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The review embargo for the headset has been lifted, so here’s what global outlets think of the new product.
The publication was mostly impressed by the headset, but it does raise a few very valid concerns.
“The full-fat PC VR experience has been nipped and tucked in terms of core technology and visual accomplishment, but the sense of presence required for a top-tier virtual reality experience is undiminished and there’s plenty of promise in the initial launch line-up,” the site’s Richard Leadbetter wrote.
“Bearing in mind its price in relation to the competition, PlayStation VR is a remarkable achievement – especially bearing in mind that it manages to outscore its much more expensive rivals in key respects, principally in terms of comfort, fit and finish. In accommodating a (relatively) fixed platform, Sony had to get this hardware right first time and by and large, it’s done an excellent job.”
‘Bearing in mind its price in relation to the competition, PlayStation VR is a remarkable achievement’
Leadbetter noted that extended gameplay sessions were a challenge, as well as the price (in light of the PS4 Pro coming out in the same timeframe).
“But perhaps the biggest challenge facing PlayStation VR is that as good as the hardware is overall, the platform – and indeed VR in general – is still looking for that killer app, the game that will change everything. I used to think that presence, that immense feeling of being transported to another place, would be enough to sell the platform, that the experience alone was enough. But what’s clear is that it isn’t.”
The website’s Lucas Sullivan favourably compared the headset to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
“As a platform, I think VR still needs a generation or two to achieve the tipping point into mass appeal; PS4 owners shouldn’t feel like they’re missing a revolution if they’re not clambering to run out and buy PS VR this instant. But after using all three VR headsets extensively, I firmly believe that PlayStation VR is the leading VR headset in the ways that matter most: comfort level and game library.”
GamesRadar noted that the PS VR is no exception to the early adopter rule though. That is, hold out before buying it.
“Personally, I’m not going to take the plunge on PSVR just yet. Most games make an exemplary first impression, but they all strike me as limited in some way: narrative-driven games seem to wrap things up just when the going gets good, and the abstract action games I adore really just boil down to high-score chasing on the leaderboards after the first few runs. If you take away the magic of VR and look at these games from a purely utilitarian perspective, I don’t feel like I’m getting enough gameplay depth for the substantial buy-in…”
Jimmy Thang said that the PS VR is an impressive bit of kit, but definitely takes several shortcuts. The reviewer said that visuals are a tad blurry, owing to the 1920×1080 display (not matching rival headsets), but also lamented what he felt was the cobbled together nature of the ecosystem.
“It’s not the end of the world by any means, but it definitely feels like an ecosystem that’s cobbled together using existing parts. Furthermore, because PSVR uses only one camera, the Move controllers will get occluded if you turn completely around, as the camera needs to see the light emitting from the controller to track it,” Thang elaborated.
“What this means on a fundamental level is that we are likely not to get 360 gameplay experiences. Another small gripe I have is that there is no system which indicates where your real walls are in VR. On more than one occasion, I swung the Move controller too far and conked a wall.”
‘You don’t get the easy portability and bargain price of a cell-phone based VR system’
Are the shortcuts a few too many though?
“As a VR fan, I want PSVR to succeed, but it trips up too many times to wholeheartedly recommend at this point. Many of the launch titles will make a large percentage of people sick, and it may lead to the false impression that VR has to make you nauseated,” the reviewer continues. “If you have a PS4 and are dying to get PSVR, then I’d recommend the US$499.99 bundle which includes the PlayStation Camera, two Move controllers, and PlayStation VR Worlds. If you have a PS4 and are simply curious about VR, I’d hold out until more titles are released.”
Kyle Orland, writing for Ars Technica, said that the headset falls in between the more expensive efforts and the mobile VR headsets.
“In a way, it’s incredible that a virtual reality experience this good is possible on the PlayStation 4 at all. At its best, PlayStation VR approaches the quality of the current state-of-the-art PC-based VR headsets at a fraction of the price. The fact that the PlayStation VR is much more comfortable and has better optics than those competitors, that it can be easily set up in a living room, and that it comes with the significant software publishing muscle of Sony all make it instantly compelling,” Orland writes.
“Still, the middle-of-the-road approach comes with compromises on both ends. You don’t get the easy portability and bargain price of a cell-phone based VR system, and you don’t get the high-resolution, heavily detailed scenes, and effortless tracking that are possible on the high-end PC headsets.”
Feature image: Marco Verch via Flickr