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PlayStation VR (Reserve for 2016 shipment) Status: Shipped
tldr: aw yis, this thing rules
setting it up was easy enough, headset comes with an external processor unit with a crapload of plugs
- power supply cable
- hdmi out from ps4 into the device
- hdmi out from device into tv
- usb cable from device into ps4
- one generously long cable from device that you finally plug the headset into
after peeling all the plastic off the sony logo's the next bit was figuring out the best way to put it on without breaking it. the back of the headset has a push button allowing it to conform to whatever your head size is (plus a dial for tightening that i'm yet to use) and there's also a button under the goggle part which slides it back and forth along a rail until it snuggly fits and focuses. once on it feels like you're wearing a cap. it's impressive how light it is. you're aware of a tiny weight at the front but that's it. the first thing you do after putting it on is to take it off because feeling around for the controller didn't work out. armed with this new knowledge i put the controller on my lap and put it on again.
before i go on i should mention headphones. it comes with some earplugs that you plug into a box on the cable that has the on/off and volume controls. the earplugs are ... quite invasive. i was stoked to find out that my wireless headphones fit over the top of the headset without any obstruction. but, the ps4 said i couldn't use them for some reason. i have some older ones that just plug into the box on the cable but the rest was all using surround sound in the room.
the ps4 crossbar menu appears as a floating screen in the headset. no 360 environment yet. i'd already pre-installed VR worlds, playroom VR (free), a demo disc with 18 game demos (unit comes with a demo disc as well) and a couple more free apps i found in the ps store. anyone else in the room can watch what you see on the tv but i was ready for the sharks so i fired up vr worlds. my first jaw drop moment was the 360 degree menu screen. took a while just enjoying the tech. looking around was so much better than i expected. response time is instant and was very impressed that i could turn my back to the camera and it still tracked my movements like a boss. camera range is wide, i'd aimed it at the middle of a 3 seater couch and i could sit anywhere on it with no issues. if you move outside the cameras range your vision starts fading to black. took me a while to realise that the ps4 controller now had its own avatar too. i chucked it on the seat next to me and it reacted accordingly. i reached out with my phantom limb to retrieve it and with a huge grin on my face selected 'Ocean Descent' aka (shark cage).
the demo of VR worlds only has a short look around, the full version has 3 dives (same spot, just goes deeper) but you have to do a shallow one before the one called 'wildlife encounter'. i wanted my first go to be with the shark so i graciously let hobb v2 take the first dive. plus i noticed a smear on the lens that was left over from the plastic peel off things that i wanted to fix. there's a cleaning cloth in the box for just this sort of thing. as i gently wiped the lens down the fear of scratching them on day one was very much present. did a quick check, smear was gone, perfect vision and then watched hobb v2 do his dive on the tv and completely lose his shit. then it was my turn.
being able to look a full 360 degree's is nothing short of incredible. i remember watching a catalyst episode before rift was a thing that talked about how easy it was to fool the brain. the shark cage builds it up really well and when it attacked there was an automatic response. don't want to spoil it but i was definitely aware of my brain telling me i was in trouble before i started laughing. it's very cool. one of my neighbours came round to pick their kid up and said "what's that?". i put her in the same one and i wish i'd filmed it. about 10 seconds into the shark attacking her and she was curled up in a ball on the couch taking the headset off. then she started cracking up at her reaction declaring how amazing that was. then she went to get her husband to have a go lol.
