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Sony PlayStation VR 2 Review

Sony PlayStation VR 2 Review
02 April 2023

    Virtual reality headsets are cutting-edge, but still not the most common technology. The main engine of the industry so far is Meta, which promotes the concept of meta universes. However, VR games are no less promising way of development. PlayStation VR 2 is Sony's new headset which was developed specifically for the PS5 game console. In Belarus, at the time of publication of the material, the helmet is offered from €770 – I share its pros and cons.

    Official deliveries and guarantees of the VR headset are out of the question yet, now it will be possible to find it in Minsk (and other cities of the country) only in online stores. Will you have to pay? Yes. In Germany, France, and other neighboring countries, PS VR 2 is asking for €600.

    However, sales began only a few weeks ago – it is likely that after a while the Belarusian cost of the headset will drop slightly. And one more thing: with PS VR 2, I managed to spend a little less than a day and a half – I'm not yet drawn to a full-fledged test, so I unintentionally cannot mention some details. However, to make the first (and deep enough) impression nevertheless turned out. More details below.

    Just one wire!

    Earlier, you had to use many wires – they were connected to a special communicator (black box), to which the prefix had already been connected. In addition, the owner of the helmet had to buy a camera for additional money, through which the user was determined in space. In short, calling the process “intuitive” is difficult. Sony PlayStation VR 2Features:

    • USB-C. Among the main advantages of PS VR 2 is the rejection of all this abundance of additional accessories in favor of a single cable (USB-C), connecting to the PS5 from the front of the case. For seven years, the manufacturer's engineers have managed to fit all the necessary sensors into the body of the headset itself: a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, an IR proximity sensor, and four cameras. Other devices, except for the console, are not needed for the helmet to work.
    • PS5. But it's important to understand: PS VR 2 can only work with PS5 – neither with previous generations of Sony consoles, nor, more importantly, with a PC, the headset simply won't start. The latter is a little frustrating because the manufacturer's game pads, albeit with some restrictions, are allowed to play on a PC. However, the use of just one wire is impressive in comparison with the first PS VR (2016) – current and compatible VR headsets work similarly with computers.
    • Meta Quest 2. In addition, since the release of the first iteration of PS VR, completely independent solutions with built-in hardware have appeared (for example, Meta Quest 2), requiring no wires. But comparing them with PS VR 2 is not entirely correct, especially considering the power of PS5: portable solutions of the same level of performance (and graphics, respectively) cannot show, and such helmets as PS VR 2 cannot yet provide the necessary connection speed over “wireless”, to achieve the current image quality.

    The helmet is light enough

    There are no special questions about the headset itself, which is completely plastic. It weighs 560 grams and is designed in such a way as not to spoil the hairstyle. On the one hand, the helmet is fixed on the back of the head, and in front covers only the forehead – the crown remains unaffected. For some, this may be important. Vacuum headphones are connected from below (they are included, they sound tolerably – if you wish, you can connect your own). Sony PlayStation VR 2Dimensions:

    • Latch. The sliding “latch” attached to the back of the head is extended (within a fairly wide range, obviously enough for any head) by pressing a large round white key. Its rim adjusts the degree of clamping of the headset on the head through clockwise turns.
    • Focal length. Be smart about this: if you don't push it too far, the front of the headset (with screens and lenses) may not fit snug enough against your face and nose or slide off a little while playing. From – of this, when viewing any content, there is a feeling that the picture begins to blur on the sides (more below). And vice versa: if the grip is too tight, the lenses begin to fit close to the eyes – eyelashes, of course, are unlikely to touch them, but there is no need to talk about comfortable wearing. And it also becomes more difficult to adjust the focal length (for this, a special twist key is provided on the helmet).
    • Comfort. But once again – in general, there are no difficulties with wearing PS VR 2 on your head: the device is not so heavy that you get tired of it even after 40–60 minutes of gameplay. From the pros – the absence of a visible strip of light when looking down in a helmet (the first generation of PS VR suffered from this). Thank you for the improved “accordion” that separates the eye sockets from the nose area. And one more thing: in our office, several people who constantly use glasses tried to wear a helmet – a similar format is also possible, just clamping the PS VR 2 on the back of your head is not so tight.
    • Disadvantage. The only drawback is that the forehead (in my case, even the eyelids) sweated quite a lot in the headset. Of course, this largely depends on the degree of user activity (sitting, standing, or moving), but it was not possible to completely avoid sweating – half an hour later I wanted to take off the helmet, just to get some air.

