PlayStation VR finally arrived less than a year ago as a relatively affordable entry point into the world of console-quality virtual reality. Ever since then Sony Interactive Entertainment has been faced with the task of delivering a fully fledged VR experience on par with the competition from HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Despite a strong start with solid titles such as Farpoint, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and Battlezone, the peripheral still hasn't managed to sufficiently penetrate the consumer fortress and become what could be considered truly game-changing. As a result of this Sony used a good chunk of their E3 2017 press conference to debut the titles in development and to outline the road ahead in terms of the future of PlayStation VR.
Asia's biggest gaming convention, The Tokyo Game Show, therefore seemed like the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how this intro to VR could appeal to both the Japanese and Western markets. We at Gamereactor accordingly visited the Sony booth and got to try a variety of VR titles in development. Among these were The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, Bravo Team and Gran Turismo: Sport.
Developer: Supermassive Games
Release: December 5
As a part of their growing catalogue of VR titles, Supermassive Games is developing the squad-based co-op shooter, Bravo Team. The game has a Call of Duty or Rainbow Six-esque visual look and consequently brings those games into mind when approaching the content. The Gamereactor crew was allowed to play together and find out whether Supermassive is likely to deliver a solid shooting gallery.
If one has played the aforementioned title Farpoint, they will have a pretty good idea of exactly how Bravo Team controls. You point the gun, aim down the sights, and fire the trigger on R2; that sums up the basics, yet unlike Farpoint Bravo Team limits you to a single spot at a time - like a classic arcade game. By pressing specific buttons the player can move from one position to another, triggering a brief passive running scene. Supermassive Games' choice in terms of locomotion is a double-edged sword, since on the one hand it feels archaic to not properly move the character, on the other hand, games like Rigs and Farpoint have resulted in headaches and vague dizziness for some.
In the five minute demo we played, a solid picture painted itself of the basic essence of the game and the aftertaste it left had us feeling somewhat ambivalent about what to expect from the final product.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
Release: November 17
One of the most beloved games of all time is getting the VR-treatment and we were excited to explore the northern sphere of Tamriel in an immersive virtual reality experience. However, we approached the added feature with caution since rendering the entirety of Skyrim in VR seemed liked a daring challenge.
Just as with Bravo Team, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is played with the player jumping from different points on the map rather than free-form movement. We instead had to point with the move controller where we wanted to go and was subsequently transported there magically (though we understand the option for free movement is in the game). During enemy encounters the sword didn't seem to work at all, maybe due to the placement of the camera, and we had to continuously use fire attacks to burn our enemies.
After having played for a while we noticed that we were apparently a 2.5-meter tall person almost hovering in the air and shooting downwards constantly. Even in the end when we faced off against a giant spider, it was still not nearly as tall as the character we were playing as. We're honestly not sure what happened. Playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in VR is currently a far cry from being a smooth experience and is in dire need of some hard work. It's not the first time a Gamereactor representative has come away unimpressive by Skyrim on PSVR, and we fear maybe the dev team has bit off more than they can chew with this one.
Gran Turismo Sport VR
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Release: October 18
Lastly, we tried our hands on the latest entry in the long-running PlayStation-series, Gran Turismo. After more or less underwhelming encounters with the two prior titles in the franchise, the question now was whether or not Polyphony Digital could deliver a satisfying simulation in VR.
Needless to say, Gran Turismo Sport outperformed both Bravo Team and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by a mile. Comfortably seated with racing equipment and being in the presence of fluid movement did wonders for our enjoyment. As with Driveclub before it, the reason to upgrade your PlayStation 4 with a VR headset becomes clear when playing driving games. Gran Turismo: Sport delivered a fluid experience without any hiccups, frame-rate drops or headaches. Cruising the mountainsides while examining the nature from the side windows and enjoying the beauty of your sportscar was marvellous. Unfortunately our demo time with Gran Turismo Sport was cut way too short, but nonetheless left a very positive impression in terms of its VR implementation.
Of the three games we tried in Japan, only Gran Turismo Sport managed to leave a positive lasting impression on us. We'll have to wait and see how the other two feel after extended testing. At least one thing's clear; with all three being joined by the likes of Doom VFR, there are still games to look forward to for those who've invested in a PSVR headset.