After years of waiting gamers are finally able to enjoy playing in virtual reality.
Over the past 12 months or so virtual reality devices have started to be released, ranging from fairly simple hardware for smartphones to expensive and powerful headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for gaming PCs.
Sony’s PlayStation VR is the latest mainstream headset to hit the market after it was released earlier in Ocotber.
So is gaming on a flatscreen TV now a thing of the past? Or is the PlayStation VR just a bit of an expensive gimmick?
We tested it out ourselves to find out.
How does it look and feel?
PlayStation VR looks the business. A slick white headset with glowing LED lights, it is hard not to be impressed by it.
You feel like you are looking at the future of gaming.
It also fits very comfortably on your head with a strap around the back making it fully adjustable.
A small button on the front allows you to move the headset back and forth to adjust focus.
The headset uses LED lights on the front to communicate with the PlayStation Camera that helps the console track your movements. The same tech is also used to follow the light bar on the PS4 controller.
Separate headphones can also be used which fit over the headset easily.
Games run smoothly, with all the titles I tried out taking advantage of the 360-degree field of view.
However it is obvious you are in a game, with the pixels clearly visible in a lot of the titles.
Sounds good, how much is it?
At the moment the PlayStation VR is £350 and to use it you also need a PlayStation Camera (which costs around £50) and of course a PS4 console.
You may also want to invest in a pair of Move controllers for £70 which are needed for a few of the games.
This isn’t exactly cheap.
But it is worth noting that the PlayStation VR is significantly better value than the current big name virtual reality alternatives – the Oculus Rift (£550) and HTC Vive (£770).
And for those you also need an expensive PC powerful enough to run them.
So what are the games like?
There are already a few games available for the PS4 headset – although at this stage most feel more like tech demos than in-depth titles in their own right.
I tried out four in total: Resident Evil 7, Farpoint, The London Heist Getaway and Eve Valkyrie.
The standout out was Farpoint – set to be released sometime in 2017 – which uses the special weapon-shaped VR Aim controller.
Set on an alien planet I had to wander around a rocky landscape looking for my lost crew and shooting giant spiders which kept trying to kill me along the way.
The planet is beautifully rendered and I even suffered a bit of vertigo as I tried to scale the steep mountain paths – and it wasn’t much fun when I fell off.
The in-game weapon feels strangely lifelike, with the movements of my spacesuit-clad hands mirroring what my body was doing. It really was remarkable to see.
And the detail of being able to move the gun close to my face so I could use the zooming reticle is a very nice touch.
The London Heist Getaway, which uses the Move wands as controllers, also impressed as I was put in the passenger seat of a speeding van – my task to shoot balaclava clad motorcyclists chasing me.
The most impressive part of this was the tracking of my hands – I had to pick up a magazine clip from the side and slide it into the pistol – which highlighted the precision of the virtual reality camera.
Resident Evil was as horrifically scary as expected.
Having a knife thrust at my eye and turning around to see a scary old women shouting in my face made me scream like a little girl.
Out of all of them Valkyrie looked the best graphically, and it also probably the strongest title currently available to buy.
It was great to be able to look around the cockpit using my actual head as I engaged in a space dogfight with other ships, rather than using the thumb pad like I would do normally on the PS4.
But does it make you feel sick?
For someone who suffers from occasional travel sickness this was something I was worried about.
And sadly it’s something that hit me in my first game.
After 10 minutes or so of Resident Evil I was soon getting cold sweats, feeling nauseous and ready to take the headset off and run to the nearest toilet.
Once my time was up five minutes later I needed a break.
Playing the other games I felt much better, only feeling slightly sick towards the end of my time on Valkyrie.
Motion sickness is a big hurdle for developers are trying to tackle, as this seems to be one the biggest problem which would put gamers off.
However this was my first ever VR experience – and it could just be something our brains get used to as we use headsets more and more.
Its also worth noting that it affects some people more than others.
So, should I get the credit card out and buy it?
Virtual reality is exciting, exhilarating and no doubt the future of gaming.
However there are still issues which need ironing out, most notably motion sickness which affects some people after extended periods of play on certain games.
A bigger selection of games would also be welcome.
And then of course there is the price.
At £350 PlayStation VR isn’t a cheap investment, especially if all it will do is make you feel a bit ill.
But if you are a hardcore gamer who already owns a PS4, and has a bit of spare cash lying around, then go for it.
You will be amazed by what virtual reality brings to games.
If you are worried about motion sickness however, and fancy and want to see a bigger selection of games first, then it may be worth hanging fire for a bit.
I’m in, where can I get it?
Sadly, due to the high demand on release, the Playstation VR is sold out pretty much everywhere.
However it is worth keeping an eye out online as it should come back in stock before Christmas, – inform manchestereveningnews.co.uk.
When they receive a new batch, Tesco currently have the best deal, selling the Playstation VR for £332 – the best price we have found.
5.7” OLED screen
See hyper-real 3D environments come to life with a custom OLED screen.
360 degree vision
Whichever way you turn the 360 degree immersion of PS VR makes you part of a living, breathing world with a seamless field of view.
120 frames per second
Smooth visuals and super low latency combine to create an incredibly immersive gaming world.
Discover a new dimension in sound with cutting-edge 3D audio that lets you accurately perceive the direction and distance of sounds that are coming from above, below and all around you.
Built in mic
Chat to your online friends, discuss in-game tactics and strengthen your immersion in the virtual world with the headset’s integrated microphone.
With dual lenses and 3D depth sensors, the PlayStation Camera tracks the position of the headset, PlayStation Move controller and DUALSHOCK 4 light bar wherever you are, ensuring you’re always at the centre of your VR gaming universe.
Nine LEDs positioned on the front, back and sides of the PS VR headset are tracked by the PlayStation Camera – ensuring pinpoint accuracy within the game world, wherever you are in the room.
The PS4 precision control you love takes on a new dimension with PS VR; every game is compatible with the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller, while the light bar is constantly tracked to further enhance in-game movement.
PlayStation Move motion controller
Bring your hands into the game world and take full control of your VR experiences, giving an even deeper sense of presence and further enhancing your immersion.