    Resistant trigger controllers

    Another innovation of PS VR 2, or rather its bundle, is the presence of two wireless controllers, similar in shape to those of competing VR helmets. Again, compared to the original PS VR, it's still progressing. The seven-year-old gadget did not have dedicated controllers at all – they were played by the PlayStation Move, which was also offered to be bought separately.

    Sony PlayStation VR 2 Controllers:

    • USB-C. How do the new controllers work with PS VR 2? Each is charged separately, via USB-C – the energy is enough for about four to five hours of continuous use. Considering the average gaming session of half an hour – forty minutes (after this period you want to take a breather) is normal, although not a record. It's a little frustrating that the controllers need to be charged separately from each other, with two different power adapters. There is a solution in the face of a special charging stand from Sony itself, but the company offers it for extra money.
    • L1/L2 and R1/R2. Each controller includes two function keys (cross + zero or square + triangle), one stick, and L1/L2 and R1/R2. In addition, through the controllers, as well as through the familiar DualSense, you can exit to the main menu or start recording gameplay.
    • DualSense. But, more importantly, PS VR 2 controllers are equipped with a similar DualSense system with “resistive” triggers. When shooting in games (I tried both bows and firearms), this gives a tangible effect of presence. It's even bigger than regular games like Call of Duty because in VR mode you have to constantly simulate the movement of reloading weapons. In general, the immersion effect is good.
    • Intellect. Interesting stuff: controllers can determine how many fingers the user is holding them with. In those few games which I tried, it had no gameplay value. But I admit that it's up to future projects.
    • Unaccustomed. From the subjective: out of habit, it is quite difficult to determine which controller is left and which is right, especially when you are already wearing a helmet. I was confused and could not figure out exactly how to take it in the palm of my hand, and when I lifted the helmet, it turned out: the left controller was in the right hand. But almost certainly, after some time, this effect will disappear by itself.

    The screen is the advantage of the device

    Comparing the display of the updated helmet with the screen of the first generation is meaningless. The difference is too obvious: PS VR 2 uses an OLED panel with a frequency of 90-120 Hz and a resolution of 2000×2040 pixels per eye, while the first PS VR has 960×1080 pixels per eye. PS VR 2Display:

    The viewing angle has also become wider – 110 degrees versus 100. The feeling of immersion in the virtual space due to this, if not full, then very close to it. Simply put, when you move your head while wearing the headset, there are practically no blind black areas on the sides – virtual objects actually feel and look like they can be reached manually. Tactile feedback is provided by vibration controllers – everything works well together. For comparison: a colleague found a headset from Meta, Quest 2. 

    It has an LCD panel with a frequency of 90 Hz (resolution – 1832 × 1920 pixels for each eye). PS VR 2 Advantage – in more saturated colors, this is created by the OLED matrix (black is actually black, the contrast is deepened) and the wider viewing angle mentioned – the latter is the most obvious.

    Meta Quest 2

    But it is important to understand that a crystal clear image, similar to that when watching UHD videos on a 4K TV while in PS VR 2, you should not expect. Individual pixels, or rather a pixel grid, are quite noticeable. I won’t say that this is very annoying, especially in active games like Horizon: Call Of The Mountain – usually you just don’t pay attention to the grid. But it would be wrong not to mention it at all. For a better understanding, we can draw an analogy between native 4K content played on a screen of the same resolution and 1080p videos that are upscaled to 4K (on the same display).

