Sony’s PlayStation VR2 may not be out until next year, but after months of drip-feed news, the company has finally released the eyes and hands-on experience with its VR headset. After spending some time with the device, it looks like the new headset will be a major improvement over the original PSVR in almost every way.
Let’s start with the hardware we already know a lot about. First, it has a more modern look that closely matches the design language of the PS5, and you only need to connect it to the PS5 with a single USB-C cable. The headset itself has an OLED display, offers a 110-degree field of view and 4K HDR, and supports 90Hz and 120Hz frame rates for smoother gaming. Unlike its predecessor, you will not need to install external cameras to monitor your movements; instead, the headset has four cameras built into the front of the screen. The new ball-shaped PSVR2 Sense controllers include adaptive triggers and haptic feedback (like DualSense) and can also detect finger touches.
But how does it feel to play games on PSVR2 with all the new bells and whistles? The actual PSVR2 hardware was a joy to use. Like most modern VR headsets, it allows you to adjust the headband so that everything sits comfortably on your chin, and you can adjust the inter-pupillary distance (IPD) so that the actual lenses in the headset are the right distance for you. The screens looked great, although sometimes it felt a little foggy around the edges, which can happen with the first PSVR.
Sony’s new Sense controllers were a notable improvement. The original PSVR relied on Sony’s Move controllers — which, remember, looked like fun sticks with glowing balls on the end — and they had a few problems. The original PSVR setup had trouble tracking glowing balls, which could sometimes disrupt the immersive VR experience, and the first version of the Move controller Mini USB port for charging. Sony has thankfully addressed this last complaint by moving to Micro USB (maybe it wasn’t a huge upgrade).
Sense controllers on the other hand seem to be (pun intended) better. If you’ve experienced Sony’s excellent haptics on the DualSense, this may not come as much of a surprise. Touch detection was a really convenient way to interact with VR worlds. Sure, you can pick up weapons, but this allows you to bend your fingers and interact with objects more naturally. It wasn’t perfect, nor was it present in every game we tried, but when it did, it added an extra layer of immersion.
PSVR2’s one-cable setup was much appreciated. The original PSVR required an additional box and multiple cables to operate, so simply plugging a cable directly into the PS5 is a less complicated solution. (Though it’s not nearly as cool as a fully standalone, wireless headset like the Meta Quest series.) And usually, VR games require you to take a break from time to time so you don’t get a severe migraine. But that wasn’t as much of a problem with PSVR 2. You can spend enough time without feeling the tension.
As for the games themselves, we got to try a few titles: The Bell of Horizon Mountainversion Resident Evil Village Optimized for PSVR2, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners Season 2and newly announced Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge Enhanced Edition.
The Bell of Horizon Mountain was technically the most advanced – probably because it was built from the ground up for the PSVR2. The sense of scale in the game is amazing and watching a huge the mechanical dino ride felt like visiting a post-apocalyptic directly overhead Jurassic park. Rock climbing was also incredibly fun if you resisted the urge to look down at the cliffs below. The new Sense controllers vibrate when you touch objects, so it added an extra layer of physicality when you draw your bow and shoot an arrow. We were also impressed by how much thought went into building an interactive world. Can you just… smash the plates and throw the boxes off the cliff? Yes! Can you pick up a hammer and hit a gong for no plot reason? Also yes!
The other games were fun too. Resident Evil Village it had an eerie vibe and undead getting up in your face is legitimately terrifying. (Poor Ethan Winters, he’s really getting over it.) In the meantime, you can totally get creative. How you shoot the walkers in The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners Season 2. Sure, it’s fun to mow them down with chainsaws, but we recommend making zombie shish kebabs with a katana.
Is there anything we don’t know yet? Price; Sony didn’t share it as part of the hands-on event. But with Meta’s new high-end Quest headset on the horizon (a prototype was leaked this weekend) and Apple’s long-rumored “Reality” headset, hopefully Sony’s PSVR2 headset will be competitive (maybe around $400?) to encourage PlayStation gamers to pick one up. do it
We can’t wait to experience Sony’s new approach to VR again. The “early 2023” release window looks like we won’t have to wait long until next year to finally play more – and we’re crossing our fingers that buying the hardware won’t break the bank.