Experiencing virtual reality with PlayStation VR Worlds
For PlayStation VR gamers PlayStation VR Worlds is going to seem a lot like a demo disc, designed more to show off the PlayStation 4's VR kit that stand on its own. The title is a grouping of five short VR “experiences”, most of which don't really come under the classification of games at all.
For our PC brethren and fellow VR trailblazers, such experiences have provided some of the most memorable virtual reality moments on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Not all VR titles need to be full length games.
So, for sixty-odd bucks PlayStation VR Worlds gives you five pretty polished VR experiences the like of which Vive and Oculus fans would easily pay $15 on Steam for the privilege of playing.
The individual elements of the title are tied together via an impressive menu. You start sitting in a dimly-lit circular stone room. All around you, recessed into the wall, are statues representing each the experiences. As you look at each statue a unique effect is added to the room.
The London Heist lets you live out your finest Guy Ritchie gangster fantasy. It's best played with the PlayStation Move controllers (which become your guns during the action sequences), but the Dualshock will do, you just won't get the same level of interaction.
The experience starts with you meeting an extremely dodgy acquaintance seemingly about to hand you his business. The venue is a London pub and meeting is about a gemstone that you are going to help obtain.
For the most part The London Heist is a passive affair with you just enjoying Cockney wide boys and brainless meatheads interacting right in front of you. There are two gunplay sections, one during the heist and another during the drive home. They are not bad, but I've played better.
Overall, with The London Heist you are getting a twenty-minute-odd mildly interactive gangster TV episode. No something that you are going to keep coming back to, but something you may play every now and again, even if just to show of your PSVR.
If you like the idea of racing down a heavily trafficked road at breakneck speed with the asphalt only inches from your arse, then VR Luge will be for you. It's a great way to experience an insane activity without killing yourself.
Unfortunately, it's not actually that good. It seems, to avoid the long term psychological effects of virtually getting run over by a truck, Sony's London Studio allows us to harmlessly pass through obstacles. This quickly removes any sense of danger leaving you to merrily bounce, pinball-like, from kerb to kerb without a care in the world.
VR Luge does give you a great sense of speed and the visuals don't look at all bad. You only get four tracks, all in the same location, which is a bit of a shame. The controls, basically your head movements, are a little too imprecise for my liking, further relegating the mini-game.
Danger Ball is the first VR game I've played that could become a legitimate eSport…well, maybe. You control a paddle, again with your head movement, that bats a ball - Breakout-style - alone the inside of an open box to your AI opponent on the other side.
By quickly moving your head to can induce a bit of spin in the hope of fooling your opposition. As you win matches your opponent's gain extra abilities and add effects to the ball, increasing the difficulty.
It sounds lame, but it isn't. I was quite surprised with how addictive the game is. Danger Ball is definitely a surprising highlight of the package for me.
Ocean Descent may be the mini-game that you buy the entire package for. There are three modes, the first, Shark Encounter, offering a dramatic narrative as you dive to the bottom of the ocean in a drive cage surrounded by ROVs. This trip to the bottom of the sea offers an amazing experience, perfectly suited to VR. Fish and sea life dart about as your diving cage is slowly lowered into the abyss.
It could be considered tame, but for some the feeling of isolation, and the little surprise at the bottom may be a bit too much. For the other two modes, you can also select a tranquil coral reef option, and just admire the underwater view from the shallows or take an uneventful sea life tour to the bottom.
Ocean Decent is most definitely the experience you should use to show off your PSVR.
The final part of the package, Scavenger's Odyssey, shows off the PSVR experience in a sci-fi setting. Piloting your vehicle, you must find your way through the wreckage of huge space craft graveyard, shooting enemies and dealing with some mind-scrambling gravity.
Locomotion is handled by normal controller movement and jumping from point to point. Gamers with a weak stomach may find themselves feeling a bit queasy. It is a pretty immersive experience as you are sitting in a cockpit and able to gaze out into the galaxy all around you. Scavengers Odyssey offers a peek into the future of VR gaming with an exciting, if short experience, that puts you right in the game.
PlayStation VR Worlds is the disc that you are going to use to show your PlayStation VR off to your friends and family. None of the experiences are too taxing, but they all serve to show off the potential of VR. The experiences are short, but perfectly formed. It's a shame, however, they are not offered for sale separately.