For virtual reality newcomers, we recommend PlayStation VR. The price is reasonable, it’s relatively easy to set up, and Sony has filled its PlayStation 4 library with some of the strongest VR games currently available on any platform. Many of the best PSVR games are also exclusive, or they were originally released as timed exclusives, which means that PSVR players often get the best VR games before Oculus Rift or HTC Vive owners.
Whether you’re just now buying PSVR — and it’s a good time to buy, due to the current bundles and pricing — or you’re looking for your next game, we’ve collected our favorites. This list is regularly updated, so be sure to check back for new entries.
Enhance Games brought Rez — a psychedelic rail shooter from 2002 — into virtual reality and, in doing so, created one of the medium’s first masterpieces. That would be enough for the game to earn a spot on this list, but the addition of a new level called Area X upped the game’s emotional ante by giving me additional freedom of movement and improving the original’s already strong aesthetic through the liberal use of particle physics.
Does that sound silly when put into words? Absolutely. Like many games on this list, and VR in general, it’s hard to describe the experience of being inside the swirling shapes of the new level as they pulse and constrict with the music.
Enhance Games later solidified its reputation in VR with Tetris Effect, a game that also made this list, but Rez Infinite holds its own as an expressive, often moving virtual reality experience.
Get it here: PlayStation Store
Developer Polyarc created a game that feels like a series of dioramas with Moss, a game where I’m both directly controlling and otherwise helping out a mouse named Quill.
Controlling a character in VR has been done before, obviously, but Polyarc also gives me the ability to interact directly with the in-game world to clear pathways and solve puzzles with and for Quill. I’m in charge of her movements with the analog stick while also becoming part of the world itself through the motion controls, aiding her quest as a character she can sense is there, but can’t see directly. Being an otherworldly force who can shape the environment to help a tiny, furry friend is a very specific fantasy, but I’m glad there’s finally a way to achieve it.
Polyarc creates a powerful bond between player and character with Moss, and the virtual world’s sense of physical reality is one of its biggest strengths. Like the next game in our list, Moss offers a much-needed sense of adventure and discovery to the platforming genre.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Sony’s Japan Studio team pulled off a rare trick with Astro Bot Rescue Mission: It’s not just one of the best VR games in recent memory; it’s one of the best platformers, full stop. The team saw what VR could bring to the genre and executed with confidence and precision, bringing fresh ideas to how you control characters in third-person view, how you see and experience the level as a sort of living camera, and how you become a physical object within the game world.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission isn’t just made better with VR. As with a number of the other games on this list, many of the things the game does so well wouldn’t be possible at all with a standard display.
Tetris Effect was one of the best games of 2018, and playing in VR only makes the game better. It’s one thing to see how the game’s world reacts to my strategy and to appreciate the careful choreography of sound, visuals, and interaction, but it’s quite another to step inside it to be engulfed by the experience.
Tetris Effect resets my headspace in a way that’s uncanny; it never fails to help calm the sometimes overwhelming flow of thoughts and worry that bangs around inside my mind.
Having a game that helps me feel better if I’m willing to give it 30 minutes or so is like knowing there’s an oasis that’s always available if the rest of the world gets too loud. That’s a remarkable achievement for a the latest version of a puzzle game that has been ported and adapted to just about every system since its debut in 1984.
Resident Evil 7 biohazard
Resident Evil 7 is tense on a standard screen, but playing in VR elevates the game’s horror to such an extent that I found it hard to enjoy. That’s not a knock against the game’s quality, as its place on this list proves. That’s just another way of saying that if the game’s creators wanted you to be scared in VR ... well, they succeeded.
Resident Evil 7 is the game on this list most likely to make you feel sick to your stomach, and not just due to horrific nature of the story. Everyone has different limits for what they can and can’t take in VR, but Resident Evil 7 is a bit more aggressive about what it asks of players when hearing the display, especially if you’re playing for longer sessions.
This is a wild ride if you can take the discomfort, however, and if you can handle the immediacy of the horror that comes from feeling as if you were in the game itself. It’s an amazing game on PSVR, and I never want to play it again.
While Enhance Games used VR to bring people inside its blissful mixture of music and interaction with Rez Infinite and Tetris Effect, developer Drool turned VR into a bludgeon with Thumper, a game that its developer described as “rhythm violence.”
In Thumper, I play as a sort of futuristic beetle that zooms down an infinite tunnel at ridiculous speeds while reacting to pulses of light and turning left and right in time to the game’s thudding soundtrack. It’s not gentle, it’s not comforting, and it is effective at pummeling my senses until taking off the headset begins to feel like coming up for air.
If Tetris Effect is Radiohead, Thumper is Slayer. I’m glad we have both.
Beat Saber is a rhythm game where I use virtual lightsabers to whack blocks that fly at me to the beat of the music, and even Darth Maul himself is a fan.
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Here ya go! Some of you have asked. First time on Beat Saber and couldn’t resist a bit of a boogie! My kids are the best at it in our home. @beatsaber @playstation4 @voidvr @playstation_vr #sithlife #raypark #maul #starwars #soloastarwarsstory #bigkid #daddy #playstation #playstationvr #lightsaber
Virtual reality and rhythm games mix together like peanut butter and chocolate, with both the genre and the medium working to break down your sense of place and overwhelm your senses. Beat Saber is a simple idea that is improved by its use of motion controls and the sense of being completely surrounded by the game’s world. It’s yet another strong example of VR being not just something players do, but somewhere they go.
Get it here: PlayStation Store
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