Zach Blanner: Early Impressions of PlayStation VR

Zach Blanner

It was 2014 at the Game Developers Conference when Sony announced that they too, along with oculus rift, have been working on their own virtual reality headset, called Project Morpheus at the time. Then in September of 2015 renamed to PlayStation VR. Now it’s out, having successfully made its October 13th release date. There are a lot of questions that people have been asking surrounding the headset, and with it competing against other products like oculus rift and HTC Vive how will this new addition stack up?

Many people are hesitant to buy the headset, or even confident that it will sell well. Given Sony’s past endeavors with PlayStation Move and the PSVita, they haven’t had that great of a track record when it comes to introducing new products. However, despite the past Sony has seemed to really be behind the headset. Launching with many different games and experiences like Batman Arkham VR, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, and Eve Valkyrie to name a few. Not only will there be new separate games coming out specifically for PSVR, but some big triple A games will even have ways you can use the VR headset in their games. These games include Star Wars Battlefront: Rouge One: X-wing Missions, Rise of Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 7, and even Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has a special mission that can be played in VR. Sony does indeed seem to be going all in on this new product. During an interview PlayStation Executive Jim Ryan made hints that the headset will be released and treated like a new console launch.


Besides needing a PS4 (not included), a PlayStation camera is required as well. Also some games will require PlayStation move controllers in order to play them. For the people that already have at least the camera, they can buy just the head set. The headset also comes with a demo disc for people to try some of the games coming out. Just the Headset will cost $399.99.

For the people that do not have anything besides the PS4 to use VR, there is also a bundle that comes with the PlayStation VR headset, a PlayStation camera, 2 PlayStation move controllers, the demo disc, and VR Worlds. This bundle will cost $499.99. (include list of games on demo disc) Since the announcement of PSVR there have been 2 waves of pre-orders. Both of which have completely sold out very quickly after going live. So if you are interested in buying a headset, you will need to try your luck and track one down on launch day.

Games Included on Demo Disc and Developers

Allumette (Penrose)


DriveClub VR (SIE WWS)

Eve: Valkyrie (CCP Games)

Gnog (KO_OP)

Harmonix Music VR (Harmonix Music Systems)

Headmaster (Frame Interactive)

Here They Lie (SIE WWS)

Job Simulator (Owlchemy Labs)

PlayStation VR Worlds (SIE WWS)

Resident Evil 7 biohazard — Kitchen Teaser (Capcom CO., LTD.)

Rez Infinite (Enhance Games)

Rigs Mechanized Combat League (SIE WWS)

Thumper (Drool)

Tumble VR (SIE WWS)

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (SIE WWS)

Wayward Sky (Uber Entertainment)

Within (Within)


Other Headset Comparisons

Now the price for PSVR can be quite intimidating, considering that just the headset is the same price as a brand new PS4. However, PSVR is the only VR headset that is being made across the 3 consoles, and there has been no announcement that Microsoft or Nintendo has plans for one. That being said, the only way to experience VR in video games other than PSVR is through Oculus Rift, or the HTC Vive on PC. Oculus is currently $600.00. Also the Oculus Touch controller is required, which runs at about $200. While the Vive does not require any special controller however, it is pricier at $799.99. Now let’s not forget the only way to get one of these headsets is by ordering it. So shipping and tax also has to be factored in. Then with these headsets being as high tech as they are, they also require a high end gaming PC. The price for these can vary, but generally a person will need to spend over $600 in order to even use the headset. So PSVR is definitely by far the cheaper option as far as the VR experience goes for someone starting from scratch.

My Experience

In order to promote VR, Sony partnered with Best Buys around the country to set up demos for people to try get a hands on experience with PSVR. I went to one of these demos and am going to share my experience with it. I was able to try 4 of the 5 games available for demo, Eve: Valkyrie, Battle Zone, Headmaster, and Ocean Descent.


Valkyrie is a space combat game. Once I put the headset on I was sitting in the cockpit of a futuristic spaceship. I had to turn my head in order to look around me and see what was around me. I was sitting in a hanger preparing to take off. Once I did I shot out of a long tunnel and was outer space. In order to fly the ship and operate the guns I used a regular PlayStation controller. At first I just kind of flew around and got used to the experience, but soon I heard the commander on the radio telling me that enemies had entered the area and I needed to take them down. I started the thrusters of my ship and started to fly toward them. I then engaged in an epic space battle, chasing and being chased by other ships, trying to destroy them all. After I did the demo ended, and when I took the headset off I was immediately snapped back into reality. Through playing the game I had completely forgotten all about the fact that I was sitting in the middle of a Best Buy.

After that I tried Battle Zone.

Battle Zone was very similar to Eve but I was in a battle tank rather than a spaceship. I put the headset on to find I was in the cockpit of a huge tank. I was in a loading bay when a bunch of little tutorials popped up instructing me how to move and use/switch my weapons. I used the PS4 controller in this game to move and shoot as well. Once the tutorial was done I was set on a path where I encountered other tanks. As I progressed through the game I was given different objectives like destroying other tanks/machines or protecting objectives. As I got further and further the enemies got tougher and bigger in numbers. The enemies were not just tanks, some could fly around me and others were stationary turrets. Just like in Eve I was so immersed in the game I forgot I was in a Best Buy. The headset was able to make things seem so real that there was a point when I tried to grab the Stick of the tank in order to move. After I was done with the level I was taken out of the game.


Headmaster is a game that utilizes the motion sensors in the headset. The demo that I played consisted of having soccer balls thrown at me, and I had to try and hit them in a goal using my head. At first it was pretty easy, then progressively got harder as it when on. The person who was instructing me what to do in the game was amusing, providing me with a couple laughs. This was a fun demo to try, but it wasn’t something that I really saw myself revisiting that often.

Finally, we have Ocean Descent.

Ocean Descent is really more of an experience rather than a game. I saw things from the perspective of a diver in one of those cages that people go down in oceans in. I just kind of sat there and looked at the different fish that swam by and the reef. This peaceful music was playing and it was very relaxing. I could look 360 degrees around me, and I was lowered deeper into a different section after spending a couple minutes in each area. Towards the end I was greeted by a great white shark, and when I say greeted I mean he started trying to rip the cage open. The music picks up and changes from peaceful to something more dramatic. Eventually the shark got through the cage but the experience ended before things got graphic.

The Verdict

After my experience with PSVR I am sold that it is not only going to be successful, but a big step that will change the way games are played and experienced. That being said I feel that I must stress that this will not be for everyone. Though it is launching with a pretty big launch library, I feel that the more casual gamer might not feel that they get their money’s worth just yet. I feel that in the beginning months there will mainly be small games, 30 minute to 2 hour experiences, and some triple A game compatibility. If you are someone that is ready for that, willing to have that waiting period, and still all in about PSVR then I think you will get every pennies worth. If you are still hesitant that you might not get your money’s worth, I recommend that you wait until more, and bigger games come out. Also if you are a gamer who is ballin’ on a budget and have a finite amount of money to spend on games, that money might be better spent on some of the bigger safer games coming this fall, Mafia 3, COD: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, and many more. I for one am very excited for PSVR and cannot wait to see where it takes console gaming in the coming months.

Zach Blanner is the video game columnist and reviewer for