Just in time for Sony's PlayStation VR release, we tested three new games to see what we could do.
PlayStation VR Worlds
What It Is: a compilation of five short games, including Ocean Descent and its “Shark Encounter” mode.
The Good: You get attacked by a freaking shark — and thanks to the headset’s full 360-degree tracking and 3D audio with headphones — it’s realistic and scary as hell. And there’s really nothing you can do about it until a huge rock hits the damn thing in the head and your dive team above the water brings you back to the surface once the shark has demolished the cage.
The Bad: You can move but can’t go outside the cage. But if you want to punch the shark in between the eyes, you’re going to be extremely disappointed. Oh, and two different voices are going to try to tell you the entire time that there’s a “really big object coming for you.” You don’t say…
The Dizzying: Looking over your shoulder to figure out when you’re going to die can get pretty exhausting even if you’re just sitting on your couch. The Shark Encounter experience takes about an hour, and afterwards we were more than ready to hang it up for the night.
Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives
What It Is: Set in a “Job Museum” run by robots in 2050, players can perform four different jobs.
The Good: What sounds like a boring game quickly became one of our favorites. With the PlayStation Move controllers as hands, we made up sandwiches for robots. It’s a mundane premise, but playing the game turned out to be downright fascinating.
The Bad: At times when we would be moving around the virtual kitchen, our controllers (hands) would not react to the environment and we sometimes couldn’t pick up objects or they’d fall out of our hands. Plus, if you don’t want to be a chef, you’re limited to three other options such as an office worker, auto mechanic, and store clerk.
The Dizzying: Using the controllers was easy, but being so active caused a few technical bumps when we moved out of the PlayStation Camera’s view. If that happens, the head tracking gets lost, and the game will say “Out of Play Zone.” Move any farther and what you see inside the headset bounces violently. It doesn’t happen often, but it can be extremely unsettling when it does.
Batman: Arkham VR
What It Is: A first-person superhero experience.
The Good: We became the Batman. Using the Move controllers as hands, we put on the mask and later on visited the Bat Cave, checked out crime scenes, and went face-to-face with the Joker.
The Bad: We never got behind the wheel of the Batmobile. And although you meet a few of Gotham’s villains, you never get to fight them. It reminded us of being contained to a shark cage in “Shark Encounter”: an incredible experience that showed what was possible in a VR demo, but not enough of an interactive game.
The Dizzying: Like many VR games, this one has you play stationary and push a button on the controller to move around the environment. It can be a little disorienting, but it doesn't last long.
[$399, Playstation VR Headset only, $499 Playstation VR Launch Bundle (includes Move controllers, PS Camera, and Playstation VR Worlds); playstation.com]