So what do I think of PlayStation VR?
Totally, totally loving it! I've only played Arkham VR thus far, but it's been a blast! Got everything set up last night at about 7:30pm, and finally forced myself to pull the headset off at 3:30am. Which means I was playing the game - eyes engulfed fully in VR - for a solid, non-stop 8 hours. Even more amazing, in my opinion, was that I was doing all this standing up almost the entire time! Of course, the game itself is only a few hours long, but tooling around trying to find/solve all the Riddler puzzles and (perhaps the most fun) simply just looking at the unlockable character/bat vehicle models apparently made the time really zip by... plus I was really pushing for the 100%. (Just couldn't figure out what needed to be done for those last few trophies).
Seriously... if you've unlocked any characters and vehicles in Arkham VR, try to take the time to check them ALL out, rotating them all around and (in the case of the character models) selecting the 3 additional "poses". The sense of an iconic hero/villain/character/vehicle in the 3D space is pretty amazing to witness... that you feel like that character/vehicle is RIGHT THERE, able to be touched or (for vehicles) climbed into. Killer Croc, and every single vehicle, are my top faves.
Based off of everything I was hearing, I was expecting to have to take the headset off every 30mins, or at least every few hours, for the strain it supposedly places on the body/eyes... but I think that might only apply to the type of game? I did feel like I was getting a little blurry/cross-eyed at the end, but 8 non-stop hours of normal TV-watching might do the same thing, not to mention doing so while staying up past 3am... so I'm giving that a pass - for now. (I also suffer from central serous retinopathy, which when it's at its worst makes me feel cross-eyed even just walking around outside, but that didn't seem to affect or be the cause of anything last night.) The headset itself was totally comfortable... wearing it feels pretty much the same as wearing a hat.
The issues I do have so far though... the trophy notifications. That HAS to change... as the fact that it even plays the trophy-popping sound already does as much "immersion breaking" as a visual notification would, and then the curiosity of what trophy actually popped compelling me to pull up the Home menu... that's about as intrusive as it could possibly get with respect to preserving immersion. But that probably can (and probably will) change with a software update. What might be less fixable is the "jitters" that Kirk Hamilton at Kotaku wrote about... which seems to be PSVR's relying on the old Move + PS4 camera tech. It's not a HUGE deal, at least in the realm of Arkham VR gameplay... but definitely noticeable if you're trying to read text written on something you're holding. Hopefully it doesn't affect gameplay in other games that require precise movements. (I think we already know how horrible ANY game would be, if it has motion controls and requires precise movements.) ;)
So am I still as stoked on PSVR as I was pre-launch? I'm gonna say emphatically, YES. The game that convinced me to be a PSVR believer was, of all games, Wayward Sky (which I also downloaded last night), which had some very unmemorable point-and-click-y gameplay, from what I played last year. But the scenes I witnessed in the demo that placed you IN the scene (as cliché as it is)... those blew me away. Arkham VR is pretty much an entire game (albeit a very short one) that places you IN the game, and it's pretty incredible to soak in the sights and sounds of Gotham surrounding you... graphics that are crazy-realistic in comparison to Wayward Sky's cartoon-y look. To look at the light reflecting off a tiled floor, and actually see the mop-streaks on it when you tilt your head at the right angle... totally unexpected to see that level of detail (which is on the devs, of course), but which I didn't think was even possible with PSVR.
As for the Arkham VR game itself, its pretty passive as far as a game goes (which might be the standard for a VR game?)... since you're really only a stationary character in a very dynamic-feeling world. But as a taste of what it's like to be Batman in VR... I think it really works. Perhaps the jaw-dropping immersion is something that will only happen at this early stage of VR... but still, it's pretty amazing that such a passive game can have you look over the edge of a steep drop and you actually feel the vertigo, or to "walk" into a very cramped (and dirty) space and feel the claustrophobia... so I'm crazy excited to see what developers can come up with in the future, with these added tools of sensory stimuli at their disposal.
Thanks Fatty for the write up!