The latest iteration of the falling-black puzzler comes and combines music, sound, vibration, and vision into something that becomes almost transcendent. It does have a late-game difficulty spike that’s worse for those that aren’t playing in VR, but this is still a masterfully presented new entry in the long-running series.
The main campaign of Tetris Effect is Journey, an engrossing series of connected boards each with its own diverse art style, music, and rule set. One might see you starting underwater as a beautiful particle-effect whale swims around you, while the next will be a desert landscape with a meandering caravan of camels that transition to a realistic-looking version of the moon complete with an astronaut tooling around in a lunar vehicle.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule to how each stage will play: some are traditional in that they start off slow and ramp up after you clear a set number of lines, while others start blisteringly fast then sow all the way down to let you regain your composure, only to suddenly speed up again without warning. This constant fluctuation in speed and difficulty at times feels at odds with the often meditative presentation of Tetris Effect’s stages.
Pros VR support for the game is astounding giving an unforgettable experience Music, backgrounds, sounds & special effects explode in perfect sync Gorgeous 4K quality of non-stop enjoyment Set in a cyberspace landscape riddled with bugs, you guide your tiny figure on a quest to awaken the mysterious being lying dormant within it.
Red Infinite, the updated remake designed for PSV, is still the same game the original Dream cast and PS2 version, albeit with a little more visual flourish. And in VR, Red Infinite allows you to dive deeper into its world in ways previously impossible.
To navigate Red, you need to only concern yourself with aiming and shooting, as you remain on rails moving at a set speed at all times. Red encourages you to chain hits together by cluttering your field of view with opponents, making picking them off one by one not an option.
Red Infinite is the game to buy for your PSV, being 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 Red Infinite, because with the addition of more polish visual flair and the dreamy Area X, we have a new classic for the new generation on our hands.
With a series of narratives so gripping and seeped in Dark Knight lore to make any fan smile, the games were close to perfect. No one who is a fan of the hero can say they enjoy being retold the same origin story over and over again from the many films that were released, but this is the first time when you are Bruce Wayne experiencing the death of his parents and growing up to become who he is destined to be.
What is a favorite in the Arkham trilogy is the way Batman moves as he is controlled in combat and stealth. The story of Arkham VR is a fun murder-mystery spinoff to experience from a real first-person perspective, even if it’s a little predictable.
Be aware that the events that occur make it completely incompatible with the established lore, so don’t go expecting to fill in any missing pieces or to learn what really happened to Batman at the end. Being Batman in Arkham VR is a great way to more intimately experience Rock steady’s universe and to search for clues in this brief mystery.
Pros Superb narrative of the original game Great use of VR during gameplay Nice take on experiencing Batman's story through your own lens The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was originally released way back in the hazy days of 2011.
There are options for sneaking, bow-aiming, and swimming, each of which adds a pretty cool control method to the game and helps increase the level of immersion. Overall, Skyrim VR’s great story, epic scale, and freedom to roam make it every bit as good as the original.
Pros All the fun of Skyrim once again Realistic mechanics are incredibly immersive Acts as more than just a VR port of the original game Drive club VR continues along the same path as its older, non- VR brother, simply dubbed Drive club, in that it aims to combine the mechanics and content of dedicated racing simulation games, with the accessible and fun gameplay of more arcade-like experiences, such as Need for Speed.
If you’re a hardcore racing fan that knows the horsepower of all of your favorite cars, along with the make and model of every vehicle in the last Gran Tourism game, then this may feel a bit shallow to you. Rather than focusing on hyper-realism, Drive club VR wants to provide enough intensity to make your palms sweat, but no so much that you’ll be spinning out and slamming into walls on every turn.
As you sit there in the driver’s seat, you can look at the mirrors on either side of the car to see your opponent creeping up. Drive club VR is one of the most impressive exclusive launch titles for PSV in terms of sheer content and fun.
It makes the core foundation of what made Drive club popular with racing game fans, adds in a few new things, and adapts it all for an immersive new medium. Visually it’s not too impressive if you look up close, but when you’re flooring it down a long straightaway, you’ll hardly notice any technicalities.
It’s an expansion of a mini-game included with the free Playroom VR app, a 3D platformer in the style of the Super Mario games where you control a little robot named Castro who is trying to find his friends and piece together the parts of his spaceship. Many levels have you peering down into the far distance or across seemingly infinite expanses of water or clouds, while the enemy bosses you encounter at the end of each of the five worlds are absolutely gigantic.
The three most common are a grappling hook, which can be used to pull down scenery or used as a tightrope; a water jet that can revive plants or cool lava; and a shrike that can be fired at whatever angle you hold the DualShock. These gadgets are extremely fun and add some interesting puzzles but activating them via the touchpad means they can be awkward to use.
