Our favorite virtual reality games for PS players
These 5 thrilling new titles are atop gamers' holiday wish lists.
Move over drones, virtual reality gaming is now the must-have item for tech-centric wish lists. If you're someone who happens to have a Playstation VR headset – or need some advice on buying games for someone who does – you're going to want to take a look at the list below for some recommendations. From horror fans to those who simply want to soar, we've got you covered on what's hot this season for Sony's new immersive system.
If you've ever gazed at a bird beautifully gliding through the air and wondered what that freedom must feel like, you're going to love "Eagle Flight." The game, created by Ubisoft Montreal exclusively for virtual reality platforms, transports players into the body of an eagle flying above a post-apocalyptic Paris. While there are intense challenges to complete in and around the crumbling landmarks of the city, there's also the option to enjoy a relaxing "free flight" and glide aimlessly above the beautiful urban landscape.
Inon Zur, an Israeli-American composer who has crafted scores for more 50 video games, including the recent "Fallout 4," says how working on "Eagle Flight" opened his eyes to the power of music in virtual reality.
"Overall, it is more challenging to match with the sound effects since SFX and all that has to do with sound in the game is extremely active, variable and changing," he told TLG. "At the same time, music needs to stay in the same position as far as audio location. So you have to write musical segments that are able to co-exist with and support the level of activity of sound effects in VR, which is challenging but also very exciting."
Since its launch in October, "Eagle Flight" has enjoyed wide acclaim, with many praising its easy control scheme and immersive gameplay. "Really great game," wrote one reviewer. "The most fun so far with PSVR and the developers have done really well making it comfortable to play. Can easily spend 3-4 hours at a time. Get it now; you will love it."
'Batman: Arkham VR'
For anyone who has ever read DC Comics' Batman and imagined themselves in the boots of the Dark Knight, "Batman: Arkham VR" is the virtual experience you've been waiting for. The short, 90-minute game, created by American studio Rocksteady, puts players in control of Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) as he attempts to solve a murder mystery in downtown Gotham.
"The strengths of VR really gives you that sense that you’re in that place," Rocksteady's Dax Ginn said in an interview. "The combination of the power of the VR, and the concept of being the world’s greatest detective as Batman and using crime scene forensics to create gameplay, go together so well and the entire game has really been built around that concept."
In addition to design elements recognizable to fans of everything from Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" to Zack Snyder's "Batman v Superman," the game also features the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne and "Star Wars: Episode VIII" star Mark Hamill as the Joker.
"He talked with everybody; he told us the craziest stories from when before he was an actor," Ginn said of Hamill. "He’s such an amazing dude and so fascinating."
'Until Dawn VR'
The first virtual reality game from British developer Supermassive, "Until Dawn: Rush of Blood" offers a literal rollercoaster ride of frights and thrills for fans of the horror genre. Set in an abandoned amusement park, the game places players inside a cart racing along a track through various zombie-infested attractions.
Rush of Blood is intense," writes Melanie Emile for CGM. "One minute players are enjoying a simple shooting gallery, the next players are intently staring forward, trying to avoid smashing their face into ill-placed wooden panels. And of course there are jump scares. While I wouldn't call 'Rush of Blood' scary – players won't scream in terror – it is a treat for those who lean towards the macabre."
Unlike some of the other games on our list, "Rush of Blood" features a respectable three hours of gameplay for the main mission. With multiple side tracks to choose throughout, however, it's likely you'll be scared stiff well into the New Year.
'Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission'
Are you ready to experience what it's like to sit in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter and take on a Star Destroyer? "Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission" from U.K.-based Criterion Games transports players to a galaxy far, far, away as they attempt to take on the Empire.
"Being in a fight with a Star Destroyer is not a situation an X-wing pilot wants to find themselves in, but that’s where the player ends up," producer James Svensson told EA. "The player will have to keep their wits about them, with intense battle ensuing from every direction, to keep them and their wingmen alive as they complete a critical mission for the Rebellion."
"X-Wing VR" is just one of several virtual reality games tied to the Star Wars universe. These include "Darth Vader VR" and a mixed-reality experience from the highly secretive Magic Leap startup. Founder and CEO Rony Abovitz, the son of Israeli immigrants to the U.S., says his developers were able to build some "really crazy moments" in collaboration with Lucasfilm's ILMxLab.
“One-to-one scale ships and characters, things where you suddenly feel like you’re there," he told Wired. "I could be looking at somebody, and there’s also a ship taking off and a droid running around – like you walked onto the set, but it’s all real.”
With additional chapters in the Star Wars film franchise on the horizon, including "Star Wars: Episode VIII," the Force is truly strong with opportunities for future virtual reality experiences.
'Robinson: The Journey'
If looking for dinosaurs in the real world just isn't cutting it anymore, you're going to want to strap on the Playstation VR and immerse yourself in the world of "Robinson: The Journey." Created by the Germany-based developer Crytek, "Robinson" places gamers in the boots of a young astronaut who has crash landed on an alien planet. Lush and beautiful, the rainforest world is equal parts "Jurassic Park" and "Interstellar," with a robot companion guiding you through a world filled with threatening creatures.
“It’s a boy that crash lands on a planet inhabited with dinosaurs. You have a robot companion – HIGS – and as you move towards the end of the main storyline, HIGS will keep the narrative pushing forward,” executive producer Elijah Freeman told Upload. “It pulls you in certain directions, but you don’t have to necessarily listen to him, you can do whatever you want and the narrative will adjust to where you are. Ultimately there is an overarching story of survival, hope and exploration. Towards the end there is a big climactic event.”
"'Robinson' provides an incredible adventure that meshes the future with the past and allows players to walk among prehistoric greats in an immersive experience unlike any other on the platform," writes critic Chandler Wood.
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