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Posted on Nov 22nd 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under VR, Batman


I am on record cheering with unreserved optimism for the arrival of virtual reality to the mainstream. Technology that has been teasing me for as long as I can remember seems to finally be available in a way that legitimizes VR gaming as as worthwhile venture for both gamers and developers. As a console gamer, the peripheral I was most excited for was Playstation VR, which released early in October, 2016. Though it took me longer than I anticipated to finally give it a try, I spent a few hours with it last night, and I'd love to tell you all about it!



I tried Playstation VR at a friend's house with a pretty ideal set-up (meaning the requisite eight feet of space were available for movement) but right away it was apparent that my height was creating a problem. I am 6'2" and despite some camera adjustments, the user interface bugged out a few times while I was playing. The headset is light and comfortable, though I was very aware of the dark areas in my periphery. I was never without a reminder that I was wearing "goggles."

The first game I tried was Batman: Arkham VR. I am so happy this was my first experience with the Playstation VR, because all the other titles I tried were underwhelming in comparison. Before the game even started, I found myself gawking at my surroundings on the title screen for about two minutes. I really got the sense that I was standing on top of a skyscraper. I looked up into the sky to see aircraft flying past, and down off the edge of the building to see tiny cars and people milling about far below me. When the game actually started, I went from Wayne Manor to the Batcave to Arkham Asylum and a few other locales in between. Game play consists of swinging the Move controllers to throw Batarangs or shoot a grappling hook, but the sense of movement is hampered a bit by the fact that you can't actually walk around. Batman teleports to points visible on the screen with contextual button presses. Using the tools at your disposal you, as Batman, must solve a murder that hits very close to home. Although the game is just shy of one hour long, the developers managed to cram quite a story into the experience, with a dark conclusion that was twisted in all the right ways, even though I saw it coming from a mile away.

I was also able to try a handful of demos as well as the free Call of Duty VR title Jackal Assault. I didn't feel any of these titles held a candle to the Batman game, so although I hate to gloss over the rest of my experience, I don't think they're worth my time or yours.

So, as someone who was hyped beyond belief for Playstation VR, am I going to run out and shell out nearly eight hundred U.S. dollars for a PS4 and PS VR set up? Absolutely not. I regret to report that even if the software blossoms beyond the glorified tech demo that is Batman: Arkham VR, the peripherals do not accommodate my game play habits. I enjoy spending long bouts of relaxed immersion with a game that draws me in with story and a rewarding game play loop. There is a huge degree of novelty attached to the VR experience that is predictably much like motion controls. While it is likely that experiences like Fallout 4 will eventually have VR support, I don't see myself wanting to play even a game like that for more than an hour at a time.

I may be wrong, but at this time the price tag and overall novelty of the experience have proven to be barriers to entry for me. Have you tried VR? Do you own one? Were you as excited as I was to try it?


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Comments
 
I have to agree that I've been pretty unimpressed with PlayStation VR. I had my pre-order ready for months hoping that this would be my entry into VR, since I have almost no experience with Oculus or Vive and have only tried Gear VR to this point. The more I saw of the games that were going to be available the more I became convinced that there was nothing at all that was getting me excited about it. The Batman thing seemed cool, but the only games that really impressed me was Rez and Thumper. What really put the nail in the coffin for me though was hearing all the reports of the perspective shifting. I would watch the Giant Bomb streaming and literally see the perspective shift for no apparent reason whatsoever. Driveclub was probably the worst. It was like the driving was sinking into the seat slowly over the course of the race. It was both hilarious and disappointing. I have no regret cancelling my pre-order, but I still believe in VR as a tech. I can't wait for it to mature and come into its own a bit, but for now it's just not worth the barrier to entry for me.
 
I have had a Rift for about two months now and absolutely love it. I've  had some amazing experiences already. Obviously the tech for PS4 is going to be lesser hardware, but I am glad that Sony is picking up some space in that price-point between GearVR and Rift/Vive. I genuinely hope it means more development budgets towards VR pojects in  whole.
 
I haven't tried PS VR, but did recently get to check out the Rift for a little while. While I can see some potential to VR, it's just way too expensive and gimmicky to get me to even consider it. Add on top of that the problem of such isolation, and it's a tough sell. I don't wish the tech to fail, as at some point a much improved version at a lower price point might be worth doing, but I'll let the early adopters work out the issues.
 
It is only gimmicky if you are playing the wrong things. Admittedly there is not a lot of great software yet, but it exists. Please read my writeup on House of the Dying Sun if you get a chance: noisereduxinstalled.weebly.com
 
Other than Google Cardboard, I haven't tried any VR stuff. Mostly because the only opportunities I've had to do so also seem like pink eye factories to me. That being said, I am barely not a VR owner. Barely.

The Vive is my current choice but either that or Rift is just a little more than I wanted to spend. It's not the headset itself but it would also be a new graphics card plus software. With my current graphics card just barely not good enough for Rift/Vive I'd want to upgrade to something much better if at all. And since you'd need something to play with, I'd want to get a selection of software to show to people use myself.

A good chunk of what I like playing anyways fits right in with VR, driving sims and flight/space sims. Project Cars and Elite Dangerous are two games people point to as perfect for VR, they're also two of my ideal games. Even without VR I love playing them. This seems like a big deal, to have something you like fitting in with what VR is suited for. FPS and 3rd person games just seem like they'd be hard to do right. I get that. If a person is into games that don't work as well in VR, why would they like it in VR? Of course some things might suddenly become really fun in VR that you might not think of right away, tabletop games for instance, something like Starcraft or Sim Theme Park or those grand strategy games I should really get into. Those could be really fun if suddenly it looked like a play set on a huge table.

