If you are looking to get the most out of your PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 console, consider stepping into virtual worlds with the PlayStation VR. The PSVR headset lets players explore rich, interactive new worlds with you at the centre of the experience.
Since the hardware’s launch in 2016 its lineup of software has grown considerably with a diverse range of experiences you don’t want to miss out on. From the zany adventures of Astro Bot Rescue Mission, to the stealth action of Hitman 3, PSVR has an experience for gamers of all different tastes.
I’ll be taking you through the evolution of the platform, how to setup the hardware and the “must play” games on the platform. Let’s step into a new virtual world and explore all the PlayStation VR has to offer.
Evolution of the PSVR
Sony has been active in the virtual reality space since the early 90s first introducing the Glasstron. The company’s first headset was compatible with MechWarrior 2, giving players a first person view of their vehicle’s cockpit.
In 2014, hardware project codenamed Project Morpheus was revealed to the world, teasing it would be “the next innovation from PlayStation that will shape the future of games” by Shuhei Yoshida then President of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE). The device would further evolve real-world motion in gaming building upon what the PlayStation Move peripheral delivered.
In the fall of 2015, the moniker of Project Morpheus was changed to the official name of PlayStation VR, or PSVR for short. In October 2016, PSVR officially launched in Canada, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. The launch lineup featured notable titles such as Batman: Arkham VR and PlayStation VR Worlds with many titles to follow.
The hardware has gone on to sell over 5 million units and has over 500 games in its catalog. The PSVR has seen a few minor revisions since launch, all featured in the newest model the CUH-ZVR2. The latest model of the hardware features a slimmer more streamlined connection cable and integrated stereo earbuds. It also sports a more efficient processor that can handle HDR video passthrough. This latest model of the hardware is available on BestBuy.ca in the PlayStation VR Marvel’s Iron Man VR Bundle.
The PSVR hardware
The PSVR retail kit includes PlayStation VR headset, PlayStation Camera, a set of PlayStation Move controllers and everything you need to connect it to your television. If you purchase the aforementioned Iron Man VR Bundle you receive the Iron Man VR game and Demo 3.0 game sampler. All VR hardware and games are compatible with both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 hardware. The only exception is that with older models of PSVR you will need a camera adaptor for the PS5, the adaptor is available directly from the manufacturer here.
Let’s take a look at what is included in the package:
PlayStation VR headset
The star of the show is PSVR headset, which gives you a 360-degree view into new digital worlds. The headset itself looks large and bulky but it designed well with lightweight materials that don’t hinder your enjoyment of the experience. It also offers a seamless field of view wherever you turn the virtual world surrounds you.
The OLED screen inside the headset looks great with sharp visuals that support up to 120fps visuals.
The now integrated headset also boasts 3D audio technology. This plays with your sense of hearing giving players the illusion being fully surrounded by audio. In my experience with PSVR you really hear both foes and friends even before you make visual contact. Along with 3D audio the PSVR also has a built-in microphone. You can chat with friends online as you battle through new worlds together.
Another included piece of essential hardware is the PlayStation Camera. The sleek device has a cylindrical design with dual lenses and a 3D depth sensor, so it doesn’t miss a beat even with quick movements. The camera simultaneously tracks the position of the headset, PlayStation Move controller and DUALSHOCK 4 light from all angles.
This LED sensor tracking is a requirement for many games in the PSVR library which makes the translation difficult at times on the PS5. The DualSense controller does not have the LED indicator on the front making certain titles unplayable, be sure to double check compatibility.
PlayStation Move controllers
Along with the PlayStation Move controllers you can use the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller for added precision. All games are compatible with both the DUALSHOCK 4 (PS4) and the PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controller.
Setting up the PSVR
The first time setting up the PSVR takes a little bit of time, but thanks to Sony’s detailed instructions the process is a breeze. There are multiple manuals (one for each device) and even a large format quick start guide that is fully illustrated with step-by-step setup instructions.
One of the first things you’ll notice when unboxing the device is the daunting number of wires, thankfully they are numbered to the corresponding steps in the instruction manual.
The first step is to connect the PSVR headset to the PS4 or PS5 console, an adaptor is required for the latter.
Next, you will need to pass through your HDMI connection into the processor unit in the slot to the TV. After that, connect the included HDMI cable to the processor unit to your console.
The USB cable is up next, use this included wire to connect to the PS4 / PS5 and the processor unit.
Connect the PSVR headset cable to the two ports on the front matching them to the corresponding shapes to ensure the correct connection.
Plug the power cable into the electrical outlet and you’ll be ready for your first virtual experience!
Setting up the PSVR “The Play Area”
When setting up the PSVR it is imperative to adjust the PlayStation Camera’s position so you are in full view. You will be guided through a series of onscreen prompts that will help optimize your space for virtual play.
For best results stay between 5 and 6.5ft away from the camera. If you venture too far outside of the designated area, you’ll be given a warning which is always helpful. To avoid injury, make sure to clear space larger than the designated “Play Area” of objects, people and pets, stay safe and have fun!
My top picks for PSVR games
Now that you are all set up and ready to play you might be wondering, “what are the best games out there for PSVR?” Below are my top picks that really showcase what the PSVR experience is all about.
ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
Developer: Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone for Everyone)
ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission is one of the best experiences that the PSVR platform has to offer with 20 unique levels that show off the hardware’s capability. Explore jungles, dark caves, and golden sandy beaches with a 360-degree view of stunningly realistic levels.
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher(s): IO Interactive
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The critically acclaimed stealth sandbox tour-de-force is back, and more fun than ever with PSVR! The visuals on the headset are slightly downgraded over their next-gen counterparts, but the 360-degree views and detailed environments offer so much to explore. It’s the most unique way to explore the Hitman universe putting you in the virtual shoes of Agent 47. Good luck with your next mission!
Marvel’s Iron Man VR
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Style: Action / Adventure
Modes: Single Player
ESRB Rating: T (Teenager – Adolescent)
It’s time to don Iron Man’s virtual armour and get the full avenger experience! The game is chalk full of Hollywood action sequences with high flying combat in combination with an explosive arsenal. If your name isn’t Tony Stark this is the closest you’ll get to becoming Iron Man!
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
ESRB Rating: M (Mature, 17+)
Steel yourself, this is one of the scariest most immersive survival horror experiences out there. The visceral horror has been cranked up even further as the series shifts to a first-person view. This brings the terrifying horror unsettlingly close with 3D sound and jump scares galore! Enter if you dare…
The Future of PSVR
Looking ahead, the future of the PSVR is looking quite enticing. Recently, Sony announced a host of new titles in the pipeline coming to the platform along with PSVR 2. The next iteration of the VR hardware will harness the power of the PlayStation 5, but details on the device are sparse at this point.