Seven years after the release of the PlayStation VR 1 (PS VR 1), it is clear that Sony has not managed to democratize virtual reality headsets (VR, or VR for Virtual Reality in English) in living rooms: five million copies have been sold, which is much less than a traditional console. Certainly, the device has left us some strong memories thanks to some gems from its game library, such as Astro Bot Rescue Mission and Moss, mesmerizing demonstrations of the playful possibilities of VR, the terrifying Resident Evil VII or the dizzying puzzles of Tetris Effect: Connected. However, the experience suffered from cables that never failed to get tangled, tedious calibration and poorly adapted controllers.
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The second version of the PS VR, available since February 22, is now paired with the number 5 of the PlayStation range, the only console with which it is compatible. Without proposing a major revolution for the sector, the device, which costs 600 euros, offers a convincing technological update that completes making its predecessor obsolete.
Turn on the console, the TV, launch a game and sink into his couch. The video game on console provides an immediate pleasure that virtual reality is unable to offer: starting a game with the PS VR 2 requires preparation time.
First you need to connect a new USB-C cable (and untangle it if you are not careful). Check the charge of the two controllers. Then configure your play area to avoid demolishing a coffee table or boxing a green plant. Adjust the device to the size of our face – which is still not easy for binocards. Scan his environment to determine the playing area. And finally calibrate his game. In all, the installation routine usually takes us five to ten minutes.
Four cameras are arranged on the visor. “THE WORLD”
The process here is still less laborious than with the PS VR 1, with bulky cables and difficult to set up. With its successor, scanning the environment is done at a glance thanks to the four cameras placed on the visor. They are also quickly becoming indispensable. The press of a button allows you to show on the screen what is happening in front of you: this prevents you from having to remove the headset regularly, whether to adjust the wrist straps of the controllers or check that the cat is still on its cushion and does not intend to slip between your legs.
The improvement of the ergonomics of the helmet goes hand in hand with that of its comfort and its lightness. A series of wheels make it possible to adapt it to the shape of the skull and the spacing of the eyes of each one. Its vibrations also allow it to highlight certain game actions.
The OLED screen also proves to be above our expectations. It is bright, the colors are rich and, above all, no weft is visible, unlike older models. The sharpness is ensured by infrared cameras following each eye and ensuring that the image is the best where the user focuses his attention. The fidelity of the image finally rivals with high-end headsets offered on PC.
On the other hand, in-ear headphones tend to fall out of our ears – but maybe that’s just down to our body type. The lack of buttons to control the sound is also rather unfortunate.
The short time needed to familiarize ourselves with the VR 2 Sense controllers reminds us that we are formatted by the design of traditional controllers, inherited from the PlayStation 1. “THE WORLD”
The proposal of new controllers, the VR 2 Sense, is also an undeniable asset. The joysticks, buttons or triggers slide well under the fingers. Haptic feedback works wonders. In the game Horizon: Call of the Mountain, it is possible for us to subtly wield a bow and insert arrows into it by carrying our hand behind our back; in Kayak Mirage: VR, we feel the resistance of the water on our oars thanks to the vibrations.
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The controllers also record certain finger movements. Raising our index finger or our thumb moves that of our avatar in Horizon: Call of the Mountain. The effect is striking when we discover it. We spent long minutes watching our fingers move in VR, like a newborn who spends his day scrutinizing his hands in his crib.
The PS VR 2 catalog has about thirty titles: Moss and Moss II, Tetris Effect: Connected or Infinity … At first glance, it’s mostly about recycling since they are mostly optimized versions of existing games. The integration of a free update of a VR mode for Resident Evil Village and for Gran Turismo 7 allows you to rediscover them in a very flattering light. While waiting for the arrival of Switchback VR or the five future titles announced at the conference organized by Sony on February 23, VR enthusiasts however have only one completely new game to get their teeth into, Horizon. A stunning showcase of the capabilities of the helmet that makes us regret the absence, for the moment, of other titles of this caliber.
Read also: We tested… “Resident Evil: Village”, the ghost train that nailed us to our seat
Its purchase, however, adds to the bill, since it is sold at the same price as a classic console game, 70 euros, or can be purchased in a pack with the headset, for an additional 50 euros. The other titles, for their part, display prices ranging from about twenty euros for independents (What the Bat? or Sprawling, for example) at around fifty euros for the biggest productions (such as Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge).
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The pleasures offered are varied and the know-how much more assertive than at the release of the PS VR 1, especially because these are already existing games. A shadow on the board nevertheless persists: forgetting to take regular breaks can cause severe eye fatigue or trigger nausea, especially when you are sensitive to motion sickness. It’s a VR classic. The technique may be advancing at a great pace, but this seasickness proves to be relentless.
A lightweight helmet that knows how to be forgotten. “THE WORLD”
The opinion of Pixels :
We liked it :
- the quality of the proposed visuals ;
- the modular controllers ;
- the integrated cameras on the visor to keep an eye on its surroundings without removing the helmet.
We liked it less :
- the game catalog that makes in recycling ;
- in-ear headphones that don’t fit in place ;
- PS VR games are incompatible with this new model.
It’s more for you if :
- you are insensitive to motion sickness ;
- you have about two square meters of free space in your living room or bedroom ;
- you’ve managed to get your hands on the PS 5 (and you’re not broke).
It’s rather not for you if :
- looking at your smartphone in the car makes you nauseous ;
- wrapping your eyes with a screen oppresses you ;
- you are lazy to spend a good ten minutes of installation every time you start a game ;
- you are allergic to storage (it is advisable to avoid leaving books, laundry or a piece of pizza from the previous day lying on the floor).
The note of Pixels :
2 skinned shins on the coffee table/3 kicks to the cat.