October 13, 2016
Sony Interactive Entertainment
SIE London Studio
With any new technology, along with it comes a game that is, more than anything else, a show-off piece. The PlayStation VR is still something that consumers are learning more about and, as the cheapest option currently on the market, is the most friendly option out there. Talking about it is one thing, but feeling it is another, so PlayStation VR Worlds is paired as an sort of essential launch title so that you can a) test out multiple different VR experiences, but also b) pass it to your friends quite easily for a quick example of how awesome your shiny new tech is. It succeeds to a point, but perhaps not enough to justify its full price.
Of the 5 included experiences, the stand-out and the best to show your friends and family is The London Heist. Taking part in some shady dealings with a mob of sorts, this feels like the most complete ‘game’ within the package, giving you some story, multiple different locations to check out and a couple of memorable scenes shooting enemy gangsters. Loading the gun with your left hand and then shooting foes with your right feels natural and is a fantastic intro to what VR really feels like. It’s smooth, fun and logical, tapping into our biggest action movie fantasies with relative ease.
While it’s relatively short, the idea is well thought-out and well presented; it hints at possibilities for story-based shooters in the future, while smartly staying on-rails for its duration so that all you have to worry about is looking around and shooting, rather than worrying about actual directional movement (which could have been potentially clunky). Looking back, The London Heist (which at the time I had no idea what it was called) was the first game I got to try on PlayStation VR and is the experience which, on its own, sold me on the concept of Virtual Reality when I hadn’t believed in it before. Which is good for PlayStation VR Worlds, as the other inclusions don’t feel as necessary at all.
Ocean Descent is fun the first time but only serves to show off possibilities and perhaps get some jump scares out of your friends. Sure, the first time you see a shark come at you while you’re alone in an underwater cage, it’s pretty intense. This feeling will likely only happen once; like a horror movie, when you know where the scares are they are always going to lose their impact. The other half of Ocean Descent is more of a pretty tour of the sea life, with coral and fish that you really want to reach out and touch. The lack of any involvement in these experiences beyond moving your head around means they are short and sweet; perhaps good to show your family as an example of what VR looks like without requiring them to actually press any buttons or do anything complicated.
More “head movement only with no other real controls” type games include Luge, which has you speeding down the highway on your back, moving your head to avoid oncoming traffic. While heightened when I first played it by the fact that there was a fan pointing directly at me (seriously), there is no harm in bouncing of of cars and into the walls. The lack of consequence feels weird (if I’m to feel like this is ‘real’ then why am I ricocheting off of things like an odd fleshy bullet?) and the simple nature didn’t have me super keen to jump back in over and over. Same goes for Danger Ball, which is basically a 3D VR Pong, where your head controls where your paddle moves. While different opponents do change up their strategy, it’s not worth playing multiple times unless it really resonates with you.
Scavengers Odyssey is the fifth and final experience in PlayStation VR Worlds and is, like The London Heist, a bit more of an effort to involve a narrative and more tasks to achieve. Bouncing between varying chunks of debris that are on different angles is a cool idea, albeit the game is ultimately a little slow; more plodding than anything urgent. Shooting creatures at least breaks this up, but I found myself relieved when the (long-ish my comparison to the others) experience ended. Still, it’s another take on VR and it is cool launching around and defying gravity in a space-ship, but for me it’s better in small doses.
- The London Heist
- Good example for friends
- Short experiences
- Not much actual gameplay
PlayStation VR Worlds feels like more than just a demo disc, but still less than a full game. The London Heist is the only one for me that really warranted an additional play-through purely because it was so much fun. That being said, when friends come over to try PlayStation VR for the first time, this is easily the first game I reach for, as I know it’s got a little bit of something for everybody and shows a variety of examples of my shiny new piece of tech. I still think it’s a bit costly for what’s included, but like Wii Sports and EyeToy Play before it, it gets you interested and makes you genuinely consider the possibilities, which may just be worth the price of admission.