At lordsofgaming.net we go where the games are and VR is no exception. I have over 250 hours into PS VR and Meta Quest headsets. For the past four years, I have championed PS VR here at LOGNET as a home for quality unique indie titles. This month Sony is launching a reboot of the platform with PS VR2. With that, as you would expect us to continue doing, we want to articulate what the new platform is. This will allow you to decide if PS VR2 is for you.
UPDATE: Some users are experiencing problems with the Sense Controllers out of the box. Read about it here, you may want to wait for Sony to address it before picking up PS VR2.
Sony PlayStation VR2 Head Mounted Display, Sense Controller & Charging Station
MSRP // $549.99, £529.99, AU$879.95, ¥74,980
Release Date // Feb 22nd 2023
What’s In the PS VR2 Box?
In the box, you will find a single wired HMD (Head Mounted Display). Then you have the Sense controllers, wrist straps, and a small pair of earbuds. The Senese controllers when combined have the same layout as the DualSense PS5 controller. The new controllers are the headliner here out of the box. This is a dramatic change from the PS3-era Move controllers, as they no longer require light tracking. If you are familiar with the Quest, these are very similar. The PS VR2 uses what’s called Inside-Out Tracking. This means that the controller movement is detected by the camera sensors on the headset, not by external sensors placed within the play area.
The headphones included in the box are your average Sony wired earbuds in terms of quality. They are custom designed to tuck nicely inside the PS VR2 HMD, and they come with a few different ends. Along with a very elegant touch of mounting them into the side of the HMD when you need to put it away. Although I prefer to play with larger noise-canceling headphones like the Pulse 3D headset, both support the spatial 3D audio you will need for VR immersion.
One noticeable item missing from the box is a storage case. I am a little surprised that there is no Sony case yet for PS VR2, even to purchase separately. The new $200 DualSense Edge comes with a storage case. Yet the $550 VR headset does not come with anything to safely store or display it in. This is so odd given that the lenses can be damaged over time from dust and intense direct sunlight.
That Pesky Cable
The HMD is connected to the PS5 via a single USB-C cable. Having to tether to the console has been a sticking point for some. Yet leveraging the power of the PS5 gives you a lighter more powerful headset. Plus if you have been using PS VR, this is a dramatic decrease in the hassle you have to endure in order to connect to the console. There is no camera anymore, the breakout box is gone, and all of the erroneous cables are gone.
With that, I have become content with the cable. The cable is 14 feet 7 inches long and I found it to be non-intrusive. When you do not have to face a camera for the sensors, you can sit anywhere within almost 15 feet of your PS5. My only complaint (I must mention this in case it impacts you) is that my external drive is USB-C. I had to get a USB-C external drive so that the 3 USB ports PS VR and the Pulse 3D needed were open. If you too did this for PS VR, get ready to say goodbye to that external drive. There is only one USB-C port on the PS5 and PS VR2 is going to need that while you are playing.
The Head Mounted Display
The new HMD is much better at blocking light from bleeding through and gives you better immersion. There is a small handful of quality-of-life updates that make this headset significantly better. The HMD fits on just like the first one by pressing a button in the back, then the rear dial to tighten. There is a scope button in the right front that moves the lens depth, this helps if you have glasses.
The left side has a lens adjustment dial that shifts the lenses to match the eye width on your face. This is called interpupillary distance, and there is a tutorial guide that opens when you first turn on the headset. At first, I thought this was a gimmick but then after adjusting my IPD, I realized that I could see much better. When you first set up your PS VR2 it is going to feel like you are customizing it to your head.
On the bottom of the HMD, you will find a microphone, a power button, and a function button. The function button toggles on the outward-facing cameras so that you can see what is going on around you. This can also be adjusted to become a mute button in the system settings.
The PS VR2 Display
The PS VR2 HMD touts a 2000×2040 per eye 120hz HDR OLED display. This is a display you would expect to see in a VR headset that costs twice what PS VR2 does. The OLED panel delivers superb black tones. Plus the HDR adds contrast and depth in brightness you would expect from a high-end TV. This is all in a brand new 110-degree field of view, a viewing angle that is more than 20 percent wider than the Quest 2.
Playing games on the new display is a better experience than PS VR and Quest 2 for sure. Yet the visuals in games like Moss are the same. While on the other hand Gran Turismo 7, and Resident Evil Village are highly detailed games, and both have lower-resolution textures on elements within VR gameplay.
|PlayStation VR2||PlayStation VR||Meta Quest 2|
|Platform||PlayStation 5||PlayStation 4||Built-in Meta Platform|
|Display||120hz HDR OLED||OLED 120/90hz||LCD 120/90hz|
|Resolution||2000×2040 Per Eye||960×1080 Per Eye||1832×1920 Per Eye|
|Field of View||110 Degrees||100 Degrees||90 Degrees|
|Sensors||Inside-Out Tracking Cameras||Single External Camera||Inside-Out Tracking Cameras|
|Feedback||Haptics and Adaptive Triggers||N/A||Rumble|
|GPU Power||10.3 TFLOP + Foveated Rendering||1.84 TFLOP||1.2 TFLOP|
|Audio||Tempest Engine Spatial Audio||3D Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
The PS VR2 Sense Controller
The Sense controllers are a monumental improvement over the Move Controllers. As I mentioned before they are similar to the DualSense controller as if it were broken in half. Missing is the touchpad and the directional pad. Although there is added input for finger detection along the buttons. This allows you to move each finger within gameplay.
