Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2019
So the back half of 2019 is late to the party for PSVR, but I just arrived. I want to start off by saying I have NOT tried any PC tethered VR before so this review is based on going from Zero VR experience to owning a PSVR.
In the box, there are a lot of cords and accessories, but there is a booklet that clearly describes the method and order of hooking everything up. Basically you end up with a little powered processing box in between your PS4 and TV/receiver that the headset connects to via a relatively long, 2 port wire. The Playstation camera also gets connected to the PS4 and comes with a nice little flexible stand. This needs to go somewhere where it can face the player, it doesn't necessarily need to be centered above or below the TV - I put mine off to the side of the screen so others could watch - the player just plays centered in front of it.
There are 2 Move wands in the package which are sort of like a Wii-mote with a light up rubber bulb on top which the camera looks at for motion tracking. There is no D-pad (arrows) or joysticks on the move controllers, so menu navigation is done by pulling the trigger and waving in a direction. [(pro tip: it's sometimes challenging to connect both Move wands to the PS4. I suggest turning the PS4 on manually, then the Moves one at a time. Don't use a dualshock first or the PS4 seems to struggle to recognize the 2nd move)]
The headset itself is exactly what it looks like - a large, plasticky device you strap your head into. It comes with earbuds as well that actually sound good but you can use your own headphones or just the TV/speakers sound as well. I have a large head and find it relatively comfortable, there is a clicking lock on the back for tightening it in place and a slider on the front to adjust the main screen part closer or further from your face. Once you get it somewhat situated on your face and slide it up to your eyes, the magic begins.
Honestly the first few times I played with this, I would describe the experience in one of these ways: exhilarating, mind-blowing, incredible, how is this possible, etc. I see a lot of complaints tossed PSVR's way about low power, bad tracking, poor graphics/resolution, and so on, but if you're in it to have fun and not comparing to high end PC VR, you will be blown away and so will everyone you show it to. Here are some things I've experienced so far:
Superhot: This game really is a showcase for VR in my opinion. There are these red glass looking dudes coming after you, and the catch is they only move when you do. You have to get them before they get to you by punching, shooting, and throwing things at them. You stay basically in one place while they move towards you. It's wild because they seem life size and you really feel like things are being shot at you. Ducking around a spray of bullets in slow motion, grabbing a weapon and firing it back while tossing a bottle in the other direction with your other hand... it seriously feels like an experience moreso than a game. Amazing.
Blood & Truth: This came with the bundle I purchased. It is basically like being the star in a movie - lots of scenes of just watching and listening to the story, mixed with shooting, picking locks, and blowing things up. The graphics are very good, and the game gives you a real sense of presence. The game recommends playing sitting down but I preferred standing. Where this one got me was the motion - you move around in game by looking in a direction and pressing a button, then your character moves, but obviously in real life you're holding still - so it made my head feel funny at first. After trying a couple more times in short bursts I got used to it and don't feel badly anymore. I think a lot of VR first timers have experienced this in a game where you move around more than just a fixed location. I had no motion sickness with either of the other 2 games mentioned in this review as you don't move around an environment in those.
Beat Saber: WOW. This one is addictive. Think guitar hero or other music rhythm games, except the notes are colored boxes and your job is to slash them as they fly at you with the corresponding colored LIGHTSABER that you have in your hands, along to the beat of some pretty insane EDM type music. I think this game has the lowest learning curve of any I've tried, because you don't need to push any buttons while playing a song, you just swing away. Definitely a challenge to master, though. As an added bonus, it's a great workout! I wore a heart rate monitor and played a bunch of songs on expert (failing often) for about an hour and 15 minutes, and burned 940 calories!! (I'm a fairly big guy, results may vary). So recap: addicting, loud, good workout, easy to explain, difficult to master, MUST OWN for PSVR.
I would like to wrap up by saying that if you own a PS4, I highly recommend PSVR as a kickoff to some crazy gaming experiences. Seeing VR in action for the first time is game-changing, and it adds a lot of variety to a gaming library. It's fun to show to people who haven't played VR or otherwise don't game. The experience and hardware are solid, and there's plenty to do 2 years into PSVR's lifecycle. Sony has claimed that PSVR and all of your games will be compatible with PS5, as well, so I'm not worried about buying in late and glad they're forward thinking in this area.
The only other note is my PS4 is the Pro version, which supposedly offers slightly improved VR performance over the base PS4. That being said, from what I've read, the experience is great either way.