    The values ​​are close, but still not identical. Nevertheless, the PS VR 2 screen is its main advantage, even considering all the shortcomings. Competitor helmets for PC have similar parameters, but at the same time they are offered for several hundred dollars more.

    My Feelings

    Setting up PS VR 2 takes a few minutes – when you connect the helmet to the set-top box. It downloads a small software update and immediately offers to scan the room (preferably not too lit), set up control through the look (mini-cameras are installed, not only outside. But also inside eye movement allows you to interact with the system and game elements), as well as select the mode of use: sitting, standing or walking. Sony PlayStation VR 2Experience:

    • Difficulties can arise only with the latter – for this you need a free space of two by two meters. In my living room, considering the furniture, there was not so much space, so at home I played only in the “standing” mode. In an office with free space, things are much better – there, the necessary area for “walking” was scanned without problems.
    • Subjectively: walking mode, albeit in a limited space, is the most advantageous. In this case, the vestibular apparatus works properly, does not cause a gag reflex for a long time. The brain really believes that we are in a very real, not a virtual world.
    • Keep this in mind when playing in the “sitting” mode – in this case, the vestibular apparatus is the most difficult to deceive, especially when in “Call of the Mountains” you have to climb various ledges while shooting from a bow. The body understands that in reality the body is motionless and is located in one place, but the incoming visual information does not correspond to this – dissonance arises.
    • Of the innovations – the vibration of the helmet itself. It acts by analogy with how it is implemented in both controllers – in the places of the game defined by the developers (for example, when the enemy jumps out at the user). The helmet from the side of the forehead begins to shake a little, and the degree of shaking is regulated in the settings. The function is interesting, adds impressiveness. But to check how tired (or not tired) the function is with longer use, it has not yet worked out.

    No backward compatibility

    More than 30 projects have been announced for the VR helmet, both from third-party developers and internal studios of the company. The PS Store has a dedicated tab that gathers VR games into a single directory. Horizon - Call Of The MountainCompatibility:

    • Horizon: Call Of The Mountain. Most of my time was spent on the exclusive “Horizon: Call Of The Mountain”, as well as the demo version of Resident Evil: Village. The overall impression is that the PS5 is now powerful enough to reach the level of 6-8-year-old graphics in VR mode in regular games that are not oriented to volumetric space. Why is that? VR requires increased hardware performance, especially when you need to work at high frame rates (at least 90 fps). Otherwise, not only playing, but simply interacting with virtual objects will become physically uncomfortable.
    • Half-Life: Alyx. One of the claims of the authors of gaming publications to PS VR 2 is a rather meager starting line of games, despite the declared work on a couple of dozen titles. And it's hard to argue with this – in addition to the projects already mentioned above, only the redesigned Gran Turismo 7 stands out, in which you can control cars directly from the cockpit. There is no innovative Half-Life: Alyx or the popular Beat Saber (in which the player controls two lightsabers) in the asset.
    • VR. But most of the questions arise due to the lack of backward compatibility technology with VR games from the first generation of PS VR. Sony chose this strategy purposely, or at the time of the release of PS VR 2 they simply did not have time to add it, it is not clear.
    • Price. Considering the cost of the PS5 itself (especially in the Digital version), the PlayStation VR 2 may seem like a rather expensive device, the reasonableness of buying which in such a case is called into question. At the same time, the price of a gaming PC with a graphics card powerful enough for VR and a compatible headset is clearly no less (and most likely more).


    PS VR 2 has taken a giant leap forward from the company's original helmet, simplifying all important aspects – from connecting to the console with just one wire to a much better and clearer OLED display. I also want to praise controllers with vibrations of various strengths, the power of the PS5, albeit without a sure margin, is enough for at least branded titles to cause a wow effect. Among the shortcomings – relatively meager (at the time of publication of the review) library of games without projects that make you think about buying a helmet right now, and the impossibility of working with a PC.
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