Usually the games that come with a video system bundle are pretty lame, something pretty generic, family friendly, and basic (if the company even bothers to throw one in at all). Judging by the PlayStation VR Worlds’s cover and title I was expecting very little when I took it out of the Virtual Reality bundle I had just purchased. As a matter of fact, I bought two other PSVR games because I was sure that this bundled one would be terrible and that Batman VR would be the first game to go into the disc drive immediately. It did. So it wasn’t until day two of my Virtual Reality gameplay did I actually give VR Worlds a try.
And I’m glad I did.
It’s more than just the basic family friendly fare. It’s a really cool immersive experience that tries to open the player up to some of the possibilities that virtual reality can offer. The opening sequence was kind of the expected Virtual menu environment. The gamer is in a fancy hallway that changes magically in colors and texture. There’s a floating sphere dancing all around and directing your attention amidst the 360 degree environment. It was interesting for two seconds, and I was tapping my foot waiting for the menu to go away and begin the first scene. An underwater shark adventure called Ocean Descent. You begin in a shark cage, dropping down through the fathoms on a deep-sea salvage expedition to uncover the mystery of a sunken submarine. Things look pretty authentic. The 3D sound creates a rich palette of bubbles, waves, creakings and staticky radio transmissions. Your cage rocks around a bit and sometimes it manages to fool you— I actually lost my balance a couple of times. Cool.
We continue to descend to the floor and the salvage and look around. Then I just as I start to feel the lameness kicking in— sharks. They swim around all side of the cage, near and far, up and down; so close, I feel like a want to reach out touch, but I don’t have hands! They start slamming at my cage and lunging at me, pulling parts of it off as I lose contact with the surface team and the lights go dark. This is sort of exciting! Eventually you make it out, through no effort of the gamer. This is more like a ride than a physical or mental challenge. You are meant to just sit back and watch the experience.
Danger Ball was the Next Game
Basically a Tron-like futuristic sports event where the gamer is placed in a rectangular arena and large spinning balls are hurled at you. Being the sole player and only goal tender, the gamer must return the shot and send it past the player at the other end to score a goal. This is basically a VR version of Pong. That’s not an insult. As a toddler in the 1970s my family purchased the first Atari system that released Pong. I found hours of enjoyment playing the game in my youth, and it carried me over into Danger Ball. No hand controls necessary to play, just head movements to move your blocking square around to stop the ball. It’s quick, easy and fun, with lots of blinking neon lights and EDM (electronic dance Music) in the background. Of all the games on this disk, this is the only one that stands up to multiple sessions, even after completing the levels.
Now it was time for London Heist
Finally! This was what I was waiting for— Gangsters! The gamer is thrown into London’s organized crime world. Bad men speaking in cockney-like accents, flexing muscles and shooting guns. It starts off with a training tutorial, which I found hysterical: Pick up gun, load gun, and shoot gun. Training over. Perfect. Who has time for anything else?
Next back story. Too much. Two long scenes setting up the crime, both in flash-forward and flashback. You should use the motion controllers for this one, because you get to have hands. Hands to light a cigar, or grab things, but I found the hands most useful for sitting through these incredibly boring story modes. I used the hands to try to grab a character’s crotch, pinch their butt, punch their face and to do the Macarena while I waited. None of the VR characters react to these gestures, but at least it gave me something to do while I waited for the action.
The story was simple, a jewel heist gone bad and a double cross. Big deal. Until the shoot out began… Now in VR you really have to aim your weapon with your hand and arm. You really have to duck when you “duck and cover”. This is a humongous step in the right direction for VR gaming! Though London Heist only achieves 180 degrees of VR in the shootouts, it was still a thrill. 360 must be coming soon and I can’t wait. There is also a high-speed shootout on the freeway using automatic weapons that was no less exciting. I loved the whole experience, but not a scenario that will hold up to multiple plays. Short in action; long in story. A great glimpse though, of what is to come for PlayStation VR.
Then it was on to VR Luge.
Probably the lamest of the games on this disk, but still worth a whirl, VR Luge. A land luge simulator that takes place on the road rather than the snowy slopes. You are placed in the prone position on-screen, although in actuality you play standing up or sitting. You control your luge sled by moving your head left to right. The race is downhill and the player must avoid the standard impediments like tractor trailers, cars and cones. There is only one track that you must complete, through various conditions: rain, day and night. Hitting objects slows your time. Not very exciting and using only your head to control the vehicle can get annoying.
Scavenger’s Odyssey was the last one.
The Scavenger’s Odyssey is an alien scenario where the player is put into a small spacecraft and sent on a scavenger hunt through an asteroid belt. Your craft is equipped with lasers and a grappling hook to help you jump from rock to rock, destroy alien life forms and explore wreckage. It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill space narrative, not dark like the horror of the Deep Space series or an action-packed as a shooter like Resistance. One can quickly get to the end of the first level, and if you desire, continue to a second one. I was bored and stopped there.
VR Worlds is a Sony Interactive Entertainment release and is labeled “Not For Resale”. That’s not just a command, it’s also a good idea. If I had purchased this game on its own, I’d be upset. There is not enough content here to justify a non-bundled release. That being said, it’s a great introduction to what Virtual Reality is going to be. I may not personally use this disc much after I’ve exploring it, but I WILL use it when people come over and want to be introduced to the VR world and what it has to offer. The game is really good for that.
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