Top positive review
1,199 people found this helpful
Regardless of cost, you will absolutely love this. Let me explain why.
on September 28, 2016
It's hard to do bulleted, concise reviews on something like this.. So this will be a little long winded. Stick with me if you can..
If you were like me, you might be a little hesitant about tech like this, because you tried a GEAR VR, or think 3d desktop gaming and 3d movies are kinda of cool, but certainly not worth this kind of investment. Get that out of your head right now. This is COMPLETELY different.
First, let me say that I've never been a huge gamer. I've spent many more hours on my 10 year old Wii than I have on newly released console/computer games.
I enjoy the interaction even if I'm sacrificing graphical beauty.
This system is kind of like a 5th generation Wii. They are really selling the experience more than the graphics. And the experience is absolutely something to be had.
Kind of like that first time you picked up that wii controller and "bowled" and thought "hey, this is pretty cool." but on a WHOLE new level.
Once you complete the setup you'll enter the tutorial and blow up a balloon.. You'll (without instruction) think.. What happens if I try to hit this floating balloon.. Probably nothing.. but you'll immediately realize how intuitive and accurate this "new world" is when the balloon flies in the direction and velocity you would expect it to based on your hand movement. And sure there are similar capabilities on other consoles. You separate when you realize you can (literally) walk underneath the balloon, look up at it, jump and swat it down to the floor. then walk circles around it while unrelentingly taunting it for obeying physics.
When you play "The lab" and your hand becomes a spaceship in a (truly) 3d realm, you'll really grasp what this thing is all about. I can't imagine how silly it looks in real life with your hand just jerking up and down, left to right, ducking, spinning.. etc. But in the game it really feels like you're in a serious situation and your hand needs to dodge these incoming blobs at all costs.
The longbow game is fun. And you may realize that the controllers are giving haptic feedback when you "pull" the bowstring and release it to give it that additional sense of immersion.
It's these seemingly small, polished edges that make this an incredible product.
You WILL feel immersed. I 100 percent guarantee it. You'll laugh the first time you try to set your gun down on a table in the virtual world.
The setup wasn't bad. Although I didn't find instructions included. I just googled it and followed the 10ish step process from HTC.
Windows 7 wouldn't install the drivers for the "link box" until I put it into the USB 2.0 slots (as others have stated) - the directions state that it's compatible with 2.0+ though. Maybe in later versions of Windows, or perhaps my BIOS settings are "bad". Either way, simple fix.
I had planned on using the single HDMI port that my GTX1060 has since I saw that some people had problems through other connections. The directions stated that you can use a display port to mini display port on the link box but I didn't try it.
So that makes two display ports out. One to my tv/monitor, the other to my receiver which passes the video to a projector, and then the HDMI to the Vive headset. All very seamless.
When you get to the point of powering on all your components (for the first time) you might need to right click one of the controllers in the steam VR window and click "pair controller" (if the controller shows blue when it comes on instead of green). The walkthrough failed to mention that.
The Steam VR software is very polished as well. Especially inside of VR. You can switch to your desktop and read email. When I realized that I could walk closer to my boundary wall that the desktop was on at that time, and the text got closer/clearer, it was an additional level of "that's friggin cool."
This is NOT for reading text like that though. The resolution just isn't there.
Once you've got a Steam account set up, be careful, it's easy to blow through 80 dollars (of real money) in a 4 minute virtual shopping spree.
You can connect your phone via Bluetooth and get notifications. You can enable the camera and see the room without taking the headset off. Plug in ear buds and "mirror" the sound so you can rock out hard to audioshield without waking the neighbors.
You can control pretty much all of the aspects of the virtual world from your 2d monitor. That comes in handy If someone new is using the headset. So you can control the session for them (get them into a game, get them started, etc) without having to walk them through everything - but again, it is pretty intuitive and should be easy to pick up for 90 percent of people.
There are just a lot of features that you can tell they put thought into.
Some complain that a lot of the games are "demo" types, and while that's true. There are several "full" games available, and I haven't even gotten to them, because The Lab, Zombie Trainer, The Brookhaven Experiment, and (especially) AudioShield have me completely satisfied for the time being.
We're all still waiting on the "major" releases of Doom, Fallout 4, Serious Sam, Arizona Sunshine etc. I am curious how games like Serious Sam will work. You're going to break yourself if you're constantly spinning around trying to fend off hordes of suiciders. The action of "teleporting" in large scale games seems to be the goto method for moving around in the world. It's not as intuitive as I'd like and it takes a split second to load the new landscape when you arrive, so it's a little offputting. But that's splitting hairs at this point. I just feel like it's going to be exaggerated when you're in a true "sandbox" world.
There are a few cons.
1. You're going to have a tough time doing true multiplayer with this. You can't just buy another 30 dollar controller and go to town with your friend sitting on the couch next to you. You're looking at another large investment and the space to set up another system. I'm interested to see how games like "Don't stop talking and nobody explodes" work and bring a "crowd" together with one headset. But it's probably not going to be the excitement of being (virtually) back to back with a buddy fighting the terrorists in a FPS.
2. I hope your friends don't mind swapping a large amount of face sweat.
3. The resolution just isn't what it is on a LED monitor. Obviously you're stretching that image out over a 360 degree 3d environment so it's a little tougher to do. So.. Again, you're not doing this for the "crispness". You're doing it for the experience. When you feel like a freaking rockstar defending yourself from incoming musical notes, you won't be thinking about the slight pixilation, or how the graphics in the background aren't super detailed. I PROMISE.
4. I find it a little bit of a pain to get the headset just right on my head. You need to get the straps perfect (not too tight, or loose) to make the area right in front of your face perfectly clear (especially when you're looking down).
5. I don't think the screens are quite big enough. You will probably notice the black ring around the outside of your vision when you're waiting for a game to load or whatever. You'll forget about it as soon as you're doing whatever.
6. I am seriously matting down the new carpet inside of my "game area."
7. You might think that the real world is less fun.
Keep in mind.. That while the software is pretty polished and works well, this type of thing probably isn't for someone who isn't at least a moderate "power user." I've had some minor issues like weird Steam crashes, VR world disappearing if the CPU is under a lot of stress, computer not completing POST when the link box was plugged in. Just stuff that you wouldn't deal with on a console type system. This "limitation" (not the price) is probably why the world isn't screaming about this from the rooftops. The mass population isn't exactly tech savvy so that excludes a major percentage of potential buyers.
All that said....
Honestly, I've got a lot of cool stuff but this is ABSOLUTELY and UNEQUIVOCALLY the coolest tech I've seen or played with in my entire life. I would still be happy with it if I would've needed to fork out an additonal 800 or so to build a computer. Everytime I'm away from it for a day or so, I think "was it really THAT cool?" and I answer my question as soon as I put the headset back on and enter a virtual world for what feels like the first time, every time.