I got to pretend I was the pilot of a robot on Saturday. Not just by using a controller like in Titanfall or Armored Core. I was actually using my eyesight and position of my head to aim my guns, jump around and charge into battle. It was the immersive, all-encompassing kind of robot piloting.
And it was awesome.
I’m talking about PlayStation VR of course. I played for around two hours and all of it was spent playing Rigs; the mech combat game. Rigs focuses on hot shot team based pro sports competitions. With robots.
The actual VR unit itself is really comfortable, with a padded headband and a rear tightening cog to ensure it won’t slip and move when you’re looking around and moving your head. The actual display visor takes a little to get used to and get into position, but it’s more based on focus and preference. A nifty little feature I noticed was the removal of peripheral vision when your head was turning. Instead a slight vignette appears around the display area, a feature I believe reduced the VR nausea that comes as part and parcel of a new experience such as this. My eyes only got slightly tired when using the headset for an extended period, but it seems like more frequent use will lead to a faster period of adjustment and increase the comfort levels of repeated use.
The price point $550 AUD seems fairly accessible, but I doubt it’s something that people are going to rush out and buy as essential kit. Especially considering it requires the use of the PS4 Camera and PS Move Controllers for some games. RIGS only uses the DualShock 4, but the games that do need PS Move jack up the price even further. It’s definitely more of a novelty item at this stage and until more dedicated games come out for it, it feels more like the Wii or Kinect. I understand Rise of the Tomb Raider has VR support and I’d be interested to see what it’s like playing a driving or space simulator.
I’ll admit that during my play session I was gushing and saying things like “man, this is REALLY cool!” as I looked around the game worlds and commented on the smoothness of the controls. It’s definitely going to take a little while to take off in a big way, but the early adopters who drop the big money on it certainly won’t be disappointed.