PSVR 2 review: Easy to use with top-tier quality
Normally, setting up a new VR headset is a bit of a pain. There are all sorts of wires to plug in, devices that need to be turned on, and cameras that need configuring. We’ve all looked on in frustration wondering why something isn’t working, only to realize you forgot to press one tiny button during the setup.
PSVR 2 has none of that. Just plug in the USB cable, turn it on, stop it from crushing your nose, and you’re off on an adventure.
I’ve spent time with all the other major headsets, and this one sits right in the sweet spot between all of them. The high-fidelity playing experience puts me in mind of the Valve Index, but with the ease of use of the Quest 2. It sits comfortably on your face, there are no cameras, and the image is as sharp as it gets.
The OLED has roughly 265 nits in brightness, there’s an HDR screen, and it outshines more expensive VR gear. There’s a moment in Horizon Call of the Mountain where a hood is quickly whipped off your face and the sun suddenly burns your eyes for a moment before you adjust and it’s a beautiful effect.
The shape of the PSVR 2 controllers may look a little daunting at first, but once you’ve got them in your hands, you’ll realize that the muscle memory is already there. They’re essentially two halves of a DualSense, which means you have all the capabilities of a traditional controller, making menus a breeze to navigate. The only major difference is that L1 and R1 have been moved to act as grip buttons, but that makes enough physical sense when gripping objects that it won’t take too long to get used to.
Setting boundaries for stationary or room-scale play has never been this easy either. You can make a 3D map of your room just by looking around, and then you can set up a play area in an instant. Gone are the headaches of painstakingly drawing boundaries, and it goes to show just how streamlined the PSVR makes the setup process. Plus, you can view the see-through cameras whenever you want, letting you see the real world without having to take the headset off.
There are eye-tracking functions you’ll need to set up too, although you won’t notice them much during gameplay. Some menus let you select things with your eyes, but it mostly works as a background process for foveated rendering, which ensures that the parts of the screen you’re looking at are rendered with the most detail.
Unsurprisingly, Horizon Call of the Mountain is the game that best showcases the fantastic image quality on offer. The scale of the environments is mindblowing, and the size of the enemies you’re up against makes it one of the best showcases for VR you can find. If you don’t fancy climbing and hunting out in the wild, then boot up Gran Turismo 7. Drive around at nighttime and you’ll see all of the wonderful beacons of light that pass over your car as you drive under every light.
There’s haptic feedback in the headset itself too, which may sound offputting but is actually quite nice. VR can be a pretty intense experience, but this feedback is just a nice little massage on your face. I’ve been completely free of motion sickness while using it too. The high and stable frame rate combined with the clarity of the image sees to that.
If you’re looking for a downside to this headset, then the price is the big one. Even though Sony are only just breaking even at the current price, there isn’t an expansive game library yet to justify putting down more than the cost of a PS5. You won’t be able to use your library of original PSVR games, and even those that are on both platforms will charge you for an upgrade.
You’ll probably already have things like Gran Turismo 7 and No Man’s Sky in your library – which are all great VR experiences – but it’s still asking a lot. It’s cheaper than the premium PC headsets, but those have the advantage of letting you use your Steam library, which is something you’ll never be able to do on the PSVR 2.
You can even put all that aside and use the PSVR 2 as a second TV. You can use the headset in cinematic mode, which lets you play regular games on a big virtual cinema screen in front of you. No need to fight over who’s using the TV, just strap the headset on and play whatever you want from your PS5 library.
If money is no issue for you, then the PSVR 2 is something you should seriously consider. It’s one of the highest quality and easiest-to-use headsets on the market, with the only major downside at the moment being its small library. It may be worth waiting for a few more landmark exclusive titles to come to the system, but it’s clear that Sony has every intention of continuing their heavy investment in VR technology.
Written by Ryan Woodrow on behalf of GLHF.