Experience gaming for the first time with a next-generation VR system in Horizon Call of the Mountain

Sony is returning to virtual reality with PSVR 2, a complete overhaul of the VR headset launched on the PlayStation in 2016.


The next-generation headset will go on sale on February 22, 2023, and pre-orders are open – big changes are ahead. First previewed at CES 2023, we were there to test it out.

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Our quick review

Not much should be gleaned from a brief test drive of the new VR system, but it’s clear that the PSVR 2 has what it takes to deliver a stellar performance. The quality of the images feels like a true next-generation experience, and PSVR 2 could play a big role in conquering new space for VR gaming.

Yes, the headset costs as much as the PS5 – and it only works with the PS5 and doesn’t support older PSVR games – but if the whole experience matches the first moments of Horizon Call of the Mountain, the game will be worth it. candle

But as with all new devices and formats, there will be huge demand for content: asking people to buy an expensive headset without a gaming line to really benefit from it would be a disaster. The company has committed to 30 games so far, with Gran Turismo (via an update) also confirmed at CES 2023.

So the ball is in the court of publishers and developers. It might be a great time for VR gaming, a time dominated by the PlayStation – but the hardware has us excited for the future of PSVR 2.

Original Sony PlayStation VR2 – 0.0/5

TO AGAINST
  • Great design
  • Easy to install
  • Eye tracking looks great
  • The controller is light and pleasant
  • Amazing Visual Performance
  • Transparency is not a high quality
  • This is expensive

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Design and manufacture

PlayStation VR2 is designed to integrate with PlayStation 5 and is exclusive to that console. Connects with a single USB-C cable.

The packaging is actually split into two parts, the headset and the Sense controllers. Starting at the helmet, it is divided into a halo-type belt that supports the face part of the pack.

This design will be familiar to you as it looks like the original version, with a well-padded adjustable strap for soft cushioning around your head. A dial on the back lets you tighten the headband for fine adjustments, while buttons on the faceplate and headband make it quick and easy to release the PSVR 2 to put it on or take it off.

Sony PlayStation VR2: First gaming session with the next-generation VR system on Horizon Call of the Mountain photo 6

Best of all, if you need to get out into the real world quickly, you can just press a button to take your face away from you.

First impressions are a comfortable, well-balanced and very aesthetic headset, while also being easy to set up and use. We also found it to be very good at cutting light leaks thanks to the padded cushion around the visor.

Headphones are provided, but they are headphones. For the purposes of this demonstration, we used Sony’s Pulse 3D headphones, which fit perfectly.

The Sense controllers have wrist straps so you don’t have to worry about dropping them or dropping them when you get too excited, but they’re light enough to prevent fatigue and have a series of buttons that fall in logical places.

Sony PlayStation VR2: First gaming session with the next-generation VR system in Horizon Call of the Mountain photo 5

The design of the VR handheld controllers goes in the same direction, but the Sense controllers are a bit smarter than the others because they also detect your finger movements – which can help with games or just let you do tricks. gestures or index fingers. Yes, you can also give the middle finger if you want.

A word about installation

We haven’t had a chance to fully configure the system, but we were able to perform some calibrations that you’ll need to get the most out of PSVR 2. These calibrations are for configuring one of the new features: Eye Tracking.

After installing the helmet, you can enter the calibration phase. You will then see how the helmet fits your head, allowing you to adjust it to make it level, for example.

Then you can calibrate the eye tracking, which simply follows a point on the screen. It takes a few minutes, but once set, you’ll be able to select in the UI by looking at the options instead of using a manually operated virtual pointer.

While the game we played – Horizon Call of the Mountain – didn’t have a noticeable addition of eye tracking, it’s clear that eye tracking will be a big part of the UI. It feels much more natural to just look at what you want to choose.

Of course, there’s no need for an external camera with the PSVR 2, so setup is easier than the original PSVR, with literally only one cable to connect to the console. It’s also really cool that once you’re in VR, you can be shown the buttons of the Sense controllers – the system can tell you which button to press, for example.

PSVR 2 performance

The biggest talking point surrounding PSVR 2 has been its next-gen features. It is well known that Sony has equipped the next-generation headphones with a pair of 2000 x 2040 pixels OLED screens that support 120 Hz and 110 degrees of vision.

Features don’t matter if they don’t give you an advantage, and Sony’s decision to use Horizon Call of Mountain as a demo is completely intentional. It’s a visually stunning game and launch title for PSVR 2, set in a familiar world familiar to players from Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West.

It’s no surprise that it’s graphically rich, but we weren’t quite ready for the visual richness of the experience. These features become important as they enhance the feeling of complete immersion in this alternate reality.

Sony PlayStation VR2: First gaming session with the next-generation VR system in Horizon Call of the Mountain photo 3

The Bell of the Mountain tackles some technically challenging elements, such as opening onto a river and dealing with moving water. But that’s not a problem because the environment you’re in has a nice transparency and a really natural feel.

Of course, you can look in any direction for a rewarding view, and the scale when you encounter the Broadhead is breathtaking, not to mention the detail that sweeps past you.

Sony PlayStation VR2: First gaming session with the next-generation VR system in Horizon Call of the Mountain photo 13

All of this is linked to haptic feedback both on the Sense controllers and on the headphones themselves. It’s surprisingly effective, and while we can’t claim to have experienced the full range of uses for haptics, we’re already impressed with how it can enhance the VR experience.

Front cameras to see

The cameras are now mounted on the front of the PSVR 2 headset, meaning you can see the real world at the touch of a button. This is a popular feature in VR headsets, so it’s a good thing that Sony offers it as well.

But if there’s a first criticism to be leveled at PSVR 2, it’s the transparency system. Press the button and you’ll get a very low quality black and white view of the world.

Sony PlayStation VR2: First gaming session with the next-generation VR system in Horizon Call of the Mountain photo 10

We’re a long way from the performance we get with mixed reality headsets. Compared to the HTC Vive XR Elite, which we also showed off at CES 2023, the PSVR 2 is nowhere near as good.

The question, of course, is how much you’ll need this feature. On the PSVR 2 it’s more of a casual or emergency feature, whereas on the Vive XR Elite it’s an essential feature, so there’s a huge gap in quality.

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to summarize

PSVR 2 is truly the next generation of VR gaming. While we’ve spent little time with any of the launch titles, it’s clear that PSVR 2 has the power to deliver an out-of-this-world experience. It’s an expensive system though, and it takes a solid game line to justify that cost.

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