Getting started with PlayStation VR2: a major update

Sony’s PlayStation VR2 may not be released until next year, but after months of dripping news, the company has finally let the press go with the VR headset. Even after a little time with the device, it looks like the new headset will be a major upgrade from the original PSVR in almost every way.

Let’s start with the hardware, which we already know a lot about. For one thing, it’s got a much more modern look that closely matches the PS5’s design language, and you’ll only have to plug it into your PS5 with a single USB-C cable. The headset itself has an OLED display, offers a 110-degree field of view and 4K HDR, and supports 90Hz and 120Hz frame rates for smoother gameplay. Unlike its predecessor, you won’t need to set up external cameras to track your movements; instead, the headset has four cameras built into the front of the display. The new orb-shaped PSVR2 Sense controllers include adaptive triggers and haptic feedback (like the DualSense) and can also detect finger touches.

Here is the helmet.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

But what’s it like playing games on the PSVR2, with all its new bells and whistles? Actual PSVR2 hardware was a joy to use. Like most modern VR headsets, it lets you adjust the headband to make sure everything sits comfortably on your noggin, and you can adjust the inter-pupillary distance (IPD) so the actual lenses inside headset are the correct distance for you. The screens looked great, although things sometimes looked a little fuzzy around the edges, which could also happen with the first PSVR.

Sony’s new Sense controllers were a definite improvement. The original PSVR relied on Sony’s Move controllers – which you might recall looked like funky wands with light balls on the end – and they had some issues. The original PSVR setup sometimes had trouble tracking light balls, which could ruin the immersive VR experience, and the first version of the Move controller used a Mini USB port for charging. Luckily, Sony fixed that last complaint by switching to micro USB (so maybe it wasn’t a huge upgrade).

The Sense controllers, on the other hand (pun intended), seem to be much better. Haptics were excellent, which perhaps isn’t too surprising if you’ve experienced Sony’s excellent haptics in the DualSense. Touch sensing was a very convenient way to interact with VR worlds. Sure, you can pick up weapons, but it also lets you flex your fingers and interact with objects in a more natural way. It wasn’t perfect, or available in every game we tried, but when it worked it added an extra layer of immersion.

A close up of the PSVR2 Sense controller for your left hand.

The Sense Controller.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

A person holds the left and right PSVR2 sensing controllers in their hands.

And here’s what it looks like to hold the Sense controllers.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

PSVR2’s single-cable setup was highly praised. The original PSVR required an extra box and a slew of cables to function, so simply plugging a cable directly into a PS5 is a much less hassle solution. (Although it’s not quite as enjoyable as a fully self-contained wireless headset like the Meta Quest series.) And generally, VR games require you to take a break once in a while so you don’t develop a throbbing migraine. But that wasn’t really a problem with PSVR 2. You can have a good time without feeling the strain.

As for the games themselves, we were able to try a few titles: Horizon Call of the Mountaina version of Resident Evil Village optimized for PSVR2, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Chapter 2and the new Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy Enhanced Edition.

Horizon Call of the Mountain was the most technically advanced – probably because it was built from the ground up for the PSVR2. The sense of scale in the game is amazing, and watching a gigantic the mechanical dino ride directly overhead felt like visiting a post-apocalyptic jurassic park. The climbing was also incredibly fun, as long as you resist the urge to gaze at the chasms below. The new Sense controllers vibrate when you touch objects, which adds an extra layer of physics when drawing your bow and shooting an arrow. We were also immensely impressed with the thought that went into creating an interactive world. Can you just… smash plates and throw boxes off a cliff? Yeah! Can you pick up a hammer and bang a gong, even if there’s no reason to? Yes too !

A screenshot of a player holding a bow and arrow in the PSVR2 game Horizon Call of the Mountain.

A bow and an arrow in Horizon Call of the Mountain.
Picture: Sony

The other games were fun too. Resident Evil Village had a spooky vibe, and it’s legitimately terrifying when the undead stand in your face. (Poor Ethan Winters, he really goes through this.) In the meantime, you can get creative in exactly How? ‘Or’ What you hit the walkers The Walking Dead: Saint & Sinners Chapter 2. Sure, mowing them with chainsaws is fun, but we highly recommend making zombie shish kebabs with a katana.

One thing we don’t know yet? The cost; Sony did not share this as part of the hands-on event. But with Meta’s new high-end Quest headphones on the horizon (a prototype of which leaked over the weekend) and Apple’s “Reality” headphones seemingly about to launch, hopefully Sony is offering a price tag. competitive for the PSVR2 headset (maybe around $400?) encourage PlayStation gamers to pick one up.

Getting started with PlayStation VR2: a major update

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

We can’t wait to experience Sony’s new take on VR again. The “early 2023” release window makes it look like we won’t have to wait too long into next year to finally play more – and we’re crossing our fingers that buying the hardware doesn’t break the bank.


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