2016 will likely go down as a landmark year for gaming as virtual reality takes its first steps into the mainstream arena.
Oculus Rift and HTC had already released their own headsets this year but it's the release of the Playstation VR that caught most people's interests. Mainly because it's the Playstation release that has democratised VR by offering it at an attainable price.
Well, we say attainable but if you don't already own a PS4 then you could be paying close to €850 for the full Playstation VR experience. The VR headset on its own will set you back €400 but you'll also need the Playstation Camera (which is an extra €60) to use it. Another optional piece of equipment is the Playstation Move controllers (€80). We say optional because strictly speaking you don't need them to use the Playstation VR, but the fully immersive virtual reality experience isn't really complete without it.
While that is a nice chunk of change all in, it's actually decent value in the current virtual reality market considering the quality of the experience that the Playstation VR provides.
First thing's first, the Playstation VR has a lot of pieces and cables. It's not something you'll be able hide and tuck away under your TV with ease. Secondly, you really do need a nice bit of space to get the most out of the experience. The Playstation Camera sits on top of your TV and you'll need to stand a certain distance back in order for it to register your movements correctly.
That being said, hooking the equipment up to your PS4 is a relatively straightforward process and you should be ready to get started fifteen minutes or so after you first take it out of the box.
Whether you're an experienced gamer or a novice, the first time you put on the headset and take in your new surroundings is pretty incredible. It's advised that you plug in the earphones to get the fully immersive experience. Otherwise things can get a bit trippy and a tree can start talking to you in your girlfriend's voice.
The highlight for this reviewer (and as will probably be the case for many users) was playing Batman: Arkham VR. Let's face it, once it was announced that Arkham VR was going to be released, it piqued everyone's interest. You get to be Batman!
The finished article doesn't disappoint either, offering the same gorgeous visuals that fans will remember from Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, only they feel even better when you're actually inside the game rather than watching it on a screen. The actual game time is quite short but it's an enjoyable ride that lends itself to repeat adventures.
The first time you take off the headset can be a little bit disorientating as you readjust to the real world. However, the transition becomes a lot easier to deal with the more you play with it.
The Final Verdict
The thing that impresses most about Playstation VR is the fact that this is just the beginning for virtual reality in games consoles and this is an incredible level to start with. You really feel that the horror genre is a place where Playstation VR will excel and with Resident Evil 7 Biohazard available in January, we won't have to wait too long to find out.
The Playstation VR is going to become a must have for anyone serious about their PS4 but even novice gamers will love what it has to offer.