Review: PlayStation VR Worlds (PSVR)

playstation-vr-worlds-review-banner-yr10

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • Blu-ray Disc
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • PlayStation Move Optional (2)
Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Title: PlayStation VR Worlds
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (8.77 GB)
Release Date: October 13, 2016
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE London Studio
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: M
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
The PlayStation VR Worlds package uses a number of control schemes across the five separate games.

 The London Heist   PlayStation Move (2) or DualShock 4 
 Scavenger’s Odyssey   DualShock 4 
 Ocean Descent   None, head tracking only 
 VR Luge   None, head tracking only 
 Danger Ball   None, head tracking only 

 

Gameplay:
If Sony wants PlayStation VR to be successful it’s important that it delivers a collection of games that can showcase what the hardware is capable of.

Basically it needs a Wii Sports type of package to get people comfortable with the possibilities of VR. While PlayStation VR Worlds is no Wii Sports, it’s a good showcase of what PS VR can do through a collection of five games.

The London Heist
This game contains a mature, gritty, gangster story that takes place in London and revolves around your character being interrogated and recounting two shootout missions. The game is pretty simple as it’s just an on-rails shooter.

You are thrown into two scenarios, the first being in a library as you attempt to steal a diamond while being surrounded by enemies. While the second scenario is a high speed chase with enemies driving in cars and motorbikes as you gun them down.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002092351PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002092704

Based on the pure shooting mechanics, London Heist works well enough for what it is. I found the gunplay to be functional, but not substantial or requiring much skill. The enjoyment I found in the game was on the periphery.

It’s fun to just throw objects around the environment like a bratty kid throwing a tantrum at a toy store. While this super serious story was going on around me it was just hilarious just seeing what I could interact with.

Using the Move controllers in each hand really does help immerse you in the world and the control scheme in terms of picking objects up is nicely done.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008210917PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008211022

Scavenger’s Odyssey
This is a little glimpse of space action with the game taking place in what appears to be a destroyed space station in which you play an alien in a fancy mech suit.

This game used the DualShock 4 and the controls were as one would expect from a first person shooter with headtracking being used for aiming. I actually felt a little motion sick playing this game for whatever reason. This was the first time I’d experienced motion sickness with PS VR, but it wouldn’t be the last time while playing VR worlds.

Despite my queasiess and the generic gameplay, I actually really enjoyed platforming in the game which was nice because I rarely enjoy platforming in general. It’s a pretty long game, at least compared to some of the other content in the collection, and it did not overstay its welcome.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008015935PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002085502

Ocean Descent
This one has been around the trade show scene for a while now and for good reason. It’s a wonderful showcase of what virtual reality can deliver. this one is more experience than game with very little interaction between the player and the world.

For the experience, players are in a diving cage exploring a wreck in the ocean. The whole thing looks gorgeous and it’s easy to get lost in the moment before a large shark gives you some jump scares.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002080226PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002080611

The whole level is rather short, but there some additional levels that let you look around and just enjoy the beauties of the ocean. Sadly though it’s more of a tech demo than anything else and it’s something I can only see playing once. Its only other value is showing it to people new to VR.

I got a sense of claustrophobia while playing which was both scary and really cool. And when I discovered I could stick my head out of the cage my mind freaked out for a few seconds as some vertigo kicked in when I looked at a bottomless ocean floor. Ocean Descent, while not much of a game, is one of the cooler things I have experienced in VR.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002081727PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002081121

VR Luge
Unfortunately, this is probably the low point of the package. This is a simple game in which you’re speeding down a highway on a street luge using your head to make turns.

Overall the mechanics are simple and there’s not much skill to the game, but it’s very easy to break the experience. Due to positioning your head just hovers over your body making it often look like a headless corpse flying down a hill.

With subpar visuals and only four tracks, the whole thing just feels mediocre, especially in comparison to the rest of the offerings.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008212057PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008212343

Danger Ball
The last game here feels a bit like Pong on steroids. By far, this was the shining star in VR Worlds for me. The game is purely addictive with easy to learn mechanics that anyone can pick up and play.

It’s basically a game of Pong where you use your head as the paddle. To block and hit, all you have to do is move your head in the direction of the ball, that’s it.

There are three modes, two of which involve battling rather brutal A.I. opponents in a single match or through a gauntlet. Each opponent has a different skill which makes changing your strategy essential to claiming a victory.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008011828PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008013005

What I got addicted to was the Score Attack mode. This does away with the opponent and puts targets on the other side of the playfield. Points are assigned to each one that you have to hit to gain a bigger score.

The more you hit, the faster the ball moves. You can even spin the ball if you hit it correctly making the game chaotic at times. I love Danger Ball and I can see myself really getting into the score chasing scene for this title.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008013000PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161008012138

Visuals:
Most of the games actually looked better than I thought they would. You can see that some of them are sporting some muddy textures, but I honestly didn’t notice that until I focused on an area too long, which most of the time was against the logic of what the games wanted.

The London Heist, Scavenger’s Odyssey and Danger Ball all looked fantastic and moved quickly. Because of this, I didn’t notice poor visuals unless I stopped whatever I was doing and stared at a wall or an object for too long.

… a tough one to focus on …
In Ocean Descent the visuals are stunning, but you’ll see some jaggy edges or muddy textures if you look at the cage for too long. Why would you do that though when a beautiful ocean is in front of you.

The only game I thought looked bad in terms of pure visuals was VR Luge. The tracks looked drab and the speed of the game combined with muddy textures made for a tough one to focus on.

Due to the game’s speed and blurriness I felt sick pretty quickly while playing it and with the lackluster gameplay it was the weakest part of the package.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002085715

Audio:
I played most of the games with the earbuds included with the headset and the 3D audio worked wonderfully in The London Heist. Sounds of bullets whizzing by my head sounded great and the voice acting was superb in that game.

In terms of audio effects and music overall, each of the games sounded great and took advantage of sound in a 3D space. I enjoyed the music in Danger Ball and The London Heist in particular because the music fit so perfectly in those worlds.

… good showpieces for the technology …
The other games had good soundtracks as well, but those two in particular stood out to me during my time with the package.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component but some of the games do feature online leaderboards.

PlayStation® VR WORLDS_20161002075214

Conclusion:
PlayStation VR Worlds may not be the Wii Sports of PS VR, but the games included are good showpieces for the technology. The only issue I have is the price of the collection. All the games and experiences are short.

The London Heist only took one to two hours to get through. There’s not much variety to the gameplay and little reason to play it twice. The same can be said for Ocean Descent and Scavenger’s Odyssey.

The only thing I played that felt like it had replay value was Danger Ball and I almost wish it was not stuck in a collection and was sold by itself.

I feel like this would have been better suited as a replacement for the demo disc or included as a pack-in with with every PS VR kit instead of being a $40 game sold separately.

This is a nice collection of games to bring out when introducing virtual reality to newcomers, but if you have no one to show off to then it might collect some dust on your shelf.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg
Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook