world that is Rez.
Racing games in a VR environment are something that never quite lived up to expectations on PSVR. Driveclub failed to wow anyone with its mediocre attempt and GT Sport allows you to only race against one other opponent (and AI that is far too easy to beat) or go up against yourself via a time trial. Where GT Sport does come into its own is for those who do own a steering wheel (like Thrustmaster, for example). Each car comes with its own unique feel and resistance and, with VR on your head, it feels as if you’re wearing a racing helmet as you speed around one of the many available tracks. Just sitting there and admiring the interior of each car that has been created with VR in mind is enough to get petrolhead hearts racing.
You’ve likely never heard of this Indie title for PSVR? EVE Gunjack is based on the EVE science fiction universe and, like so many other successful VR games, puts you in the cockpit of a Gunjack (basically a mounted mech with guns for arms). Set in space, it’s up to you to blast waves of enemies whose aim it is to destroy your crew and your ship. Think of it as a VR take on Galaga. Alien ships stream in from different directions and it’s up to you to destroy as many of them that appear. There are some powerups that’ll give you the advantage to make it all the way to the last badass boss fight, which is quite the fight. It’s simple, but most importantly, it’s just good clean fun.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Every console or piece of hardware needs that one title that catapults it into the stratosphere of greatness and PSVR has finally, only just recently, found that game. It comes from none other than Studio Japan, who has time and again produced some of the most beloved games on the PlayStation format. Astro Bot Rescue Mission is the cute little bot you met when you bought the PS4 and checked out the free-to-download PlayRoom for the first time. In this adventure, he has to save his crewmates who have been attacked by an alien. It’s an action-adventure platformer where you also quite literally get involved (using your head to bash obstacles), but the immersion does not stop there. There is no other PSVR game that makes as good use of the Dualshock 4 features as this game does. Saying more than that would be a sin – buy it.
Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep (written by Marko Swanepoel)
Fishing was an inevitability for VR games, but instead of having some boring stroll through a boring lake, we get plunged into the fantastical world of Final Fantasy XV. Not only do you get the unending thrill ride of fishing for bass, but you also get to battle gigantic aquatic monstrosities with a crossbow and a can-do attitude. It’s reasonably silly at the best of times, but that’s part of the game’s charm. You even get to interact with the Final Fantasy XV cast close up and personal and yes, Cindy in VR is something to behold and make you lock your door for fear that anyone walks in. The fishing is simple, to the point and it’s also extremely relaxing. Throwing your line with the Move controller and just sitting there waiting for bites and admiring the scenery is a good way to clear your mind. It’s also astoundingly pretty and certainly one of the best-looking VR titles I’ve played. If you’re down for some fishing, this is pretty much the perfect game for that.
Originally released for the PS4 (and other formats) as a standard game, Thumper is another example of a game that morphed to the realm of VR exceptionally well. It’s the first game of its kind, in that it’s a rhythm violence game. It’s hard to believe that a game that is based on wicked sounds can make you feel so eerily uncomfortable, but in VR it draws you deeper into an unforgiving world – both visually and in terms of the gameplay. Thumper isn’t an easy game and when you’re confronted by the scale that VR brings, along with the uneasiness of it all, it becomes quite intimidating. Get your timing just right and that little beetle thing will become one of your favourite on-screen companions yet.