Virry VR isn’t a traditional game – let’s get that out in the open before we go any further. In fact, let’s not call Virry VR a game at all. Except for a few animal kingdom-based multiple choice quizzes, there’s nothing resembling a game here. But don’t write it off just yet, especially if you’re an animal lover – of the good kind, mind, not the kind that gets off on those dodgy Dutch animal shows. Yuck.
Virry VR is an experience first and foremost. And for many of us, it could be the only way we’d reasonably be able to get up close to some of the world’s most interesting – and tragically endangered – animals. It’s great to have this option where you can sit in the safety of your home and have a gander at exotic animals. Try doing this in the real world and you’ll be getting very close with the earthworms as they munch on whatever the lions didn’t fancy. See, VR is saving people’s lives. Great stuff.
Now, immersion. This is the key factor when it comes to presenting any VR experience – true game or otherwise. If the immersion breaks you’re suddenly sat in your living room pantless with a silly hunk of plastic on your head. If it maintains the illusion, you’re sitting in the great plains of Africa watching an elephant dump 10 gallons of warm urine. No, really, check the video below.
How fun was that?!I know it’s childish and I should know better than that. I’m representing Pure PlayStation and all of its employees with my reviews and – ah, sod it, here’s one of a leopard giving you a cheeky flash of his bumhole.
Alright. I’ve had my fun now. Enough of the smut…
What you get with Virry VR is a virtual safari. You get a set of locations that you can nip to within your PSVR headset. You’re able to observe the wonder of nature – stinky bumholes and all. It’s a neat experience, but that’s it. It’s just an experience. It’s not something that’s begging to be played over and over again. It’s a one-and-done kind of deal. Would you watch a clip of a hyena over and over again? Unless it was dancing to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, I’m guessing the answer is probably ‘no’. And that’s perfectly fine.
There is something to keep you coming back, and that’s the live cameras that are left rolling. You’re able to tune in at any time and, well, just, like… watch. But it comes with a catch, too, as your viewing time will cost you real money. Your first 15 minutes is free but once you’ve used your allotted time, you’ll have to pay the fee to continue watching. Fair enough, I suppose. It can’t be cheap to keep those cameras running, as well as all of the costs involved in getting everything set up for streaming and what not. However, I should point out that it’s not nearly as impressive as the pre-recorded segments that make up the majority of this experience. With the live cameras you’re leaving a lot down to Lady Luck. Just like the peep shows in Amsterdam, you can be coming to the best part of the show, only to be told you’ve run out of time and need to pay up if you want to see more. Bugger.
The good news is that your viewing time doesn’t have to be used all at once. You can make that first 15 minutes last longer by only watching a couple of minutes, and it’s the same when you actually buy viewing time, too. You don’t have to use it all at once so you can spread it about if you like rather than blowing your load in one sitting. Insert your own Amsterdam joke here.
While that all sounds pretty good, there are some caveats. For one the presentation isn’t quite up to par, and that’s even more so when you go into the live-streaming. On a technical level, this isn’t the best showing for VR. Instead of being a 3D video that you can move your head around and get a better look, it’s a 360 degree video that only allows you to move your head to look around. There’s no depth to it. You can’t lean in for a closer look to see if that elephant’s pee was cloudy. You can’t peer in closer to the leopard’s bumhole to inspect the could-be-haemerroids situation. But I guess this is to be expected? It’s real life, not a game, and there are limitations as to what can be done. Speaking of which…
It’s blurry. It’s not unwatchable by any means, but don’t go expecting crystal clear clarity. This isn’t really a fault of the developers behind the experience, but more an inherent problem with the PSVR using just one single 1920×1080 panel between two eyes. It’s easy enough to lambast developers for this, but we need to remember that there are tricks games can do that videos cant. Games can make the best of it by using fancy effects and, in some cases on PS4 Pro, supersampling to compensate for the PSVR’s low resolution. We’ve got none of that here. Because real life, yo, and real life sucks.
I’m gonna go out and say that I actually really enjoyed the time I spent with Virry VR. There were some proper laugh-out-loud moments to be had, as well as some scary facts about the creatures I was pouring over for my own entertainment. It’s a little sad, really, that within our lifetime, this may actually be the only way we’ll ever be able to see these amazing animals up close. Don’t kill animals. Don’t be a knob.
Virry VR PS4/PSVR Review
Virry VR is an interesting experiment. As interesting and entertaining as it may be, I can't see many buying into it with extra viewing time. It's good enough for a few quid and a bit of a lark, but the technology just isn't there yet for us to escape to Africa for a chill out with the lions.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.