Resident Evil 7 and the PlayStation VR Work Almost Too Well Together
After Resident Evil 7’s (RE7) highly creepy reveal at Sony’s E3 presser I got a chance to go hands-on with the game using the PlayStation VR headset, which is supported throughout the campaign. I’ve used the PlayStation VR before, as well as the Rift and a few other virtual reality goggles, but I must say that the virtual experience featured in RE7 is one of the most memorable ones I’ve experienced to date. This is due to the high level of immersion that the PlayStation VR offers, as well as the natural fit for a survival horror title that relies more on tension and fear than action oriented gameplay.
The demo took place in a run down home full of random body parts and enough signs that your character is in a fucked up situation that would frighten even the most manly of men. Imagine being in this house, or one like it in real life, and that’s about as close as the VR version of the game gets you to the experience. Upon waking up I was able to look around the room using my own head movements, and it totally felt like I was the character on screen thanks to the spatial awareness that the VR headset offers. This feeling persisted throughout the 15-minute demo as I explored the jacked up house I found myself in, and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat as the demo unfolded. Seeing another human walk by a room I was in, or looking down a hole in the floor all felt all to real, which added greatly to the already insane level of fear and anxiety that a game of this nature provides naturally.
Outside of smell, my other senses were fully tuned into the virtual effect, which in turn allowed my mind to believe that I was the character in the game, and not the faceless man I was controlling through a first person perspective. This to me is what a great VR gameplay experience is all about. This is huge for horror titles, which mainly rely on your senses and atmosphere to rope you into their ordeal rather than using action set pieces and other first person gimmicks to make the affair exciting. Like I mentioned earlier the VR effect was so legitimate that my mind refused to believe that I was playing a game, and commanded every bit of my body and mind to buy into the experience as if it were real.
The ability to view the surroundings of Resident Evil 7 with a 360 degree field of view is intoxicating to say the least. Unlike other VR titles I found the visuals to be very clear and devoid of the watered down or blurred look that these types of games can have. This definitely helped me fully appreciate the experience in RE7 by removing any barriers for my brain to buy into what my eyeballs were processing. At times the feeling was so real that I got a bit lightheaded, which probably isn’t a plus for buying into a VR gaming experience, but in the same light it also proves that the effect is as lifelike as possible.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this game will be better experienced in a virtual reality setting, so if you’re a fan of the franchise, or the PS4 in general, you should wholeheartedly plan on picking it up for the console when it drops next January. Just don’t forget to score your PlayStation VR this October so you can take full advantage of the effect, which is simply one of the best and most immersive VR gaming experiences I’ve come across since the medium first exploded a few years back.
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