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After years of anticipation, Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 headset is just weeks away from landing in the hands of PS5 owners. I had a chance to try it out at CES 2023 ahead of its February 15 launch, and I can say the future of console VR looks bright.
PlayStation VR 2’s improved controls, tracking, and visual fidelity make a big impression right off the bat, and Horizon Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a fun and immersive launch title. But with a high asking price and no backwards compatibility, will Sony’s long-awaited headphones be worth it? Here’s what I think so far after a quick 20 minute demo.
• Product: Sony PlayStation VR 2
• Price: From $550
• Release date: February 22 (available for pre-order via Sony)
• Why it deserves your attention: The PlayStation VR 2 looks like a big improvement over one of our top VR headset picks in the PlayStation VR, offering much better performance and a more streamlined setup process.
Designed exclusively for the PS5, PlayStation VR 2 is a top-to-bottom improvement over the PS4-based PlayStation VR. The PSVR 2 has a much sleeker look that mimics the design of the PlayStation 5 itself, with new spherical Sense controllers that feel more ergonomic than the older Move controllers – while still offering the same advanced, detailed haptics we love on the standard PS5 Dual Sense controller.
But perhaps the biggest upgrade is to the PSVR 2’s internal camera sensors, which should fix many of the setup issues we encountered with the original model. While the previous PlayStation required you to have a PlayStation Camera connected to track your controller’s movements (not to mention a clunky processor box that powered it all), the new headset promises a seamless plug-and-play experience with a single cable.
The PlayStation VR 2 felt comfortable and light from the moment I got it on my head, and I never felt like adjusting it throughout my roughly 20-minute demo. As I did a quick calibration to get ready for my demo, I was impressed with how quickly and accurately the headset tracked my eye movements, making it easy to navigate menus without having to move the joystick. After a few minutes of setup, it was time to venture into the wild in Horizon Call of The Mountain, a first-person action game set in the same post-apocalyptic sci-fi universe as the popular Sony’s Horizon games on PS4 and PS5.
As soon as I began my journey as a disgraced soldier brought to my destination by ship, I was immediately struck by the improved visual fidelity of PlayStation VR. My teammates looked as realistic and detailed as they would on a PS5 game, and I couldn’t help but turn my head as I marveled at the lush greenery all around us – and towering robotic beasts rising from above. This immersive experience is made possible by PSVR 2’s upgraded 2000 x 2040 OLED HDR display, which is a significant step up from the original model’s 960 x 1080 resolution.
Once the going got tough and it was time to go into survival mode, the headset’s new Sense controllers proved impressive. Everything from the hump of my boat to the tug of my bow and arrow met its own distinct level of feedback, making it easy to envelop the action. Climbing the mountains was particularly tense and exciting, to the point that my actual hands started to sweat as I worried about falling off a steep cliff. Luckily, the game’s and controller’s hand tracking was accurate enough that I only made a few slips (and thankfully didn’t fall in real life).
Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a solid launch title for the new headset, offering an intuitive blend of traversal and combat – and no doubt plenty of narrative Easter eggs for serious Horizon fans. I navigated the game’s treacherous paths by holding down two buttons and moving my actual arms around (something that really felt like a little workout), although you also have the option to walk around via the standard controller inputs if you don’t feel like breaking a sweat. I also liked how interactive everything in the environment was, as I could pick up, play with, and throw every wooden box, piece of fruit, and random tambourine lying around in the desert.
My only real headache was combat – while drawing my bow and throwing arrows felt intuitive, it took me a while to land accurately. This was especially true during a large boss battle that required me to dodge and fire on the fly, though I imagine that’s the kind of thing I’ll get used to after more time. of game.
The PlayStation VR 2 makes a strong first impression, pumping immersive 4K gameplay into a design that improves on its predecessor in just about every way. Horizon Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a nice centerpiece for the headset, and I can’t wait to see how other titles like Resident Evil Village and Among Us VR perform on it.
However, all this power doesn’t come cheap. PSVR 2 starts at $550 (there’s also a $600 bundle that includes Call of the Mountain) and requires you to own a $400-$500 PS5 – a console that’s still not easy to find. The headset is not backwards compatible with PSVR 1 games, although some titles offer free upgrades to the PSVR 2 version. And while the launch lineup looks somewhat promising (we can’t wait to play Resident Evil Village and Gran Turismo 7 in VR), it also consists of many games that have been available on other headsets for quite a while, such as Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge and Beat Saber.
Still, the PlayStation VR 2’s promising performance and improved design alone excites me to spend more time with it. We’ll be putting it through its paces closer to launch next month, so stay tuned for our in-depth review.
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