A reader explains why he’s chosen to buy a VR headset instead of a next gen console and why he doesn’t regret it at all.
We’re now less than a month away from the start of the next generation and yet I find myself strangely unexcited by it all. I know I’m not getting the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X this year, as none of the games interest me and I long ago vowed not to buy a new console on day one again – just so I can be an unpaid QA technician for a machine that’s bound to have something wrong with it.
So instead I did the opposite and bought a revision of a piece of hardware I’d had my eye on when it first released, and which has now had time to mature into a more reliable state. That is, as you’ve presumably guessed from the title, the Oculus Quest 2.
I’ve never owned a VR headset before, and only briefly tried one, but have always been put off by the price, the inconvenience, and their short lifespan as state-of-the-art. There doesn’t seem to be much you can do about that last point, but the Oculus Quest 2 seemed cheap enough and advanced enough that I would take a punt… and I couldn’t be happier with that decision.
One of the main problems with selling VR is that it’s impossible to describe what it’s like without trying it yourself. But really, the sense of immersion is so much better than I expected, based on my brief experience of the PlayStation VR.
Oculus Quest 2 is much higher resolution and more comfortable to play, since there’s no wires and you can create quite a large space for yourself to move around in. This works amazingly well in the Vader Immortal game, which was worth the price of admission on its own for me, as it’s a Star War fan’s wet dream. You can walk around the world, wielding a lightsaber, and it feels completely real. And while the game is shallow in term of the exploration the way you use the lightsaber is amazing and feels very realistic.
Then there’s Beat Saber (I’m a Star Wars fan, you might guess) which is a fantastic rhythm action game where, again, you totally forget where you are in terms of the real and virtual world. Taking GC’s advice, I downloaded Rez Infinite as well, which is my first time with the game and it’s just incredible in the world it creates and its use of sound and movement. Thumper’s the same, just an amazing experience and I didn’t even think I was a much of a music game fan!
I’ve also started playing The Waking Dead game, which is much more involved than I expected, and closer to a real game than any of the others. I’m very happy with the purchase and look forward to getting more games as they come out and I feel I’m not spending too much. (Moss will be next, I think.)
My only regret is that there are still certain games that won’t appear on it, presumably because they require more powerful hardware. Star Wars: Squadrons and Half-Life: Alyx I particularly regret not being able to try but if I upgrade my PC, which is what I’m contemplating next, then you can apparently connect one to the Oculus Quest and use it that way, which sounds like something very much worth doing.
£300 is still a lot of money to be spending on anything in a crazy year like this, but I’m confident that I’ve already got more fun out of the Oculus Quest then I would either new console and their ragged collection of B-tier launch games (if you can even say the Xbox has any launch games).
I’d recommend it to anyone that has the cash because the feeling of playing something brand new, at the cutting edge of technology, is far more exciting than anything I expect from either of the new consoles.
By reader Gerry
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