The Sony PlayStation VR2 is a massive improvement over the previous model, which launched almost six years ago.
I got to try out the new VR2 earlier on Thursday (19 January) and came away impressed – though slightly pukish from the game I tried. But that's not the VR2's fault – it's more of Horizon Call of the Mountain's in-game movement. But more on this later.
Thanks to the PlayStation 5's powerful hardware, the VR2 was able to output 4K resolution, delivering an incredibly immersive experience. When I first loaded into Horizon Call of the Mountain, I was blown away with how real everything looked.
Machines like Fanghorn pranced around next to me in high definition, a Tallneck walked over my river boat, which was paddling down a lush forested river. As I looked all around me, I could feel and hear the water through the Sense controllers, which delivered a realistic haptic buzz each time I touched things in the virtual world.
It also tracked my fingers – when I released my grasp, my in-game hands would unfurl accordingly. It felt magical – and incredibly immersive. The orb-shaped design of the Sense controllers also makes a lot of sense to me. It has guards over your hand so you don't accidentally hit the hand on a wall.
One reason why the graphics look so good is because the headset uses eye-tracking to render the area I was looking at in the best resolution, while saving performance on the areas that my eyes were focused on. It's almost impossible to tell when it's doing this, so I'm guessing it works.
Is the PS VR2 comfortable?
Taking its design cues from the PSVR, the VR2 looks very similar, and has the same adjustable headband. However, it adds improvements in the form of being able to adjust your pupillary distance – the distance between the centres of the pupils of your eye.
But the best part about it is how much lighter it is compared to the old model. I didn't feel any strain, even after 30 minutes of wearing it.
And if you're worried about banging into stuff now, the headset has passthrough, which is a button you can press at the underside of it. This allows you to see through, and I was quite impressed with the quality – like I wasn't wearing a headset at all (though it felt like it was in black and white).
And one great improvement compared to the first model is the lack of clunky parts. All it has is one wire that plugs in right into the PS5. I love this, because it was troublesome to set up the original headset with its mess of wires. You needed a manual, and the wires came with stickers to help you.
There's also haptic feedback in the headset, which makes it feel super immersive. One drawback though, is that the VR2 is wired only, but that means it's lighter because you don't need to chuck a huge battery in.
Horizon Call of the Mountain
One game I tried in my demo session is Horizon Call of the Mountain. You may remember that earlier I mentioned how I felt pukish after 30 minutes. That's not because of the VR2, but because of the game's movement.
You can choose between gesture or analog, the former has you swinging your arms to move while holding down on two buttons. The later uses the thumbsticks.
Unfortunately both modes had me feeling terribly nauseous after a while. I'm not sure if I will get used to it – I could play Half-Life: Alyx fine with the teleport movement, though, so I'm hoping the final game will have something similar.
But ignoring that, I had fun.
Like lots of fun. The rock climbing aspects were great, and hanging over a valley is crazy scary. If you have a fear of heights, looking down is a big no no. Or accidentally letting go of the rope and falling to your death. That's crazy realistic.
You can also fire an arrow at targets, and it's a great test of your skill at aiming (though I wish there was sight for me to aim with).
You can smash a gong for fun, open up barrels to search for loot, though it doesn't seem like you can sneak around like in the Horizon games (though maybe I didn't get that far).
Combat is fast paced, with movements more of an on-rails experience. You slide from right to left or vice versa to dodge attacks, while firing arrows at Machines. You can target weak spots or pick off armor bits.
I'm looking forward to the full game as well as the other games slated for launch, though I'm hoping I'll be over the nausea when that happens.
The Sony PlayStation VR2 launches worldwide on 22 February 2023.
In Singapore it will retail for S$869 — more expensive than the PS5 itself. There's also a Horizon Call of the Mountain bundle for S$939.
But it's still cheaper than other headsets with similar specs such as the Meta Quest Pro. Check back soon for our review.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com
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