Because you only ever move forward through the levels, there’s absolutely no problem with nausea and the only limiting factor is how good you are at platformers. Like the more puzzle-orientated Moss, Castro Bot proves that a game doesn’t have to be first-person to take full advantage of the hardware, and it shows that VR can mean more than just languid walking sims and tech demos dressed up as real games.
Super hot VR, however, breathes new life into bullet time by putting a fresh spin on it. Time is essentially at a standstill until you start to move, then everything speeds up and the threats become real-time, which makes for a thrilling take on a classic gaming style.
But that’s exactly what makes Super hot VR so fantastic and why the game is the most frustratingly enjoyable thing coming to the PSV to date. Super hot VR places you in a world full of angry glass men on their intent to kill you.
You can move about in the world, but you don’t really need to as you can in roughly the same spot and just dodge or wait for the enemies to come closer. There is a lot of swinging, ducking, and dodging during gameplay, so it’s worth making sure you have enough room outside of mere standing space.
Pros Clever & refreshing take on bullet-time Fantastic workout & excellent movement tracking Utterly rewarding when done well Like any good VR game, Far point makes concessions for the limitations of virtual reality.
If you’re comfortable in VR and want an extra degree of control, you can fiddle with the options and enable using an analog stick to turn left and right. There’s a deeply satisfying rhythm to handling the guns, and you see their intricate moving parts clicking and sliding as you methodically empty their chambers, tap the reload button, and physically tip the Aim Controller up and back toward your shoulder to swap back and forth between your two equipped guns.
As you fight to rescue a pair of scientists stranded on an alien world the story takes some predictable turns, mostly conveyed through cutscenes. The campaign will feel short because it is; that said, holding a plastic gun at attention for hours on ends can get tiring, so it’s not something most people can play all day.
Despite its predictable and unsatisfying story and hard-to-ignore bugs, it’s a full-fledged sci-fi shooter that feels fantastic to play with Sony’s high-quality PSV Aim Controller (and slightly awkward without it). Several smart control options and design choices cater to a variety of different types of players, and the gun play is second to none in VR.
Movement feels a bit on the light side for a tank, though it is a hover tank, and it does have a pleasing sense of momentum and inertia as you switch directions or come to a halt, which successfully conveys the sensation of actually piloting a vehicle as opposed to just moving an avatar about. From guided missile launchers to machine guns and auto-cannons, none of the many weapon types in Battle zone generate a sense of power when you fire them.
Especially in VR, where it really seems as if you’re literally sitting right beneath a 120 mm cannon as it goes off, Battlezone’s sound effects are underwhelming. There’s also very little in the way of recoil, which along with the speedy aiming, generous amounts of ammo, and sprite handling creates a distinct arcade feel that clashes with the fantasy of being in the cockpit of a war behemoth bristling with destructive heavy weaponry.
Pros Great feeling when driving a vehicle in VR Excellent co-op campaign Easy-to-learn controls Taking the tense, engaging shooting galleries of an arcade light gun game and marrying it with a clichéd but well-acted spy story, Blood & Truth overcomes a couple of technical limitations to deliver one of the best PSV games to date.
As a former soldier whose family is embroiled in the underworld crime war, Blood & Truth’s protagonist battles through a collection of shooting galleries and interactive cutscenes with a welcome amount of depth. You can break the immersion by tossing around loose clipboards and inappropriately flipping off characters, but the supporting cast is full of enough enjoyable performances.
The distinct glee of a certain villain or the slowly dawning sadness in a companion frequently strikes the player in the heart. The cast elevates a fairly predictable but well-scripted crime story that seems to know its trafficking in clichés.
The game has a story to tell, to be sure, but you can inject bits of your personality throughout, and the world design thoughtfully played too much of the VR’s curiosity. While there is no lack of scene-setting conversation, Blood & Truth’s five to six-hour campaign is full of supremely satisfying gunfights.
You’re equipped with the fairly standard VR shooter options for two convenient pistols by your belt or two larger weapons on your back, and you can reload from an ammo stash attached to your chest. Because you’re ostensibly holding realistic weaponry, the joy in experimenting with what weapons suit your style the best wins it all.
If you are a novice gamer, it is great to get a variance of both types of games to enjoy the complete experience on the PSV. A graduate from Ryerson University’s Business Management program, Philip originally planned to go into the real estate industry before making a path down into tech journalism after working with many tech-based startups in the past.
Still, he enjoys developing innovative ideas from his tech experience to be put into good use, especially when users and the public can geek out of what he has created.