The PlayStation VR is the most youthful of all the leading virtual reality (VR) platforms, and while the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have the benefit of powerful PC systems behind them the PlayStation 4’s unique VR offering can stand tall thanks to a hugely impressive software line-up. A mixture of AAA titles and indie releases makes the PlayStation VR a space for both impressive and innovative gameplay design.
2017 was a big year for the PlayStation VR; the head-mounted display (HMD) celebrated its first year of consumer availability and hosted the VR debut of huge franchises such as Resident Evil and The Elder Scrolls. The below selection of videogames, in no particular order, represents the best that the PlayStation VR currently has to offer.
DOOM VFR – Bethesda Game Studios
Arguably the best first-person shooter (FPS) videogame currently available for PlayStation VR, DOOM VFR showcased that it’s wholly possible to have a fast-paced, action-heavy experience in VR. Misgivings about the control systems aside – a common issue with the current-generation of VR hardware – DOOM VFR is a balls-to-the-wall adrenaline rush.
The Lost Bear – Oddbug Studio
Conversely to DOOM VFR, The Lost Bear is a slow-paced 2D side-scrolling puzzle/platform videogame that prefers to challenge the player’s logical dexterity over their trigger finger. It’s less about chaos and more about careful consideration, and in VR the showcase piece is how that consideration affects your surroundings: the entirety for The Lost Bear is played out upon a stage with the player as the solo audience member. It’s unique and innovative approach to VR deserves as much commendation as the inviting gameplay mechanics.
Farpoint – Impulse Gear
While DOOM VFR posits to take the crown from Farpoint as best FPS on PlayStation VR, Impulse Gear got there first. And ranking highly amongst the PlayStation VR community Farpoint remains, thanks in no small way to the development team’s continued commitment to bring updates and new features to the videogame.
Resident Evil VII biohazard – Capcom
One of the first AAA titles launched on PlayStation VR remains one of its best. Resident Evil VII biohazard rebooted the gameplay of the Resident Evil franchise in a way not seen since Resident Evil 4, and with it brought the thrills of survival horror into VR for the first time. Resident Evil VII biohazard’s PlayStation VR exclusivity period is set to close in January 2018, and many PC gamers are hoping to get the chance to play the videogame on their Oculus Rift or HTC Vive soon thereafter.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR – Bethesda Game Studios
Bethesda Game Studios second entry in this feature and also the other of the two PlayStation VR titles released by the publisher thus far. See a common theme? Despite ongoing grievances with Oculus VR, Bethesda Game Studios’ efforts to progress VR as a medium are unquestionable. Even if they chose a six-year-old videogame to do it.
Manifest 99 – Flight School Studio
Manifest 99, like The Lost Bear, takes the VR medium in a wholly unexpected direction. The player is taken on a journey in which the storyline unfolds around them; interaction is limited to player position, but the choices they make therein have an impact on the events that play out in Manifest 99.
Polybius – Llamasoft
A visual feast as only Jeff Minter and his team at Llamasoft can do, this unique VR experience plays on your nostalgia glands by taking inspiration from the 80s arcade scene in ‘the best of ways’, as stated in VRFocus’ review of Polybius. It’s a frenetic shoot-‘em-up that challenges the player with steadily increasing difficulty as much as it does with the weaving of dynamically timed colours and lighting.
Statik – Tarsier Studios
A puzzle videogame in which your hands are tied and hidden? Tarsier Studios obviously has a creative mind, but your better be a logical one in order to successfully beat Statik’s many challenges. Your hands are kept within a box upon which you must assess and correctly execute the solution to a unique puzzle, without the typical holding hands of clues and hints. Instead, Statik will do it’s best to break your concentration. Tarsier Studios lay out a challenge, and then do the best they can to prevent you from accomplishing it. Pride is what Statik will earn you.
Sparc – CCP Games
A sad goodbye to one of the most adventurous development teams in VR, CCP Games’ Atlanta studio had grand ambitions for Sparc. A title with the potential to define VR eSports, Sparc pitches two players in a competitive arena not to dissimilar to tennis, relying on your own physical ability more than your knowledge of videogame convention. Sparc remains an enjoyable experience, but the possibilities for what it could’ve been in two years will forever remain a shameful reminder that jumping into VR this early has had its consequences.
The Solus Project – Teotl Studios
A first-person exploration videogame set on an alien planet. Does anything scream VR ambitions louder? Teotl Studios don’t seem to think so. The Solus Project is a videogame that relies as much on the player’s own ambition and curiosity as it does the depth of the world Teotl Studios has created for this passion to exist within.