EB Games Expo 2016: A tour of the PlayStation Booth
VR. Virtual Reality. Did we mention VR?
EB Games Expo kicked off yesterday at Sydney’s Olympic Park, and PlayStation invited Stu and Luke along for an early look at what gamers can expect to see and play at their booth.
Here are Luke and Stuart’s impressions of what to expect over this weekend.
Luke: Playing Driveclub in VR with a racing seat, pedals and steering wheel was a strange experience. It took about a lap before I felt comfortable and in control inside the game. My brain needed to adjust that I wasn’t actually driving a car, so when I went around a corner in Driveclub and there was no inertia my body reacted by making me think I was going to go flying out of the chair.
After the first lap, the driving was a lot of fun. I was using my vision to check my mirrors when overtaking and glancing over my shoulder when hitting corners. Overall playing Driveclub in VR gave me a better sense of my surroundings in the car which was a crazy experience on my senses. Definitely one of the games you must check out on the floor at EB Games Expo.
Stuart: I also got to experience Driveclub VR, which unfortunately gave me my first VR nausea. I don’t know if it played tricks on my brain getting “close but not close enough” to the real driving experience with a wheel, pedals and bucket seat but no sense of force or momentum, or it was just the disconnect between when I would impact other cars (and the occasional wall) and fall out of sync with the head movement of my character (who would be suffering some major whiplash) but after three laps in Driveclub I did not feel so good.
Your experience may differ of course, and it is well worth giving a shot just to see if you can handle it and if you can, enjoy a few laps around what is still a solid racing game, though it has taken a significant hit in visual presentation coming to VR. This is why demos are going to be crucial to VR uptake, and thus why it is disappointing that the Australian PSVR demo disc pack-in will feature half the content of the US version.
Luke: Sitting on a beanbag with a fan blowing in your face – for emersion, the Luge VR game has players rocketing down a curvy road at ridiculous speeds while avoiding all sorts of obstacles. As you zoom past cars the sound of air rushing by adds to the sense of how fast you’re going as you navigate the course. It has very basically controls where you tilt your head to the side you want to move in, and that’s really all there is too it. Just try not to get run over.
Resident Evil 7
Luke: Yep, Resident Evil 7 in VR is at the PlayStation booth. I didn’t play it though because I heard enough people screaming from it and I’m a big baby. So here’s a friend of ours, Joaby, giving it a try.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Luke: Horizon: Zero Dawn was playable in a small sandbox mode. This game visually looks outstanding, and the designs of the robots including how individual parts of limbs come flying off as you attack them is great. You can roam around and do what you want in this demo, but there is also a checklist of items that you can progress through if you’re the type of person that wants to have a few objectives.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Luke: Rush of Blood is a VR spin-off game from last years Until Dawn; which is amazing if you haven’t played it – and in this VR experience you’ll find yourself on something that isn’t your average rollercoaster ride. This takes place entirely on rails where you’ll shoot nasty looking monsters with your dual wielding weapons.
Along with the VR headset is a PlayStation Move controller in each hand. They track where you’re pointing in the world and allow you to shoot at multiple targets at once. Each weapon also has a torch attached to it which lights up where you’re pointing, that makes it more atmospheric and also easier for things to sneak up on you. There were some really cool things going on in Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, but I was completely amused by just waving my hands around, flicking the guns all over the place.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Luke: Coming to PlayStation 4 in a few weeks, the highly praised Rise of the Tomb Raider will have VR support and a few extra additional modes to dive into. On the floor at PlayStation, you’ll be able to check out “Lara’s Nightmare”, a zombie invasion mode where Lara uses her skills to defend Croft Manor from an attacking horde.
Stuart: A variety of the Playstation VR Worlds experiences are available on the show floor, each taking only a few minutes and acting more as introductions to VR than games proper. Ocean Descent is as entry level as it gets, a way to feel comfortable, then very uncomfortable, in the headset. You stand inside a fragile cage and descend through some beautiful underwater scenery before having a far too close encounter with a rather unpleasant shark. It looks great, putting the processing power saved by being an experience to good use, and while it is short and simple it will act as a fantastic way to show VR off to people without the need to explain controllers and gameplay mechanics.
The VR Worlds package will also include the popular London Heist experience and VR Luge, my experience with Luge was short but entertaining, there won’t be much meat on the bones of this one after the novelty wears off but again removing the need for a controller by using head tilt for movement will make this a popular introductory VR game.
Call of Duty: Jackal Assault
Stuart: Jackal Assault will come with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on PS4 and is an arcade style space combat simulator, controlled with the DualShock and assisted by head tracking to spot targets for missile lock. After some brief flying around and looking at things you get into the thick of combat, and it is a real thrill.
This was the highlight of the PSVR. Combat was basic and features some generous assists, but when you are rolling out of the way of incoming fire (something not reflected by a headset somersault, thank goodness) frantically looking around to get locks on potential pursuers while also trying to position yourself to gun down the enemy in front of you, it doesn’t matter that you might be getting a hand. Despite the constant head motion and the 360 degree nature of space I never once felt nauseous in Jackal Assault, probably due to my brain not having real world experience in zero gravity space combat. Yet.
Jackal Assault sits in that middle ground between mini game and full product, we couldn’t get any answers as to how much content will be available for it at release but even if it is just a brief score-chasing diversion it is still a very worthwhile VR experience. It provided the best mix of controller based gameplay and headset interaction I had at the show, hands down.
Tons more games… and VR
For the full list of what to expect from Sony’s booth, head here.
And it’s not just Sony doing VR — for your chance to win a VR-capable new Alienware 17 laptop, enter our contest here.