CES 2023: What it’s like to experience PlayStation VR 2

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After years of anticipation, Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 headset is just weeks away from landing in my hands PS5 friends. I had a chance to try it out at CES 2023 ahead of its launch on February 15th, and I can say that the future of virtual reality for the console looks bright.

PlayStation VR 2’s improved controls, tracking, and visual fidelity make a solid impression right out of the gate, and Horizon Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a fun and immersive launch title. But with the high price tag and no backward compatibility, is Sony’s long-awaited headphone worth it? Here’s what I think so far after a quick 20 minute demo.

project: Sony PlayStation VR 2
price: From $550
Lunch date: February 22 (Available for pre-order via Sony)
Why is it worth your attention?: The PlayStation VR 2 looks like a huge improvement over the One The best VR headset opts into PlayStation VR, offering much better performance and a simpler setup process.

Mike Andronico/CNN

Designed exclusively for the PS5, PlayStation VR 2 is a top-down improvement on the PS4-based PS4 PlayStation VR. PSVR 2 has a sleeker look that mimics the design of PlayStation 5 itself, with new Sense ball controllers that feel more comfortable than older Move controllers – while also offering the same advanced touches and detail we love on the standard PS5 DualSense controller.

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But perhaps the biggest upgrade is the PSVR 2’s internal camera sensors, which should solve many of the setup issues we had with the original model. Whereas the previous PlayStation required you to connect a PlayStation Camera to track your console’s movements (not to mention a heavy processor box that powers everything), the new headset promises a seamless plug-and-play experience with a single cable.

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The PlayStation VR 2 felt comfortable and lightweight as soon as I put it on my head, and I never wanted to adjust it during the nearly 20-minute demo. As I did some quick calibrations to get ready for my demo, I was impressed with how quickly and accurately the headset tracked my eye movements—which made it easy to navigate menus without having to move a joystick. After a few minutes of setup, it’s time to venture into the wilds of Horizon Call of The Mountain, a first-person action game set in the same post-apocalyptic sci-fi universe as Sony’s popular Horizon games on PS4 and PS5.

As soon as I began my journey as a disgraced soldier being escorted to his destination by boat, I was immediately struck by PlayStation VR’s improved visual fidelity. My teammates looked as lifelike and detailed as they would in a PS5 game, and I couldn’t help but shake my head as I marveled at the lush greenery around us – and towering robotic monsters looming overhead. This immersive experience is made possible by PSVR 2’s improved 2000 x 2040 OLED HDR display, a noticeable step up from the original model’s 960 x 1080 resolution.

Once things wind down and it’s time to move into survival mode, the headset’s new Sense controllers prove impressive. Everything from the bump of my boat to the pull of my bow and arrow was met with its own distinct level of feedback, making it easy to get immersed in the action. I got particularly nervous and excited when climbing mountains, so much so that my realistic hands started to sweat because I worried about falling off a steep slope. Fortunately, the game’s and controller’s hand tracking was accurate enough that I only made a few slips (and thankfully didn’t fall in real life).

Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a solid launch title for the new headset, offering an intuitive mix of traversal and combat – and no doubt plenty of narrative easter eggs for serious Horizon fans. I walked the game’s treacherous paths by holding down two buttons and moving my actual arm (something that definitely felt like a little exercise), though you’ll also have the option of wandering through standard console inputs if you don’t want to break a sweat. I also loved how interactive everything in the environment was, as I could pick up every wooden chest, piece of fruit, and random tambourine around the wasteland and play with it.

The only real combat game for me was the combat — while drawing my sling bow and arrows felt intuitive, it took a while for me to hit the shots accurately. This was especially true during the big boss battle that required me to dodge and shoot quickly, though I imagine it’s the kind of thing I’ll get used to after more playtime.

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PlayStation VR 2 makes a strong first impression, injecting an immersive 4K gaming experience into a design that improves on its predecessor in almost every way. Horizon Call of the Mountain is shaping up to be a masterpiece for a headset, and I’m excited to see how other titles like Resident Evil Village and In Us VR play.

However, all that power doesn’t come cheap. PSVR2 Starting at $550 (There is, too $600 package includes Call of the Mountain) and requires you to own a $400 to $500 PS5 — a console that’s still hard to come by. The headset is not backwards compatible with PSVR 1 games, although some titles will offer free upgrades to the PSVR 2 version. And while the launch lineup looks somewhat promising (we can’t wait to play Resident Evil Village and Gran Turismo 7 in VR), it is It also consists of a lot of games that have been available on other headsets for a long time, such as Star Wars: Tales from the Edge of the Galaxy and Saber Beats.

However, the PlayStation VR 2’s promising performance and improved design alone make me excited to spend more time with it. We’ll be putting it through its full pace closer to its launch next month, so stay tuned for our in-depth review.

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