The controllers are lighter than I imagined, they feel amazing. They are like as if the Dual Sense weighs a fraction of what it does. They take a little under two hours to charge to full, in the PS VR2 box comes one USB to USB-C cable to charge with. Each controller lasted around five hours while I played.
I feel like the Sense controller charging station is nearly a requirement. I purchased one with my headset for $50. It comes with small USB-C contact charging pads that create a seamless pickup-and-play scenario. It would be such a pain to charge and store both controllers while hanging from the console. The charging station is a nice way to mitigate cable mess while charging both controllers.
Boundaries & Play Styles
Primarily there are two ways to play PS VR2, sitting down, and standing up. With the two, there are three “Play Styles.” Room-Scale gives you the freedom to walk around a large area. While both standing stationary and sitting require only a small border around your body. PS VR2 lets you program both a default play area and a temporary play area.
Before you buy PS VR2 and PS VR2 games this is something to consider. Some games will require Room-Scale, and that is mentioned on the store page. This is going to be something you will have to consider if you are unable to create a VR space in a 6’7” x 6’7” square.
PS VR2 Haptics & Eye Tracking
Sony has added rumble haptics in the headset. When things hit you in the face or when you crash a car, you feel it in the headset. The rumble there is a nice additive and the headset still has a light feeling to it so I think the addition is welcomed and harmless. It can only be additive.
Although eye tracking is a complete game changer. I feel like the foveated rendering has yet to be realized, the eye tracking is still a fun mechanic. Some games use it to allow you to navigate through menus, while other games have used it for aiming. When Firewall Ultra launches, the team has designed a weapon wheel swap system that is supposed to allow you to change weapons faster than ever.
Buying Games & The UI
If you moved from a PS4 to a PS5, you will know exactly how to go about accessing your digital game before you get started. PS4 VR games are only playable on PS VR. These games have a PS4 indication on their title card from the home screen. PS VR2 games are playable only on PS5 and carry that indication on the home screen. So, if you own a PS VR game, you must download the PS5 version to play on PS VR2. This matters when you are buying games, and only a very small handful of games are backward compatible with free upgrades, so be careful. I have already seen people asking how to play Beat Saber after they just bought it. There has yet to be any indication that the Beat Saber PS VR2 upgrade will be free. Again, be careful, and know what you are buying.
I found navigating the PlayStation store to be just OK. I know it is the first week and it will evolve but, there is one page on the PlayStation store for PS VR2 games if you are lucky enough to find it. PlayStation really needs to have a curated storefront just for VR.
If you are familiar with PS VR, you will know hitting the PlayStation button on either controller will bring up the home menu. From there you can recalibrate, change games, and do just about anything else you can do from the normal PS5 home menu. The experience is simple, which is probably a good thing.
In all of my hours in VR, I have felt motion sickness three times. The first time was in a DriveClub VR demo, I found that game to be unplayable. The second time I got VR sick was while playing Star Wars: Squadrons with the flight sticks, going upside down in a Tie-Fighter. Finally, the third time I ever got VR sick was while playing Doom 3 VR. In the case of Doom 3 VR, I believe it was the fast movement and low-quality textures that made me feel sick.
With PS VR2, I have played between eight to ten of the “launch window” games and I have not felt VR sick once. This includes playing Gran Turismo 7 with and without a steering wheel. Although I can see why someone would feel sick while playing Gran Turismo 7. Also, for the sake of this review, I had Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village lift me up many times without getting sick.
PS VR2 is around eight times more powerful than the Quest 2 and Quest Pro. This excludes the SSD and the spatial audio chipset found in the PS5. Plus the foveated rendering is used to improve rendering optimization. When you factor it all together, PS VR2 is ten to twenty times more powerful than any non-PC VR HMD out today. Leveraging the USB-C cable opens the HMD to every bit and byte inside the PS5. I believe the compromise has paid off.
With that said, as we have seen on the console side, it’s not how much power you have, it is what you do with it that matters. Are AA and indie developers building games sophisticated enough to take advantage of the hardware? Are AAA third-party publishers willing to spend the money to make AAA VR games? Is Sony even willing to? If PS VR2 is going to have a library of Quest ports, does the hardware matter? The good news is PS VR2 has unique exclusive AAA games while the other platforms do not.
Overall if you are reading this and still do not know if you should get PS VR2, I recommend you wait. The price is a little high in my opinion and is more of a reflection of how PS5 units were sold through 2021 than it is an actual reflection of what is going on within the economy today. It is not just the $550 price tag, it is that plus tax, games, a case, and the charging station. If you are thinking $550 is borderline too much, the actual cost to get into PS VR2 is much closer to $750. That is assuming you already have a PS5 and headphones you like.