CES 2023: What it’s like to experience PlayStation VR 2

CES 2023: What it’s like to experience PlayStation VR 2

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CNN Underscored will bring you the best of CES 2023 all week long. Be sure to check out ours Center for CES 2023 coverage for hands-on reviews of this year’s biggest technologies straight from the show floor.

After years of anticipation, Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 headset is just weeks away from landing in the hands of PS5 owners. I had a chance to try it out at CES 2023 ahead of its February 15th launch, and I can say that the future of console VR looks bright.

PlayStation VR 2’s improved controls, tracking and visual fidelity make a strong impression right out of the gate, and Horizon Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a fun and engaging launch title. But with a high price and a lack of backwards compatibility, will Sony’s long-awaited headphones be worth it? Here’s what I think so far after a quick 20 minute demo.

Product: Sony PlayStation VR 2
Price: From $550
Launch date: February 22 (available for pre-order through Sony)
Why it deserves your attention: PlayStation VR 2 looks like a huge improvement over one of ours the best VR headsets choices in PlayStation VR, offering much better performance and a more streamlined setup process.

Mike Andronico/CNN Emphasis

Created exclusively for the PS5, PlayStation VR 2 is a top-to-bottom improvement over the PS4-based one PlayStation VR. PSVR 2 has a much sleeker look that mimics the design of the PlayStation 5 itself, with new, spherical Sense controllers that feel more ergonomic than the older Move controllers – while offering the same refined, detailed haptics we love on the standard PS5 DualSense Controller.

But perhaps the biggest upgrade is the PSVR 2’s internal camera sensors, which should solve many of the set-up headaches we had with the original model. While the previous PlayStation required you to have a PlayStation Camera attached to track your controller movements (not to mention the clunky processor box that powered everything), the new headset promises a seamless plug-and-play experience with a single cable.

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The PlayStation VR 2 felt comfortable and light as soon as I put it on my head, and I never felt the urge to adjust it during my roughly 20-minute demo. While doing a quick calibration to prepare for my demo, I was impressed by how quickly and accurately the headset tracked my eye movements—something that made it easy to navigate menus without having to move the joystick. After a few minutes of setup, it was time to venture into the wilds of Horizon Call of The Mountain, a first-person action game set in the same post-apocalyptic sci-fi universe as Sony’s popular Horizon games for PS4 and PS5.

As soon as I began my journey as a disgraced soldier being taken to my destination by boat, I was immediately struck by the improved visual fidelity of the PlayStation VR. My fellow crew members looked as realistic and detailed as they would in a PS5 game, and I couldn’t help but turn my head as I marveled at the lush greenery all around us—and the towering robotic beasts looming above. All of this immersive experience is made possible by PSVR 2’s improved 2000 x 2040 OLED HDR display, which is a remarkable step up from the original model’s 960 x 1080 resolution.

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Once things got messy and it was time to go into survival mode, the headset’s new Sense controllers proved impressive. Everything from hitting my boat to pulling my bow and arrow was met with its own different level of feedback that made it easy to get caught up in the action. Climbing mountains felt particularly tense and exciting, to the point where my real-life hands began to sweat as I worried about falling off a sheer cliff. Fortunately, the game’s hand and controller tracking was accurate enough that I only made a few misses (and thankfully no real-life falls).

Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a solid launch title for the new headset, offering an intuitive mix of traversal and combat — and no doubt plenty of narrative Easter eggs for serious Horizon fans. I walked the game’s treacherous paths by holding down two buttons and moving my arms (something that definitely felt like a bit of a workout), though you’ll also have the option of walking around via standard controller inputs if you don’t break a sweat. I also loved how interactive everything in the environment was, as I could pick up, play with, and throw every wooden box, piece of fruit, and random tambourine located around the wasteland.

My only real gripe was the combat — while drawing my bow and shooting arrows felt intuitive, it took me a while to get the shot right. This was especially true during a big boss fight that required me to dodge and fire on the move, though I imagine that’s something I’ll get used to after more playtime.

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The PlayStation VR 2 makes a strong first impression, pumping out immersive 4K gameplay within a design that improves on its predecessor in almost every way. Horizon Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a nice showcase for the headset, and I can’t wait to see how other titles like Resident Evil Village and Among Us VR work on it.

All that power doesn’t come cheap, though. PSVR 2 starts at $550 (there are also $600 package which includes Call of the Mountain) and requires you to own a $400 to $500 PS5 — a console that’s still not easy to find. The headset isn’t backwards compatible with PSVR 1 games, though some titles will offer free upgrades to the PSVR 2 version. And while the launch lineup looks somewhat promising (we can’t wait to play Resident Evil Village and Gran Turismo 7 in VR), it’s also consists of many games that have been available on other headsets for quite some time, such as Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge and Beat Saber.

Still, only the PlayStation VR 2’s promising performance and improved design make me want to spend more time with it. We’ll be putting it through its paces closer to launch next month, so stay tuned for our in-depth review.

#CES #experience #PlayStation

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