Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: The best VR game experiences

GameCentral readers discuss their favourite VR games and sing the praises of everything from WipEout to Beat Saber.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Ishi and asked whether you’ve ever played VR on a modern console or PC and what you thought of it. Were you impressed by the technology and what did you think of the games you played?

We were a bit worried about running the topic as not everyone can afford a VR headset but the response was one of the most enthusiastic for months, with everyone seemingly highly impressed by the technology and games such as Astro Bot and Moss.


Mario Bot

I imagine GC will have a fair few letters praising the wonderfully inventive and genuinely fabulous Astro Bot and for good reason. There’s plenty of excellent VR games but by far it’s the most fun, compelling, and enjoyable of the lot. The first underwater level was simply overwhelming and probably my most memorable gaming experience ever. Even beating the realisation of a fully 3D world in Super Mario 64, which is quite a feat.

In fact, bringing our intrepid Italian plumber into the conversation is apt as I think VR would really take off if Nintendo brought out a Mario platform game which ties in with Astro and about the quality of Sony Japan’s masterpiece. Nintendo could’ve have made the exact same game as Astro and just changed characters and enemies and I feel the gaming journalists would’ve been writing endlessly about the genius of Nintendo and how they’ve set a new standard and they’d totally be right to say it and I’d happily agree.

But instead it’s called Astro Bot and to me it deserves its place amongst Mario’s epic quests. It’s hyperbolic talk I know but it reminded me of the simple reason we play games and that, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, is to have pure unadulterated fun.

Now bring on Astro Odyssey 2 and Mario Bot 2
Lord Mont du Baton


Almost there

The first time I played in VR properly it was Gran Turismo Sport and I was amazed. I sat in a Ferrari and just looked around for 10 minutes before even moving. Then I moved and was sick. Got used to it though.

I have had so many ‘wow’ moments in VR but my favourite experience hands down goes to Beat Saber. It is a simple enough game but once it gets quick on the higher difficulties I don’t think there is anything that comes close to it. The aging Move controllers do a decent job with it and the feedback you get from them is pretty satisfying. The music isn’t my thing but it fits the game perfectly so no complaints there either.

I think VR is here to stay now. The technology isn’t quite fully there yet but with a higher resolution and a replacement for the Move controllers (in PSVR’s case) I think next gen it could really come into its own.
OldMiley (PSN ID/Twitter)


Shark attack

The best VR moment for me personally was playing Astro Bot: Rescue Mission. It’s simply a joy to play from start to finish. What I want to highlight, though, is the fun you can have watching someone else play VR games, especially if they are non-gamers.

To set the scene my family had come round for New Year so we thought it would be good to let my aunt have that wow moment everyone gets the first time they try VR. My aunt doesn’t do gaming at all and she was fairly sceptical, but my mum had tried a few games in VR before so managed to convince her to give it a try.

We started off with Moss and Astro Bot and, as expected, she thought it was great. I had to do the controls but she did manage a few of the mini-games. Next we tried some of the multiplayer games from the Playroom VR (which is massively underrated) and the highlight was Monster Escape. Her attempts at smashing buildings and dodging things resulted in her flailing around like she was in a mosh pit, which isn’t bad going for someone in their seventies.

The other thing you need to know about my aunt is that she hates horror and will practically go 10 feet up in the air at jump scares. So while I did briefly consider letting her try Resident Evil 7, I’m not a complete sadist. Instead I let her try the diving cage in PlayStation VR Worlds because it’s all very pleasant until, you know, the shark turns up!

Anyway, I made sure she didn’t know what would happen and she marvelled at the fish, turtles, and jellyfish until the shark arrived, at which point she had a nervous breakdown. She began to scream and shriek to the point she made noises only audible to dogs. In a bid to get away she contorted her body to the point her virtual head was a considerable distance outside the cage.

It was so bad I thought she was going to rip the headset off at one stage. Naturally those of us watching fell about crying with laughter and she has all but refused to try VR again. So VR is definitely the future and will encourage people to try new things but it might put them off just as quickly.
andy_b720 (PSN ID)


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Real pinball

Am really impressed by Playstation VR. My favourite game is Pinball FX2 VR. The tables look and play great. I am experienced in playing pinball of 40 years ago, when the innards were not circuit boards, as I had my own 4 Queens table at home. The ball physics and beauty of the PSVR tables are brilliant and I don’t understand why this title hasn’t got better review scores.

Moss does get the most wows when friends see it for the first time. Another favourite of mine is Tetris VR, which is simply mind-blowingly amazing. Overall VR for me is a fantastic addition to the world of gaming and has huge potential.

For me the big drawback is motion sickness, which my son and I get when playing some games which we would really love to play but can’t stomach, such as WipEout (fantastic free update to VR). Another small drawback is the lack of local multiplayer games at the moment.


Short but sweet

I bought the PlayStation VR at Christmas, as there was a pretty decent price cut and deals around Black Friday and Christmas time and I got Astro Bot, Resident Evil 7, PlayStation VR Worlds, Batman: Arkham VR, and two Move controllers for a great price.

I wasn’t interested in getting one at first as I wasn’t keen on all the cables, but when I saw the great reviews and comments for Astro Bot and Moss I had to try one. Having now owned one and used one I don’t regret buying it and all the cables don’t bother me too much. The first PSVR game I played was Astro Bot and the immersion was not what I was expecting, I felt like I was sat in a 3D level of Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog and I was controlling Mario (actually Astro).