I'm hoping that Sony can get their VR to work well and sell well. I really want VR to take off as quick as possible.

While I think I may end up waiting for whatever is announced next in the world of VR hardware, the Vive is $100 off this Friday, graphics cards are running with some pretty good deals right now, and I do already own Project Cars and Elite Dangerous.........
 
nupoile: What GPU do you have? I know the Rift has dropped its requirements recently. I have a 970 and it runs perfectly. And the 10xx series GTX cards are powerful and CHEAP compared to the 9xx cards. Just saying.

House Of The Dying Sun was incredible in VR, so I imagine that Elite would blow your mind. I haven't tried Project Cars yet in VR because I'm terrible in that game outside of VR...

You're right though about other genres. For instance Lucky's Tale was awesome in VR, and you'd never think that a 3D platformer would make sense in such a setting. I bet stuff like Cities Skylines or other such sims would be pretty awesome too.
 
noise: I have a GTX 760, overclocked. Which would be somewhere in the area of a 960 or 1050 I would guess. If I where to upgrade (when I upgrade) right now, I would convince myself I needed a 1070 or 1080. I know you can VR on less but that's just me. If we had a monitor that needed more of a GPU it would be easier to buy one but my 760 runs everything I have on max settings on my x1200 screen.
 
I've had zero interest in VR as a whole, but really appreciate you sharing your experience GrayGhost. Though I don't personally care for it, I am always interested in hearing what people's thoughts on it are.  I know we've talked about it on the podcast and I know how excited you were to try it out and possibly get one.  The price point and early issues (which in fairness are there for most every system/electronic device) make it come off as gimmicky. I know some people think this is going to be the next big thing and that it's here to stay, but all signs point to fad. I predict it will take the same path as the Pogoball. Cheesy
 
I don't think it's "the next big thing," but I do think it's here to stay.
 
I haven't tried VR, and honestly, I have no interest in it.  That said, like singlebanana, I appreciate your perspective, both because it's one I wouldn't have taken the time to obtain for myself, but also because it sort of validates my ideads of VR as the technology stands now.  Another 3-5 years, and maybe things will have come along in both technology and game development to make it inexpensive enough to take the plunge, but right now it's just not in the cards.  I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us!
 
Your last paragraph sounds a lot like my comments from our E3 discussion a while back.  I know you were excited about VR, so I'm glad you finally got to try it out.  While I don't have much interest in VR myself, I'm still curious to at least try it once to see what it's like. 

Although you seem to be disappointed by it from your initial impressions, is VR still something you have high hopes for and possibly something you might invest in as prices come down and more software is released?
 
to you guys who say that you have no interest in the tech, I'd just like to let you know that I felt the same exact way... until I tried it. I'm not saying that it's for everyone. But you might be surprised. VR to me is something that (like or not) you need to actually experience to know how you feel about it. GrayGhost's post actually seems to be saying the same thing, even if his experience was ultimately different than my own. You can describe the experience to someone, but they really won't understand what it's like unless they've tried it for themselves.
 
For me, gaming is sitting in a chair or on a couch with a controller or handheld.  I don't care to slap an overpriced gadget on my face and completely escape from my family/friends.  Sorry, it's just a personal preference and I'm sure I'm not alone in this sentiment. I'm not an elitist or care that others find this fascinating and want to throw money at it. My resistance is basically the same reason I've never seen Titanic.  Lots of people have and probably think it's great, but I know I won't care for it and it will be a waste of a few hours of my precious life.  Still no interest, but nice try.
 
I'm not really "trying" haha. At the end of the day it doesn't ruin my experience if you're not willing to give something a try. I just think it's a bit dismissive. And I mean "overpriced gadget" doesn't help. As expensive as it was, I don't regret my purchase one bit. All I'm saying is that you really DON'T know if you'll like it or not unless you try it. You can think you won't (like I did) and change your mind; or you can think you will (like GrayGhost) and change your mind. Who knows.

Also you're not coming off Elitist... just "get off my lawn"-ist. Wink
 
@noiseredux: Also you're not coming off Elitist... just "get off my lawn"-ist.

Oh yeah, I'm totally this. ha ha.........whippersnappers


 
Personally, I'm more for AR and mixed-mode than VR due to the isolation aspects of VR.

I'm certainly excited for the tech and the direction it's heading, and the unique experiences it can offer, but it's unlikely that I'd get anything more than 30 minutes trying to immerse myself in the experience by myself. Without being able to spend a significant amount of time immersing myself in the environment, I feel I wouldn't enjoy it.

That being said, I haven't experienced it and would love the opportunity to see if my opinion changed.
 
Wow I had no idea this topic would get so much buzz! Thanks for chiming in everyone!

@Disposed Hero: I think as the price comes down and more games come out, I will be more than happy to revisit the possibility of owning a VR rig. I certainly changed from "take my money!" to eh, I can wait. Having said that, I asked my friend if I could come over again soon to play through Batman again. Wink
 
Bought my PSVR on the launch day. I have spent maybe 2 hours total with it. I think its cool, but definitely not worth the launch day price. I imagine I might revisit, shorty after RE7 comes out.

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