Playstation VR Worlds is a bit of a misnomer, as the games contained within the compilation are not so much worlds as compact, streamlined experiences that showcase the variety of mechanics and experiences that can be had in VR.
Much has been made of its price point, with some arguing that it should have been no more than a Wii Sports-like pack-in with the pricey peripheral. While that would certainly have been a smart move on Sony’s part, this package still manages to delight enough to justify the purchase.
The introductory sequence to the game selection menu is a sumptuous affair with no shortage of particle effects, fireworks, and even a sphere that players can pleasingly bump around using your controller. From here, the menu provides access to the compilation’s five very different experiences.
‘The London Heist’
Perhaps the most publicised of the experiences, ‘The London Heist’ is a short but sweet action-adventure game. The Move controllers spice the sense of adventure with some entertaining, if not overly challenging, spatial puzzles, while the action remains firmly in on-rails shooter territory.
Despite the graphics being a bit blurry—something that has so far been true of every PSVR game attempting to display realistic characters and environments—an unshakable sense of presence permeates the game and the mere act of scanning the environment and looking at the supporting cast while they are talking feels almost revelatory.
The writing and action, on the other hand, are merely good enough, making this a fun, short story to experience, though replay value is limited to a couple of shooting galleries.
‘Scavenger’s Odyssey’ is a real treat: a linear first-person action game that bears echoes of Metroid Prime as players explore cavernous asteroids and a derelict space station, tearing pieces from the environment to toss at swarms of aliens, or just shooting them to bits.
The gameplay mechanics are certainly very light, but the wonder of ‘Odyssey’ is its showcase of full 360-degree control of a character in 3D space, without producing any sort of nausea. Throughout the couple of hours the game lasts, I’ve only experienced slight discomfort once, and I was purposely pushing it.
The gorgeous sci-fi environments coupled with the freedom of movement is enough to make one wish for more games like this to be made, though they would benefit from being a little longer.
‘Luge VR’ is the weakest link within the package.. The game tasks players with sliding down a track while lying down on a board, dodging incoming traffic. The problem is that it looks terrible—extremely muddy and blurry—and plays terribly, too. Your control over the direction you go in is very loose and floaty.
Of all VR experiences available right now, ‘Luge VR’ surely counts among the worst.
Welcome to Pong 2.0. Players are now the paddle, floating in a play space high above an arena full of crowds that cheer as players use their head to butt the ball across the court and into the opponent’s wall.
This 3D take on the gaming classic looks gorgeously like a retro-futuristic sport, and is mechanically flawless. The relatively simple mechanics are made more interesting through the inclusions of a range of special paddles, each with its own quirks and effects with which it may infuse the ball. ‘Danger Ball’ is a lot of fun, and extremely replayable.
‘Ocean Descent’ is quite likely the best introductory experience to VR, though it features no game play mechanics in the traditional sense. Players merely descend into the depths of the ocean to look around, enjoying the scenery and the unfolding events. The experience contains two similar, yet tonally different scenarios, one relaxed, while the other includes a light narrative culminating in a crescendo of tension—It is a walking simulator without the walking part, then, but while the lack of mechanics may annoy some, this is my go-to whenever I want to introduce someone to the technology, simply because it lets people get used to the idea that they can look anywhere in VR, not just in front/above/below.
Playstation VR Worlds
Sony clearly intends this collection to be many players’ first contact with VR technology, meaning that it can seem, at times, as though Playstation VR Worlds should have come packed with the peripheral. Despite this, each of the games (excluding ‘Luge VR’) is quite fun and a joy to play. More importantly, each title brings a different aspect of virtual reality’s capabilities to the forefront, functioning as both a ‘learn to play in VR’ training regimen, and a glimpse of things to come.
If you can only pick up one game with you shiny new peripheral, however, you are likely better served by the likes of REZ Infinite, Batman Arkham VR, or Thumper, though Playstation VR Worlds should certainly be in consideration as your second pick.
Reviewed on the Playstation 4 with a copy bought and paid for by the reviewer.
Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment – London Studio | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Genre: Compilation| Platform: Playstation 4 – Playstation VR required | PEGI/ESRB: 16+/M | Release Date: Out Now