the freeway chase game (heist) is probably the best interactive experience because of the 2 move controllers. the full version is a story about a diamond heist with a few different scenes. the scene that got me was set in an english pub while this guy tells you the plan. on the table you have a few things to pick up and play with while he's doing his cockney 'ardman routine. cigar, lighter, wad of cash, blutooth earpiece and an xperia phone (well played sony). i picked up the cigar with the left hand just by reaching over and pulling the trigger on the move controller. bam. i didn't have to adjust for anything it just felt like an intuitive natural movement. with the right hand i picked up the lighter and started puffing away. there is a mic somewhere in the headset and one reviewer said he could exhale the smoke but i haven't found that. but by waving your hand you can push the smoke around. the phone rings, i picked it up and could faintly hear some talking. i wonder if .... yup. i put it next to my ear like a retard and chuckled when the audio started playing down my ear. last thing was when the 'ardman sat on the bar table and said "giz us a light would ya". oh shit, really? do i pick up the lighter and .... yup. the interactivity in that bar scene with the move controllers is the best i've seen so far. everyone's probably seen the freeway footage where you have to reload the uzi. i didn't feel any motion sickness at all. it's just awesome. there are plenty of creative shooting ranges in this game too. this was the first time i could slow down and really look at how accurate the move controllers are. without the laser sights i did notice a couple of times that taking a long time to look down the sights there'd be a little twitch but nothing that i'd call a deal breaker. every other time i tried it there was no problem.
after a few more game demos i moved on to an app i downloaded called littlstar which has a bunch of 360 vids. you'll need at last a cable connection for this one as it streams a crapload of data from NY. these short videos are made with a series of fixed point cameras. you can't move around or peer around things like the 3D one's obviously. some examples of what you can find are:
- tour around rio on the day/night of carnival. from the jesus statue at sunset, on a crowded beach with scantily clad wimminz and shirtless men playing hacky sack with a soccer ball, to the carnival itself. really fkn impressive and not once was i mugged or stabbed so not overly realistic in that sense.
- mythbuster van explosion. the camera here is maybe 10m from a massive explosion that sadly takes out the cameras tripod. but the narration frame by frames the explosion pointing out all the things going on and they were able to salvage a very cool experience.
- dude with some lions in the wild. nice short one where you're standing in the middle of nowhere and one of those guys that lions don't eat calls them over and plays with them infront of you. i've never been to africa but just looking around and checking things out when i decide is so cool.
- onstage during the lion king opening scene. never saw the stage show but knew it was famous for their costumes and set design. and they are very cool.
- 100 years of tanks museum tour. this one cuts to some terrible 3dmax animations which let it down but as a private tour of the exhibits in a museum where you never get to go inside these things is a brilliant idea that i'll be seeking out more.
there were a couple more downloads. one that my kids are particularly stoked with is a 360 pixar-like cartoon called invasion. you're a bunny somewhere in the snowy mountains and watch this scene play out where some aliens show up and have their global domination attempts thwarted by another bunny. along with the shark cage and heist game, i'd add this to the highest quality experiences i've had so far in VR.
what the bunny and littlstar highlights tho, is that the psvr is definitely not a bluray-quality photo-realistic experience that makes you think you're in the matrix. i didn't expect it to be but if you're thinking of watching full length movies with this thing on you need to be aware that the resolution just isn't there. there was another demo called rigs which is a mech suit fps game in quake-like levels. i suspected that if i was going to get motion sickness it would be this one. it was night #3 when i fired this demo up and short review: fuck that game. i couldn't do any more VR that evening and had to lie down for about an hour. it's just too fast, too much crap going on and the disconnect between you moving around like a fps game in the VR space and not moving IRL is no good. for me, the strength of VR is when you're sitting in an xwing, car, shark cage or even a street luge is fine. you can fly through virtual space just fine as long as you don't try to play it like a fps game using a ps4 controller. maybe it was because it was the first time i'd tried to turn using the controller stick to turn instead of using my head or maybe it's like rollercoasters in that kids will like it more than older cnts with damaged eyes from years of CRT exposure and watching movies on tablets in the bedroom.
there are heaps of games coming and i'm particularly interested in this category FPX (first person experiences)
https://www.reddit.com/r/PSVR/comments/ ... nvr_games/
do i have buyers remorse? emphatic fkn no! this thing is still amazing after a weeks use. it's the first version and i expect some resolution improvements are on the horizon because i can't fault anything else. it's hard to describe the experience inside the headset but the brain really is easy to fool. i want more content!