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We had the opportunity to give Sony’s new PlayStation VR2 a thorough test and try four completely different titles.
Almost six years after the release of the virtual reality glasses PlayStation VR (PSVR) for the PlayStation 4, the PlayStation VR2 for the PlayStation 5 was released on February 22, 2023 and is available for €599.99/£529.99/$549.99.
We immediately notice that the new glasses are noticeably more comfortable to wear. The weight has been reduced from 600 to 560 grams and the cable layout has also been streamlined. The comfort functions of the PSVR on the headband have been adopted and so you can continuously adjust the contact pressure and the interpupillary distance. Unlike the first iteration of PSVR, which required multiple cables and a set-top box, PSVR2 connects to an included USB-C to USB-A cable, which is 4.5 meters long enough for most living rooms. Cable with your PlayStation 5. Since four cameras have been attached to the outside of the glasses, it is no longer necessary to set up a camera. In addition, the PSVR2 has two cameras inside as an eye movement meter. A trick is used here to optimize performance. In each game, only your actual field of view is rendered sharp and the surrounding details are reduced in quality. This ensures smoother gameplay and a more realistic viewing experience, which is further enhanced by the increased field of view from 100 to 110 degrees. Both glasses support a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. Probably the most important improvement is the higher resolution. While the resolution of the PSVR was still limited to Full HD and LCD panels, we count 2,000 x 2,040 pixels on the OLED lenses of the PSVR2.
The PlayStation Move controllers known as ice cream cones have had their day. Two sense controllers are included with the PSVR2. If you’ve used PC VR goggles like we have, the design will look familiar. The controllers are comfortable to hold and look like the glasses themselves are of high quality. We can’t give any information on the battery life, since we’ve only been able to try out the devices at a Sony event so far.
And now to what matters, the games. We were able to try Horizon Call of the Mountain, Gran Turismo 7, Moss: Book II and Resident Evil Village. With the exception of Horizon, these are games that either previously appeared on other VR platforms (Moss) or were subsequently released with VR support (GT7 and RE Village). Horizon Call of the Mountain is currently the flagship game for PSVR2. At the beginning of our tutorial river trip, when a long-necked man walks through the wilderness, our jaws drop. Horizon Forbidden West is already a beautiful game to look at, but it’s Call of the Mountain that gives us the first glimpse of the sheer scale of this foe. Since the PSVR2, like the PS5, also supports 3D audio, we feel audiovisually right in the middle of the jungle. Call of the Mountain also cuts a fine figure in terms of gameplay. Climbing on rock faces is gradually becoming more demanding and the fights with bow and arrow are also exciting and challenging.
Moss: Book II follows in the big (or rather small?) footsteps of the first book. It’s a storybook-style platformer in which we guide a little mouse through parcours-like levels and fight with it. Many game elements of the first part can be found at the beginning. This makes it easier to get started, but we weren’t able to discover quite a lot that was new in our half hour with the game. Like its predecessor, Moss: Book II is lovingly staged and the German dubbing convinces us from the first minute.
Gran Turismo 7 (PS5 and PS4 versions review) offers one of the most intense racing experiences on console with PSVR2. Unlike in GT Sport, in which only selected events could be experienced with the PSVR, in GT7 we can contest every race in virtual reality. This makes the fast-paced duels against our opponents even more intense. In VR you can much more easily make out the distance to your next opponent and find the right braking point. The feeling of speed that was criticized in our test is also significantly increased in VR. The rumble effects on the VR headset help you to immerse yourself further into the cockpit, which is particularly effective in the event of collisions. PSVR2 players are not currently benefiting from the 120Hz update of the PS5 version. Especially in a racing game, the increased frame rate would have a clearly positive effect.
Resident Evi Village is arguably the oldest game in the lineup. Fortunately, we haven’t played Capcom’s horror adventure on any other platform until the Sony event. Visiting and exploring the apparently abandoned village that gave it its name became even more immersive and intense. Despite an extensive tutorial, we had our problems with realistic weapon behavior. In a house besieged by vampires, it’s hard to find the time to slide each magazine into the gun one at a time, and in the case of the sniper rifle, to put each bullet down the barrel one at a time. However, RE Village has numerous comfort functions and control options. Once we’ve dealt with these settings, the game should be a lot more manageable. Some of the cutscenes are played on a virtual two-dimensional screen, like watching a movie on your VR glasses. This sometimes pulls us out of the otherwise very dense atmosphere.
We would like to play all four games much more extensively. That already speaks for the PSVR2. In the two hours we spent with the PlayStation VR2, we were already able to get a good first impression of the new Sony hardware. The glasses are much more comfortable on the head and the Sense controllers are a world of difference to the PlayStation Move controllers. As soon as we get our hands on a review device ourselves, we will be able to give you much more detailed impressions of the hardware and the games, as well as the battery life of the controllers and how it feels to wear the VR headset for several hours.
The publishers provided us with the screenshots.