PSVR Launch Games Review Roundup: The Best And Worst For Sony's Virtual Reality Headset

psvr-demos
There will be eight game demos available for free with every PlayStation VR headset Sony

PlayStation VR is finally here, and many of its launch games have been reviewed. If you just invested several hundred dollars in a headset, here are some of the best and worst experiences according to critics.

THE GOOD

SUPERHYPERCUBE: This is essentially the PSVR answer to Tetris in that it involves completing a series of shape-matching puzzles. Players must take a variety of shapes and manipulate them through a hole as they continue to inch closer.IGN 9/10: ‘“Superhypercube’ is simple, but thankfully the comprehensible premise doesn't confuse simplicity with shallowness. As your skill improves and the challenge increases, rotating and dropping the ever-changing three-dimensional shapes gets ever more engaging. When I eventually, inevitably crashed, I was always hammering restart the moment the prompt appeared. That’s the mark of an amazing puzzle game.

'SuperHyperCube'
'SuperHyperCube' is PSVR's answer to great puzzlers like 'Tetris.' Photo: Kokoromi/Polytron

Destructoid 7/10: “I really love the use of VR here, and it showcases how puzzle games can continue to evolve using the medium. Similar to how I enjoyed peeking around corners and manually manipulating the camera to my whims with platformers like ‘Lucky's Tale,’ so too did I get a kick out of peering at incoming walls, trying to figure out what configuration (which by nature supports multiple solutions) would work.

Thumper: A rhythm game with a spooky twist that brings VR mechanics do the fundamental experience of something like Amplitude. Its soundtrack is jazzy and its nightmarish stages may be one of the best ways to use your new gear.

IGN 9/10: ‘“Thumper’s’ brutal, breakneck speed and precision-based musical action kept me entranced for all nine of its bizarre, nightmarish stages, which contained enough nuanced high score-chasing tricks to demand several replays already. To really master ‘Thumper’s’ many layers of rhythm-based mechanisms would take much more time than the 10 or so hours it takes to complete the first time – and that’s a challenge that I eagerly accept.

'Thumper'
'Thumper' is a PSVR rhythm game with a spooky and exciting twist! Photo: Drool/Facebook
Paste Magazine 10/10: “Okay, I realize this probably sounds ridiculous. But I’m not overstating how ‘Thumper’ makes me feel. And it accomplishes this even when I don’t play it in virtual reality. (Uh, yeah, it has a VR mode playable through Playstation VR, and yes, it’s tremendous, easily the best reason today to buy a VR headset.) There’s a certain class of game that gets stuck in my head, where I can’t stop seeing it and thinking about it even when I turn the machine off.

Rez Infinite: This is a triply on-rails shooter where players guide a reticle through a totally odd sensory experience with rave-worthy music. There are also bosses, power ups and open areas to manipulate space. It’s described as “Tron meets a rave.”

GameSpot 9/10: ‘“Rez Infinite’ is the game to buy a PSVR for. It's hypnotic and enveloping. And it's transformative, both within itself and in the wider scheme of the experiences made possible by VR. You don't want to sleep on Rez Infinite, because with the addition of more polished visual flair and the dreamy Area X, we have a new classic for the new generation on our hands.

'Rez Infinite'
'Rez Infinite' offers a fresh take on an old classic that's perfectly suited for PSVR. Some critics say it's the reason to buy a headset. Photo: Enhance Games
IGN 8.2/10: “In VR, using head tracking to aim is amazingly intuitive, to the point that it trumps the conventional controls in terms of speed and precision. The default VR setting abstracts things a bit for people who aren’t used to rapid movements in VR, but switch it to dynamic mode and the head tracking is as far beyond a gamepad as a mouse and keyboard is.

RIGS: Mechanized Combat League: RIGS is a first-party Sony title that intends to be the first VR eSport. This shooter, developed by Guerilla Cambridge, brings the likes of Splatoon and even Call Of Duty to places both franchises have never been.The Jimquisition 8.5/10: “The head-track aiming system works great, the combat is engrossing, and it’s a remarkably comfortable experience even after extended periods of time with the PSVR clamped on...Guerrilla most definitely gave Sony what it needed – a deserving mech battling game for its virtual reality foray, as well as a damn fine multiplayer frolic to boot.

