PlayStation VR Worlds will offer gamers interested in the PlayStation VR five unique experiences to show off the capabilities of the headset, and virtual reality in general for those unfamiliar with the medium in gaming. It’s part of the unit’s launch bundle, and after getting hands-on time with it at E3, I can firmly say that it has the same potential to get gamers into the medium like the Wii Sports collection of games that shipped with the Wii to expose gamers to the joys of motion controls did.
Each experience is unique to provide the most varied VR gaming samples around. There’s VR Luge, Danger Ball, Underwater Descent, The London Heist, and Scavenger’s Odyssey. All offer different play styles and ways to immerse gamers into the world of virtual reality gaming, so it really is a nice blend of various types of VR game genres that have popped up since the medium became a staple in the gaming industry.
At E3 Danger Ball and Scavenger’s Odyssey were available for demo, so I checked them both out and found each one to do admirably in executing a competent VR gaming experience. Before talking about those games though I have to mention PlayStation VR World’s main menu, which also does a great job at immersing gamers into the world of VR gaming. The main menu features icons for each of the five experiences, and when you highlight one of the titles an orb or an object will appear on screen and exhibit the behaviors or style of the chosen experience. You can then interact with the object while holding a PS4 controller, and while it may sound gimmicky and simplistic, I found the feeling of batting a virtual ball around to be a great way to warm up your mind for the other more fleshed out virtual gaming experiences.
The menu is fun, but the experiences are where it’s at in PlayStation VR Worlds. Danger Ball is essentially a virtual pong where your head is the paddle. It plays out in a TRON-like game grid complete with bright flashing lights and plenty of vibrant colors. You must us your head to track the ball or balls coming towards you, and while it sounds simplistic, it actually gets very challenging during later levels. You can put spin on the ball with your head movement, or send it bouncing off of the floor to try and trick up the AI, so you do feel like you’re in the game and in complete control of your movements. Eventually multiple balls will be sent your way, so you really start to physically get into the experience as if you were playing goalie in some futuristic two person soccer game. Those who get competitive while playing sports games will definitely get a few thrills from Danger Ball, which ended up being one of my most favorite VR experiences at E3.
Scavenger’s Odyssey offers an entirely different experience than Danger Ball, which just goes to show the unique mix of gameplay tropes baked into PlayStation VR Worlds. In this experience you take control of a mech in space that is scavenging a wrecked ship. You are tasked with making massive jumps through space and defending yourself from alien bugs, all using head tracking and a controller. It does manage to also immerse you in its world thanks to the feeling of awe you experience while looking around you in 360 degrees. Jumping caused feelings of flying in my gut and mind, while the shooting segments made me feel like an ED-209 police robot from Robocop.
When a new medium is introduced to gaming it’s always smart to offer up some sort of bundled experience to help show off what the new medium can do. I believe that PlayStation VR Worlds will suffice this need perfectly for the PlayStation VR. The five experiences provide a wide range of styles of VR games that gamers can look forward too, but they also stand on their own as engaging ways to game in a virtual world in short bursts.
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