Two years ago, the new generation of VR glasses for home triggered a huge hype. However, they could not meet the big expectations: Too expensive, too immature and, above all, not enough attractive games. Where is the technology today? We are deeply immersed in it.
The good news: the industry has learned from teething problems. The manufacturers have adapted their hardware, the prices for VR headsets have dropped and new glasses are on the start. A lot has also happened with the software, there are more attractive titles today than two years ago: “Doom VFR” or “Fallout 4 VR” really boasted and really boosted the Christmas business with VR glasses.
Foreplay doesn’t turn on
The less good news: tangled cables. None of the glasses are working wirelessly yet, if you don’t want to trip over the cables at home, you have to put them on and take them off again and again. In addition, you spend a lot of time in the software settings: In order for the result to run optimally, a lot has to be optimized, which is quite complicated and frustrating depending on the system.
Another hurdle is the space requirement. Only the Playstation VR is designed for sitting and is frugal in this regard. But if you want to move around in the room (with the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift), you have to set up “Room Scale”, i.e. free at least 1.5 by 2 meters.
These preparations are not really a stimulating foreplay to get yourself in the VR mood. After all, you really earned the fun afterwards. Or better: Would have earned it. Because where there are only a few good vr game development there is also little fun to be earned.
That is the core problem of the current virtual world buried. Fortunately, there are exceptions. Here you are.
Car racing in VR is like a frenzy!
Cockpits are always good for a VR game because they minimize the risk of virtual reality sickness ─ at least if you don’t fly upside down in space in the cockpit, for example in «EVE: Valkyre VR».
In the car cockpit, the sense of balance is far less challenged, unless you lose your grip and fling off the track, which would also challenge the stomach area in reality.
Two full-blown racing games support VR in their latest offshoot. Firstly, “Project Cars 2”, a car racing game with the ambition of racing simulation. The makers have high demands to convey the driving experience as realistically as possible, and the VR glasses also help. “Project Cars 2” is not supported for the Playstation VR, it is said that you cannot guarantee a stable 60 FPS. For the PC version, however, the VR mode is fully available for the whole game.
The second racing game with integrated VR mode is «Gran Turismo Sport». Neither all routes nor the online mode are available there and there is only one opponent racing behind us on the racetrack. Nevertheless, racing with VR glasses is a lot of fun.
With a slight head movement you have the perfect overview in every curve, and you can feel the acceleration all over your body. Here the use of VR glasses really makes sense.
Surprise hits from the indie universe
Even in the indie game scene, the studios are busy trying out what they can do with this virtual reality. However, most VR indie titles with little content disappoint, which is also poorly implemented. We still found two titles that we liked:
Superhot is a first person shooter that delivers what it promises because this game is really super hot! Time keeps running whenever we move. This works extremely well in virtual reality and so we move in the best matrix manner before the bullet fire of our opponents.
Superhot VR costs around 25 francs and is approved for ages 12 and up and runs on Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality.
This VR shooter is like a high. Polybius comes from a game design luminary famous for very fun games. On a dark background, glowing neon lines and retro pixels whiz around our ears, there is a cow mooing, here there is a modem noise and the finest 90s retro techno à la Underworld pulsates through everything.
Polybius costs around 20 francs, is approved for ages 12 and up and runs exclusively on Playstation VR.
Well adapted is half the battle!
With virtual reality, many players want to fulfill their dream of immersing themselves in their favorite games. That is why there are already some classics in a VR version on the market. However, this also poses many new problems for the makers, which they solve better and worse.
“Doom” is a classic in the shooter genre. His makers know exactly how to ensure crazy action. The newest edition impresses with an enormous pace, besides you are always forced to fight on the front line and literally jump in the face of the monsters. The same applies to the VR version, in which you do not walk, but teleport yourself. The controls take some getting used to at first. But practice makes perfect and with a little skill you can virtually jump into the face of the zombies.
Doom VFR costs around 30 francs, is approved for ages 18 and up and runs on Playstation VR and HTC Vive.
Fallout 4 VR
Wandering through the wasteland for hours with full physical exertion is finally possible with “Fallout 4 VR”. You can choose how to get around. Either you push the controller forward, the virtual reality sickness is almost preprogrammed, or you teleport yourself from place to place. The controls are more complex than in any other game. However, if you control yourself, you will find your Pipboy on your left arm and hold a pistol in your right hand. As a Fallout fan, you can hardly ask for more.
Fallout 4 VR costs around CHF 65, is approved for ages 18 and up and runs on Playstation VR and HTC Vive.
Much remains to be done
The big problem is and remains the “crushing factor”: the stomach area begins to rebel again and again. Although you get used to virtual reality to a certain extent, this also means that the “VR wow feeling” that you still felt the first time becomes weaker and weaker.
Of course, even more has to be done with the hardware. New glasses have been announced. However, it is questionable whether they will bring the decisive breakthrough. Anyone hoping for the perfect VR feeling at home is well advised to be patient.
In the meantime, if you don’t have this strength, you can book a real “ VR wow experience ” with one of the VR providers who specialize in using VR technology outside your own four walls.