The PSVR launch is expected to bring virtual reality to over 1 million households by the end of the year. Priced at $399 and requiring a PS4, PS4 Camera, and PS Move controllers for the full experience, it comes with a hefty price tag, especially for those who don’t already own a PS4.
Still, PSVR and VR in general have some great experiences you can truly lose yourself in. From gaming to videos and apps, PSVR’s release came with a decent enough library to get gamers through the 2016 holiday season.
Here are the top 10 PSVR experiences we had in October 2016 (in no particular order)
1. Playroom VR
Free through PlayStation Network
A free demo, Playroom VR shows how much Sony as truly improved since the introduction of the original U.S. PlayStation in 1995. It’s an experience that feels exactly like Mario, but missing the iconic characters of the Nintendo universe.
Each Playroom demo shows off a new aspect of PSVR’s capabilities while introducing players to a new way to interact with each other. Not every game is a complete hit, but it still felt like playing Sony’s version of Mario Party or WarioWare in VR, something we’re unlikely to be able to do for many years.
Eventually you start to fall in love with the little robot guys, and the collection of trophies is much more animated than you get in Smash Bros. Sometimes I don’t even play a game – I just hang out with my trophy collection and enjoy the virtual world.
Free through PlayStation Network
The YouTube of virtual reality doesn’t seem necessary since YouTube supports 360 video, but Vrideo turns out to be an amazing app on the PS4, showcasing some great user-made and professional content.
Standouts on the app include a 180 degree journey through the miracle of birth, any rollercoaster or shark video, and Trejo Eating Tacos, which, as promised, gives you the all-too-real experience of what it’d be like eating tacos across the table from Danny Trejo in a dive taco bar run by Danny Trejo with the eventual realization the entire restaurant is Danny Trejos.
Although streaming from the PSN wasn’t reliable enough on our Internet connection to enjoy the experience, the ability to download videos made it simple to access favorites at any time.
With Vrideo, you can experience the war in Syria, Bernie Sanders’ Presidential campaign, shark attacks, concerts, surgeries, theatrical trailers, fan-made content, and so much more. I even found myself being engrossed in cooking videos and home tours.
3. Catlateral Damage
$3.99 on PSN
Also available on Steam (where it originated on Steam’s Greenlight program), Catlateral Damage has actually been out for several years, but despite being a decent game with acceptable mechanics, it never really took off due to its indie status.
On PSVR, the game gets a whole new life and feel that just couldn’t be appreciated on the flat screen. Suddenly mixed within the wide variety of genres is one of the most realistic cat simulators on the planet.
With goals to essentially wander the house and get into everything you shouldn’t, you really start to take on the personality of a cat. I found myself running to different parts of the house for no reason, knocking things off shelves, and thinking like those cute, murderous furballs do.
It says a lot about developer Chris Chung that a game he developed in 2013 is still one of the freshest titles of PSVR’s October 2016 release. If you’re not one of those broken weirdos who hates cats, you need this cat simulator. It’s essential.
4. Resident Evil: Kitchen
Free through PlayStation Network
There was no shortage of zombie shooters in the PSVR release, and like Coke and Pepsi, we’ll likely see endless debates on which one is better. What really captured the eyes (and momentarily stopped the hearts) of horror fans is the short demo of Resident Evil in VR, titled Kitchen.
I think it helped that I thought I was opening a cooking simulator when I came across the demo. I didn’t read the warning that preceded the content but did briefly wonder why a cooking sim would be rated M.
Soon I was sitting in a gruesome kitchen with a camera pointed at my face. I quickly realized I was part of a snuff film and looked down at my hands, which were tied with bardbed wire that felt very real as my hands were holding the DualShock controller in the same position.
Capcom kept cranking up the intensity to the point that I was almost drooling in anticipation of the January 2017 release of the new game. Although PSVR has a lot of zombie shooters, Resident Evil VR looks simply terrifying.
