Yes, that’s me playing Batman Arkham VR in a, let’s say, customised headset. I’ve not tried absolutely everything (I really want to play Rush Of Blood for example), but I have now had a go now on nine different VR experiences and I’ve rounded up everything I’ve tried in order of what I thought was the best.
8. Ocean Descent (VR Worlds)
Going down into the depths of the sea within a shark cage was one of PS VR’s first demos and it really is one of the best. The only drawback is that this is a very passive experience. You just watch it all happen around you. It is amazing and definitely worth ‘playing’ – the menace of a shark pulling the cage apart and getting right up to your face is genuinely terrifying – it’s just got zero replay value. This is the demo you play to your friends to show off what VR can do (and film their screams to post later).
7. Scavenger’s Odyssey (VR Worlds)
This has you as an alien mech pilot trying out his gear across a couple of different locations. One focuses on basic movement as you steer your spider-legged walker around the wreckage of a derelict spaceship. The other has you fighting space bugs using guns that target wherever you look. The seated rig set up provides a firm base as you clomp and jet-jump around, and there’s a great sense of depth and volume to the spacey setting. (Both of which might help if you have any motion sickness problems.) It’s also one of the few VR experiences that isn’t tied to a flat plane trapped on the floor, as your magnetic mech can attach to ceilings and walls.
6. Dangerball (VR Worlds)
I’d all but written this off before I played it – a glorified 3D version of Pong where your paddle follows your gaze, meaning you look to slap back a ball at your opponent, but it’s actually brilliant. Especially when you realise you can twitch your head at last minute to add a wicked curving spin. Okay, you look a bit like you’re sneezing every time you do it but there’s far more skill to it than you realise, and those simple controls are just so much fun.
5. London Heist (VR Worlds)
One of the first VR shooters Sony showed off, this has you fighting off various bad guys with a Move-controlled gun. The aiming is not as great as it could be (you basically have to watch the bullets rather than look down the sights) but it’s still great fun, largely because the tactility of the world. With two Move controllers you effectively have two hands meaning you can grab a magazine with one hand and slam it into the gun in the other to reload. Plus there are all sorts of bit and pieces to pick up and throw around. One part, set in a van, lets you open the door and throw rubbish out as you drive. It’s a simple pleasure but one that never gets old. It’s simple overall but the exploding glass and whizzing, bullet-filled action is daftly enjoyable.
4. Robinson: The Journey
Think Jurassic Park in space. You play a kid trapped on a dinosaur-filled planet after your ship crashes. Guided by a floating ball robo-thing, you have to navigate a forest full of creatures – climbing trees and finding various supplies. What makes it so lovely is that it’s a world full of wonder. There’s a sequence where you stand on a branch while a brachiosaurus’ bus-sized head towers over you, its huge body stretching into the distance hundreds of feet below. It’s probably my favourite VR spectacle so far; to stand under that massive cow-like gaze, tilting your head and watching it follow. The whole forest’s amazing but that one bit’s worth the price of entry alone.
This sci-fi shooter’s super simple – alien planet, aliens, shoot the aliens, etc. – but it’s the best demo for the PS VR Aim controller, Sony’s new gun peripheral. While it has all the sticks and buttons you need to move about, it’s the precision of the tracking that really makes it stand out. You can hip fire perfectly, or raise it up to your eye and stare right down the in-game sights to pop bugs from a distance. It’s profoundly satisfying to use and I can’t wait to see what other games do with it.
2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Horror is just the worst (best) thing in VR. Resident Evil’s Beginning Hour might not have a huge amount of scares in the vanilla demo but it has loads of atmosphere. And in VR that atmosphere is enveloping. You can almost smell the rotting house and the fact you can’t really look away means every corner, every glance, is a heart skipping moment. The first time I played it I simply refused to enter one area because the possibility of… something happening was too terrifying. And I’m not even going to think about the lady in the Lantern demo grabbing your face. If anything’s going to make you rip the PSVR head set off, it’s this.
1. Batman: Arkham VR
This just edges into the top spot thanks to its flawless production values and beautifully executed VR mechanics. One section lets you ‘be the Bat’ – entering the cave and slowly putting on the costume, including lifting the cowl over your own face, until you can see yourself, as Batman, in the mirror. It’s the main part that really sells what the game can do though. It has you investigating a murder as you use detective mode to scan for clues to build and replay reconstructions. The gameplay focus on ‘looking for/at stuff’ works beautifully with VR and the visual polish is gorgeous as you piece together a vicious back alley crime.