'Rigs: Mechanized Combat League'
'Rigs: Mechanized Combat' brings zany shooter action to PSVR with full intent to eventually become a multiplayer eSport with a huge community. Photo: Guerilla Cambridge/SIE
Destructoid 8.5/10: “I was completely taken aback by how well ‘RIGS’ comes together. Although it has some issues to work out with future patches (mostly related to a content drought), as a symbol for the tech it's one of the best virtual reality joints out there, and not just for the PlayStation VR. Hell, it might be the most justified virtual reality game I've ever played.

Batman: Arkham VR: Don the mask as the caped crusader and become the Batman in this short VR title developed by Rocksteady Studios. Its gameplay isn’t super heavy, but it lets DC fans live out some of their ultimate fantasies.Digital Spy 9/10: “The only thing wrong with ‘Batman Arkham VR’ is that we want more. The story is just too short for our liking, but maybe we can NEVER get enough Batman. Thankfully there's lots of extra content to explore after the story is over...It's a fantastic slice of Batman life, with unexpected twists and turns that keep you on your toes, and clever uses of the Move Controllers and Detective Mode.”

'Batman: Arkham VR'
'Batman: Arkham VR' brings the caped crusader to virtual reality with a short but cool demo. Its gameplay is light, but its heroic implications are super awesome. Photo: Rocksteady Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive

IGN 7.2/10: “Even though the detective work in this roughly 90-minute story is mechanically exactly the same as what we’ve seen in ‘Arkham City’ and ‘Arkham Knight,’ it feels more intimate in VR. Especially when I was using the move controller to examine bodies in the morgue, running the device in my hand over them to scan for clues, it felt great – like I was getting my hands dirty.

THE BAD

PlayStation VR Worlds: This demo disc comes with every PSVR unit, but it’s not the best showcase of the technology according to critics. Its largely a compilation of brief snippets that never reach their full potential.

IGN 6/10: “‘VR Worlds’ opens the world of virtual reality with five different games. It shows the possibilities the PlayStation VR offers to gamers and the gaming industry. However most of the games are quite simple and monotone.”

'PSVR Worlds'
'PSVR Worlds' is full of cool demos, but it offers little substance to those that spent several hundred dollars on Sony's headset. Photo: SIE London
Stevivor 5/10: “The only time you may need to pull the disc back out is to show off virtual reality to friends or family. That’s it.

Harmonix Music VR: Just like the name implies, it’s a Harmonix-made rhythm game for PlayStation VR with a series of toe-tapping mini-games. Apparently even the ability to import custom MP3s doesn’t curb the boredom.

IGN 3.5/10: “Sadly, even loading an MP3 of ‘90s favorite ‘Mr. Jones’ by Counting Crows didn’t make any of these four music mini-games and passive experiences any less boring or more bearable. If my friends came over to check out my new $400 VR headset, ‘Harmonix Music VR’ is the last thing I’d want to show them.

'Harmonix Music VR'
'Harmonix Music VR' is one of the least impressive rhythm games that the PSVR has to offer at launch. Photo: Harmonix Music Systems
PlayStation Universe 3.5/10: “There’s little value and almost no substance in ‘Harmonix Music VR.’ Its drab modes and environments fail to add anything interesting to the music listening experience.

The Assembly: The reviews in this section are for PC, but the results shouldn’t be wildly different on PSVR. It’s a narrative-driven puzzle and exploration game. The story of secret experiments and intrigue sounds cool, but that’s about it.

'The Assembly'
'The Assembly' is full of potential intrigue with its cool story, but its mechanics leave something to be desired as a showpiece for PSVR. Photo: nDreams

Edge Magazine 5/10: “‘The Assembly’ is yet another example of mundane game design attempting to hid behind the novelty of VR. The mileage in this strategy is running out.Games Master UK 5/10: “It promised the elevate VR to a new level: instead, it's further weakened the case for early adoption.”

PSVR hits retailers on Oct. 13 and must be used with a PS4 console.

What do you think of these game reviews? Do the best ones make you want to try VR early? Tell us in the comments section!

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