I’ve also completed Moss just recently, which was excellent visually and gameplay wise and I am hoping they make a sequel. In the past week or so I have also completed Batman: Arkham VR, which I found a bit boring to begin with but when I got further in I was enjoying it a lot more because of the story and interactions. But it is very short, which GameCentral stated in their review.

I am currently trying to get all the Trophies in Batman: Arkham VR as I enjoy the world they have created and the Trophies are not too difficult to get. I am trying to get most VR games on disc, as if they are quite short I can still trade them in. I tried to get Rez Infinite on disc but it was very expensive, but I saw it was half price on the PSN store at the moment so got that digitally.

I have not played Resident Evil 7 as I generally don’t watch horror movies or play horror games, so Resident Evil 7 in VR would be too scary for me! Even though Moss isn’t a horror game there was a bit in that, that made me jump and I definitely couldn’t play Resi 7 as the whole game is designed to give you the chills and scare you.

I am going to get some of my gaming friends to have a go and some of my non-gaming friends to have a go, as I think they will be impressed. I highly recommend PSVR, I tried the Samsung VR before the PSVR and although it impressed me at the time the PSVR is much better. I wish I could afford a powerful PC and Oculus or Vive but I am happy with the PSVR.
Andrew J.


Non-flat gaming

I have had my PlayStation VR for a year and can honestly say it has reignited my passion for games.
The first week I would get slight nausea if I played too long but I’m now able to play all my games on the most extreme settings all night without any side effects at all. There are so many great games and plenty of hidden gems to be found at bargain prices in Sony’s regular online sales.

My choice for next gen rests now rests solely on VR and I’m excited to see the advances in generations to come.

I still love flat gaming but the experience of being in the game world still blows my mind a year on. Keep up the great work GC, you really are the best.


Top five experience

My experience with VR is solely limited to my time with the PlayStation VR I purchased during the Black Friday sales last year. I’ve been really impressed with it and it has breathed new life into my PlayStation 4 (standard model). Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed playing on the PlayStation 4 but I would never place it in my top five consoles. That was until I purchased PSVR.

The whole way I see, play, think, and feel involved in a game has changed and it feels like a massive step forward in gaming at home. One title which is great without VR is Rez, however put on the VR headset and you’ll never go back to playing it on the TV.

A truly exceptional game in VR and about as close as you can get to being sucked into the world of Tron as you can possibly get. I particularly enjoyed the level 3 boss fight and how the play area panned out to give the impression of scale as you attack a fortified tower. The music and effects all contribute to the overall immersion in the game.

I’ve just managed to get hold of a pair of Move controllers but haven’t had a great deal of time to try out. However, I am really looking forward to getting Beat Saber and putting them through their paces and indeed myself!

For me that’s what PSVR has delivered this generation, the ability to be immersed into the game, Astro Bot is a great example of the future of platforming games and feeling like you are in the level as opposed to a spectator behind the screen of your TV.

Sony should be praised for their support of PSVR and I think this will extend the lifespan of the console but I also feel it is inevitable that PSVR will form a much larger part in the offering of the PlayStation 5. Sony have already laid some solid foundations along consumer and developer trust this generation which may very well give them an advantage with the PlayStation 5.

In my opinion traditional gaming and VR should allowed to run side by side in the next generation of consoles. Hopefully the consoles will be powerful enough to improve the experience further, as well as tempting the developers to embrace VR more than they do now.


Hell ride

Best experience for me was playing Thumper in VR. The game has everything from stunning visuals to a great soundtrack. I can see why call it ‘rhythm violence!’ Man do you feel it.

Let’s rush down into the depths of Hell at great speed.
SlimsyWolf82241 (gamertag)/Burkehare01 (PSN ID)


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Universal beat

I bought my PlayStation VR when there were some great deals on it a couple of Black Fridays ago. I think it was £250 with PlayStation VR Worlds and Skyrim, which was about £100 off at the time. The first thing I played on it was a claw hook game and even the simple act of being able to peer around the sides of the machine felt mesmerising.

I had a good bit of motion sickness in my first hours. I had to sit down for the shark cage experience. I didn’t give Skyrim a go until playing through the calmer demos. When I finally tried it, I had to give up after 20 minutes and have a lie down. However, the next time I managed twice as long and by the third I didn’t have any feelings of sickness at all. I’ve never had a problem since.

It’s a close call for deciding on a favourite game and WipEout VR is up there, as I spend as much time after the race listening to the music and looking around as I do racing. The game that I’ve probably had the most fun with though has been Beat Saber. Despite VR appearing to be a geeky niche genre even within gaming, this is the game that literally everyone I know who’s played it has not just enjoyed, but loved.

It’s both simple to understand yet challenging to play and non-gamers can pick it up as fast or even faster than lifelong gamers. People who wouldn’t normally dare pick up a controller because of all the weird buttons are much more approachable to putting on a helmet and picking up a couple of sticks.

It’s a very sociable experience because it’s physically demanding and therefore it’s natural to want to take a break, then pass the headset to someone else after each turn and see if you can beat each other’s scores. Watching an opponent’s/family member’s movements is a valuable way to improve your own performance too. It’s not just a fantastic advert for VR but for gaming generally.
SuoTempore (PSN ID)


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