I thought a good while about getting one of these..No Regrets
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 2, 2016
I thought a good while about getting one of these, finally took the plunge when i realized most of the games I play regularly have VR support (Elite, Assetto Corsa, Project Cars, Dirt Rally, DCS World).
First things first then.. It comes in high quality, well presented box that should be kept if you want to pack it away or take it over a friends house, you get the remote, an Xbox controller, the sensor and the Rift.
It's pretty easy to get it all plugged in, cables are minimal(just the one going to the headset) and the instructions on the software are easy to follow.
I did run into a few problems on setup, the Rift is VERY fussy about which USB 3.0 ports it uses, and couldn't get the sensor to pick up at all, it worked with a USB2.0, but the sensor was erratic. This was solved by purchasing the Anatek USB 3.0 card(oculus approved).. Popped that in, and it all worked well, and I flew through the set up procedure. But it's something to consider in the price, you may have to spend an extra £20 on a usb card.
Took about 10 minutes to get the headset comfortable, and once you do it's very easy to wear, and in the few days I've owned it, can go a fair few hours with no discomfort, it's of good build quality and the detachable earphones are surprisingly good, though you can use your own if you wish, there is a small nose gap at the bottom of the headset, which can't really be gotten rid of, but I found this quite handy for typing, game commands etc, and it doesn't detract from the experience.
Onto the experience then... It's pretty mind blowing, run Dreamscape (which is a series of small demos) and you can't help but stare in wonder, careful where you step though, I cut my ankle on a dumbell not looking where I was going. There's a few free things in the store you can try, and the odd game, Luckys Tale is a good little platform game that is just great in VR, Virtual Vesktop, while a paid app, is a must if you are going to own a rift, it's great.
Onto the setting up of games, taking Elite as an example.. This takes a long time, each game has many setting to fiddle with(if you buy one, research ASW, debug tool and pixel density), there was a few hours of fiddling, trying out different HUD colours, driver issues etc to get all the game running smoothly. This is mainly because of the screens lower resolution, which is then magnified, can make far away object on graphically intensive game look blurred, but with a little patience, while it will never look anywhere near as sharp as a monitor, games can be made to look quite spectacular.
Having said all that, jumping into a cockpit in Elite and being greeted with a life sized space station, life sized planets, or racing an F1 car around Spa, and experiencing what it's like to go flatout through Eau Rouge in what feels like an actual F1 car is priceless, at times terrifying, or flying an F15 through a valley, is such an amazing feeling. Most other games can be converted to run in VR, though it required paid software to do so, all games can also be played in Virtual Desktop on a giant screen. It also works flawlessly with Steam.
On my experience with it so far, I'd say do some research on problems you're likely to run into, whether it's setup, or how to get your fav game working as it should, and you'll be up and running that much quicker.
It's a brilliant device, it should drop a star for the pains of getting everything running smoothly, but thats mainly down the software developers and not the headset.
I'd also point out, you may have watched some videos on YouTube, and thought wow, that looks great, say.. Elite, these are recordings taken from the monitor display, not the Rift, The resolution does drop significantly from any videos you've seen, but, you really won't care, and soon forget about it and forgive it's shortcomings, it's not the Rifts fault, but a limitation of the technology available, and will be that way for a few more years.
If you play any of the games I've mentioned in this review, it's a no brainer, I'll never go back to 2D gaming...
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