5. Hatsune Miku VR Future Live
$14.99 on PSN
I admittedly had to look up who Hatsune Miku even was after the experience to truly appreciate what I had just seen. I’m not well-versed in anime and wasn’t at all familiar with Miku’s story. For those of you like me, she’s essentially a hologram in Japan that goes on tours and performs live concerts.
In VR Future Live, this synthesized singing sensation is throwing a virtual concert that feels very real. You’re able to switch between front row seats and the upper deck, and you can really appreciate how large the stadium feels. Your controller becomes a glowstick, and you’re encouraged to wave along with the music to get the singer’s attention.
On its own I would simply write off the experience as creepy and definitely not made for my demographic, but it does give you an idea of what VR (and especially PSVR) will soon be.
Sony is sure to grab up exclusives at every corner, so PSVR may one day give you exclusive access to see concerts or exclusive performances and videos from artists like Beyonce, Meghan Trainor, Willie Nelson, or Yo Yo Ma.
The next unnecessary Spider-Man or Smurfs movie could put you in the middle of the action, and special events galore are sure to fill the PSVR store.
6. Batman: Arkham VR
You. Are. Batman.
There’s no need to sell the virtues of Batman: Arkham VR. You either want to be Batman or you don’t. If you do, you’ll be treated to detective work and a gritty story taking place in the Gotham of the Arkham series.
Although lacking in much real action, it’s undeniably cool to explore the batcave, Wayne manor, Arkham Asylum, and other points of interest around the city. There’s something indescribable about being perched on the ledge of a building watching over the city at night.
After a long, hard day at work, it’s nice to come home, put on your mask and cape, and fling some batarangs and thugs. Arkham VR is every boy’s (and most girl’s) wet dream.
7. Rez Infinite
$29.99 on PSN
Like Catlateral Damage, Rez Infinite is an older game that ended up impressing more than most newer titles. Unlike Catlateral Damage, Rez Infinite is actually a remake of the older Rez Dreamcast and PS2 game.
This on-rails shooter is filled with bright, fast-moving visuals and is the only launch shooter to really test your mettle. Best played with headphones on, you’ll soon be immersed in a virtual world of light and sound that’s better than any acid or shrooms I ever took.
Rez Infinite is simple, yet smooth and refined, and if you can hone your skills in this game, you’ll be ready for anything VR has to offer. You don’t even need PSVR to play Rez Infinite – it’s actually really fun to play on a flat screen, but in VR, it’s an amazing experience.
8. VR Worlds
I go back and forth trying to decide if VR Worlds would have made a better demo and selling Playroom VR wouldn’t have been a better move. Either way, both together give you a really great view of what virtual reality is all about (along with what the PSVR is capable of).
Although most of the experiences feel too short, they’re a great way to introduce a noob into the virtual world and let them get accustomed to what’s available. The shark attack in particular has become part of the initiation process, since the story revolves around hazing a rookie by lowering them into the depths of the ocean.
In addition, the London Heist Shooting Range quickly became a favorite and ended up having some of the best replay value on the PSVR. It’s a simple shooter like Duck Hunt with four levels to choose from both with and without aim assist. Here’s my roommate discovering new targets on the side.
9. Rigs: Mechanized Combat League
It’s hard to describe what Rigs is. You’re basically playing a robot version of Quidditch, while also shooting other players. Running around around the different stadiums and launching missile and Gatling attacks is a very satisfying experience, and it feels natural the way you navigate the world in your mech suit.
With a wide variety of mechs, weapons, stadiums, and play modes to choose from, Rigs is poised to be among the first truly competitive PSVR games. Keep an eye on Twitch and YouTube for videos as FPS veterans grow accustomed to playing on an HMD.
10. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
$14.99 on PSN
One of the more unique party games, it’s not initially obvious what to do with Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Once you start to figure it out, you’ll soon have a room full of people searching online and walking the person with the headset on through how to diffuse a bomb.
It’s a simple premise that doesn’t sound like much fun, but whether you have the headset on or are searching for instructions, you start to feel a sense of urgency to complete the task set before you.
If you’re looking for a VR experience that includes everyone, and not just the person in the digital world, Keep Talking is the perfect game to kill some time trying your hardest not to kill each other.