I popped in at the Canal Walk Gaming Expo on my way home from work today to say hello to that weird Zombie Dredd dude and then stood in the reasonably short queue to try Playstation VR at the very nicely setup booths.
They had Until Dawn : Rush of Blood, RIGS and then VR Worlds each in their own booth. Until Dawn was hidden away in the corner as it carried an 18 age restriction. Unfortunately this meant you didn’t really have a choice of which you could play as when you got to the front of the queue it was anything goes.
Fortunately I ended up at VR Worlds because I specifically wanted to avoid RIGS as it uses the DS4 and I wanted to see what the Move controllers were like.
As an aside just before me, a guy played was playing Ocean Descent (Shark Cage Diving) and promptly hit the demonstrator in the nuts who wasn’t standing near far enough for his freaking out. Comedy gold!
Straight off the bat it was obvious that actually owning the headset and adjusting the pupil distance for your person would make a world of difference as it was quite out of focus no matter how I adjusted it. Of course they need to use a generic value in this demo environment, so that’s understandable.
The load times were pretty crazy long and I sat there wondering if something was broken and the guy kept telling me to just hang on. At this point I looked around and had a think about the fact that I had facehugging rubber gasket over my eyes with a pseudo-helmet over my head but I was quite comfortable and my glasses were a complete non-issue.
Once the headphones went onto my head the immersion started and the moment the actual game started rolling I had long forgotten I was wearing anything. I had still intended to check for light bleed and screen door and all that crap but within seconds I had completely forgotten all about that.
Immediately it was apparent I had the Move controllers in the wrong hands as they were dangling in a flamingly fabulous fashion in front of me. Quickly swopped them around and I can’t say that I experienced any strange tracking issue beyond my reasonable expectations.
Interestingly the things I expected to be weird like actually aiming the gun weren’t at all. Sure, I know it’s fairly arcade in nature and accuracy wasn’t the mainstay event, but still I expected some kind of hand eye coordination issue. Picking up magazines on your right and loading them into the Uzi was also extremely natural. I expected bumping the Move controllers together would cause some disconnect with the experience but in actual fact it’s the bumping of the controllers that cements it feeling like loading a real gun. I guess it’s a psychological combination of visual confirmation with physical actions that makes it work so well.
I wish I could comment on the 3D Audio factor but the guy had put the headset on wrong so that actually messed up the demo for me a little bit as left was right and right was left and I needed to compensate for it as bikes came rushing past me.
It’s hard to comment on the graphical nature of it all as you can’t really say what is related to the actual output of the PS4 and what is a negative effect of the head unit’s resolution and/or lack of focus in my case.
What I can say is that graphics fall by the way side once the action starts, as you really don’t care for that any more and instead just want to shoot some yobs and make murder.
Oh and yes this was purely a sitting experience but not even once did I take any notice of the cable dangling from my head. Also not even once did I feel any kind of motion sickness related concern like I previously did with the Oculus Rift demo at EGE last year. The entire system felt completely natural to use and there was no acclimatising at all. I’m sure results may vary per game and per person though.
It really sounds cliché by now but you really cannot explain the concept of immersion to someone who hasn’t yet put their head inside a proper VR head unit.
Needless to say I’m still very much on track to get my own in January 2017 and probably more excited for it than ever.