PlayStation VR Worlds is essentially a collection of five technical demonstrations that serve to illustrate different ways in which the new technology can be leveraged. They do so to varying degrees of success, offering impressive highs and dismaying lows.
VR Worlds’ games are inconsistent in many ways, but they all share an immersive sense of 3D depth and place.
A spot of Danger Ball seemed the way to relieve stress following an afternoon with a foul-mouthed Jason Statham clone. It’s the literal realisation of what people perceived virtual reality to be way back when; a neon sport suspended in a vast, futuristic arena where opponents rally a ball at immense pace and score by ensuring it isn’t returned. It’s controlled entirely with headset tracking, whereby you’ll simply look to the spot you wish the paddle to occupy, before applying power and spin by moving to meet the ball as sense would dictate. A range of opponents and difficulty levels keep things interesting, and make Danger Ball the most attractive of the bunch to revisit on a whim.
Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse from here on in. VR Luge is frankly just rubbish. You’ll likely need to lie on the floor on your back, awkwardly propping your torso up with your forearms to mirror the action and fend off nausea. The headset tracking isn’t particularly precise, possibly due to our odd positioning, whilst the sense of speed never fully translates, largely because the already low-resolution visuals are made a complete, disorienting blur as they whizz by.
Scavengers Odyssey, on the other hand, was fantastic for the brief time we lasted before motion sickness hit. You operate a mech as a treasure-hunting alien life form (it’s thoroughly bizarre to look down and see foreign appendages, by the way) in search of a long-lost artefact. Along the way you’ll shift gravity and leap through deep space, as well as blasting baddies and flinging objects with the suit’s integrated weapons and tether. It’s incredibly intense stuff in VR terms, and doesn’t really belong in a collection for beginners. Just thinking about it’s making us light-headed, so we’re in no rush to revisit, walling off a large portion of content.
Like the introductory tech demos for new technologies before it, VR Worlds is a showcase that encourages otherwise hesitant individuals to put their preconceptions aside and just have go.
VR Worlds’ games are evidently inconsistent in many ways, but they all share an immersive sense of 3D depth and place. You’ll recoil from a punch, instinctively raise your hands when a gun is pointed at your head, edge away from danger as you’re stalked by a shark, and engage your acrophobia as you look beneath your feet in the Danger Ball arena. It really is special, and you need to try it for yourself to fully comprehend it, which sounds cliché by now, but it’s no less true.
Sony London might have received layoffs after concluding their work on the project, but ultimately, PlayStation VR Worlds does serve its purpose well. Like the introductory tech demos for new technologies before it, VR Worlds is a showcase that encourages otherwise hesitant individuals to put their preconceptions aside and just have go. I mean, my non-gaming parents couldn’t get enough, and gush about the experience to anybody that’ll listen. That's quite something.