As an early adopter of the original Play station VR, I was more than a little excited to see the Play station VR 2 at Tokyo Game Show 2022. And let me tell you, it’s a definite improvement in every way, although that doesn’t mean it isn’t without a few lingering issues.
For starters, the setup for the PSVR 2 is much more user-friendly. The automated calibration options let you automatically adjust the eye width (to make sure things don’t look too thin or thick) rather than spend hours manually tweaking and testing. It also has a quick eye-tracking setup that just asks you to look at different dots on the virtual screen in front of you.
But perhaps my favorite new addition is the headset’s external camera. Although the feed was black and white, I was able to see around me even with the headset on – something that was impossible with the previous iteration. But while it’s a welcome feature — and much better than nothing at all — it’s not quite perfect. The images on the feed don’t exactly match the dimensions of the real items and there is a slight lag between your actions in the real world and what you see on screen. It was an interesting experience to re-learn hand-eye coordination by having the booth attendant try to hand me the controllers while I ‘saw’ through the remote video feed – that is, when we were both moving at the same time.
Once in the game everything looked great. The huge improvement in resolution compared to the original PSVR was immediately noticeable – it no longer felt like looking through a screen door. (The spec sheet says the field of view has also been increased, but I have to admit I didn’t notice this at the time.) Likewise, the frame rate was buttery smooth (at least on the Resident Evil Village VR demo I was playing) and I couldn’t notice any lag between my head movements or hand movements and what I saw on the screen.
Unfortunately, the PSVR 2 shares one major problem with its predecessor. It has kind of a visual sweet spot where everything is crystal clear. However, if you jostle the PSVR2, such as when you make quick head movements during an action game, the sweet spot shifts and everything gets blurry. While I was playing I had to constantly adjust the headset to bring the sweet spot back to the center of my vision or play with my head tilted in an odd way as if I were trying to read with bifocals to get back to the sweet spot to get. It made reading text on the screen a headache.
A pair of PSVR 2 Sense controllers will be shipped with the new headset. They are a huge improvement over the aging motion controllers. As with the headset, they have no Play station camera at work and they feel just as responsive, if not better. Plus, having a thumbstick on each one makes for a much more intuitive feel – like a normal controller. The only problem I had with the Sense Controllers was the placement of the L1/R1. The buttons are used to simulate grasping and are located where your middle and ring fingers rest as you grip the main shaft of the controller. When holding in-game objects (like a gun) for long periods or in the middle of intense action, I found myself dropping what I was holding – with horrific consequences. (Although I’ll be the first to admit that this is probably an “me problem” that would go away quickly with a little practice.)
All in all, the Play station VR 2 feels like a definite improvement over the original and a worthwhile upgrade if you have the money, a Play station 5, and VR is your thing.
The Play station VR 2 is scheduled for release in early 2023.
Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blogging.