A disappointment. That’s how I’d sum up PlayStation VR Worlds in a single word. It’s a collection of great ideas that could truly throw you into the magic of PlayStation VR, were it not for the feeling that they’re half-arsed attempts at what should have been full standalone games.
PlayStation VR Worlds is a collection of a few short games that, barring maybe one, all could have been much better were they not packed into an expensive collection. It’s not all bad, mind, as some of the games really are impressive to show off to friends and family, though in that respect they do feel more like demos or tasters of something more to come.
The London Heist
This one will take you around 45 minutes to an hour to get through, but that’s just the story mode. To be fair, this one is my persona highlight despite it being the biggest disappointment of the bunch, and that’s because it’s just too damn short.
The tech in play works really well and within moments of being thrust into the London gangster scene I was happily picking up a cigar, lighting it, checking my phone, reloading my gun – you get the idea, the controls work well. They weren’t completely without their problems though, as brining the PS Move wand up to face level to aim down the sights of the gun caused the tracking to have a spaz attack; bringing anything up to your face can block the tracking lights. For the majority of the time, the controls were fine and functional, and once I was slumped down on my sofa, desperately trying to duck down against the bullets spewing from the motorcycle-riding gangsters.
The game does a really good job of getting you involved in every scene, which is handy as there are only a couple of actual shootouts with the rest of the game being played out by custscenes. Although these were very well done and enjoyable, I can’t say I’d choose to sit through them in favour of shooting some bad guys.
The final credits started rolling just as I was really getting stuck into it, which is a shame, but there’s some replayability to be had with The London Heist. For one, there’s numerous challenges to complete throughout the story mode. Then there’s the shooting ranges. Now these are what will keep you going back to The London Heist. It’s purely you, your guns and a shooting gallery, though there are a few variations on the standard. There’s leaderboards and high scores to post on, too. It’s a shame, then, that the shooting ranges are the real star of The London Heist. Perhaps we’ll get a fully realised game in the future?
This one had me ready to barf within minutes. I didn’t like it the first time I tried it and I still don’t like it today, mostly because it’s just a little bit rubbish, and partly because it turned my belly on itself by being wildly inconsistent.
There are no controls needed for this one as you simply move your head from left to right to control your turning on a luge. Yeah, it’s very simple. You’ll pick up speed the longer you go without crashing, though that seemed to be nigh-on impossible with the headset never really translating my movements all that well. The tiniest of movement to the side found me crashing into barriers – and yes, I’d checked my calibration was good, and it was.
There’s not all that much to say about Luge, at least not good things. To be fair, my partner had a go of it and she seemed to enjoy it, so maybe it’s just me on this one.
This is the one that Sony had been teasing people with over the last few months. Remember all those videos of people shrieking because a shark was trying to chow them down? I remember them because I’ve recreated them myself. Yes, I panted and sweated as the great beast of the ocean ripped off the front of my cage. I even tried to kick the bastard in the face, but all I ended up doing was kicking my coffee table and making a right royal mess. Immersion, yo.
Unfortunately, once you’ve seen the handful of “levels” there’s not really much point in taking to the diving cage again. Again, it’s a bloody shame, because the technology is there and it’s working beautifully; there’s even a bit of a story being hinted to at times, a story that could potentially be something brilliant.
Danger Ball was actually surprisingly good, despite being rather limited in scope. It’s basically VR Pong, but instead of using a controller to move your paddle along the screen, you use your head. This one had the potential to be really, really bad if the tracking tech didn’t hold up, but I’m happy to say that it worked almost all of the time. There were only a couple of instances where I’d messed up a shot due to the tracking’s limitations (I’d tried to move too far), so I’m really happy with how this one plays out.
There’s a few different modes on offer with Danger Ball, though once again there’s that niggling feeling that there could have been more to it were it a standalone release. Still, I had some good fun with the game (and a sore neck after an hour of non-stop play), so I can’t really complain. There’s some nice little features in there, too, like hitting the ball into a curve by giving your head a flick when the ball comes into contact, or smashing it with force by thrusting your head forwards. It’s not going to keep you going back on a daily basis, but it’s definitely one that deserves a little love at parties.
Another brief but brilliant experience, Scavenger’s Odyssey gives us a taste of what a first-person shooter could be in PSVR. I’ll admit that the first few minutes were incredibly strange in terms of controls; instead of just having the analogue sticks handling movement and looking around, you look and aim by turning your head.
Working with three axis’ instead of the usual two that I’ve been accustomed to over the years was a real brain-f**k to begin with, but once I’d gotten to grips with it I was shooting my way to the end of the story in no time – quite literally no time as this one can be done in around 25-30 minutes.
There’s a story to be told in Scavenger’s Odyssey, though, as is the recurring theme here, there’s just not enough content to quench that thirst.
PlayStation VR Worlds could have been a great way to introduce new players to PSVR, but instead it just gives a little taste and leaves you begging for more. At its best, it feels like a small collection of nice ideas that were only halfway cooked before being thrown out to the hungry public. At its worst, it’s a glorified demo disk that you pay actual money for. Get it on the cheap and you’ll be dandy.
PlayStation VR Worlds PS4/PSVR Review
PlayStation VR Worlds had great potential, but perhaps each game would have benefited more by being a standalone release with more content than there is right now.
Some experiences stand out more than others, though not always for the right reasons. It's a collection of games that's good for showing off to friends and family a couple of times but ultimately there's no real staying power behind it.
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