Maybe you're ready to dive into virtual reality. Maybe you're on the fence. Either way, you're curious what Sony's PlayStation VR has to offer -- and we're happy to oblige. Here are all of Sony's day-one launch titles so far.
There's nothing quite like strapping into the holographic interface of a futuristic starfighter and blasting out into space. Eve: Valkyrie is almost all online multiplayer dogfights, so don't expert much variety -- but it's such a trip that I keep coming back. The PSVR version's graphics aren't quite as detailed though, and can get downright fuzzy in some levels. Besides, the PSVR version will let you play with friends on Oculus too. (Just be warned: it's not a game for weak stomachs.)
Corrected 10/19 to note that some later levels have much fuzzier graphics.
Be the Batman? Arkham VR is the next best thing -- a roughly hour-long adventure where you don the Batsuit (you literally put it on!) and use your utility belt's gadgets to solve a murder mystery. I won't spoil too much, but let's just say there's a surprisingly clever twist. Short, linear, but an experience you'll want to share. Plus, you can unlock large-as-life animated models of famous Batman characters, and it's one of the best-looking games on PS VR yet.
There's no describing the majesty that is Rez Infinite. 15 years ago, the original Rez was already a musical mind trip on old-school 2D TVs. Now, the Tron-like environments are all around you. It's like flying through neon code.
We've played through several levels now, and it's a must-have for at least one CNET editor.
You're on the highway to Hell, banging your head to the beat. Your steed is a silver beetle traveling at the speed of sound, on a collision course with the Devil himself. He's throwing every obstacle in your path, bending the fabric of space to stop your charge. Press buttons, to the beat, to dodge his traps and destroy him.
I just made half of that up, but it describes Thumper to a T. It's fast, furious and fantastic. You can play it without VR, too, but it's just not the same.
In a world where robots have taken all the jobs, there are no consequences for failure. That's why Job Simulator is so hilarious. Pick an office drone, auto repair worker, short-order cook or convenience store clerk, then "fulfill" an increasingly complex set of orders with clever combinations of the tools and ingredients around you. Or just grab things and throw them.
It's a little harder to grab things with the (required) PS Move controllers than on other VR platforms, though. Try the demo on the PS VR's included demo disc before you buy it.
If you buy a PlayStation VR, you must try Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. It's a truly scary horror game mixed with a pitch-perfect shooting gallery. You ride a slow-moving roller coaster that takes an unplanned turn into a haunted house, where all manner of sinister things await -- things you might only see when your gun-mounted flashlights are pointed at them. Seven solid levels, hidden secrets, advanced difficulty levels and online leaderboards give it loads of replay value. At just $20, it's a steal.
The PlayStation Move motion controllers aren't technically required, but it's not the same without them.
Immersive, frenetic and tough as nails, Battlezone isn't just a remake of the old-school arcade shooting game. There's strategy, too, as you pick your path through procedurally generated campaign maps, save up credits for more powerful weapons, and coordinate hover tank assaults with up to three friends in online co-op multiplayer. What you can't see in this picture: VR gives you awesome peripheral vision to let you pick off targets instead of getting blindsided. Definitely one of our favorites.
It's the Tetris of VR. Human Tetris, to be specific -- where you have to fit through specific cut-outs in a series of walls. Only Super HyperCube adds more blocks after you pass through each wall. It's an addictive, "just one more try" puzzler that really benefits from your depth perception in VR. We wouldn't buy a VR headset to play it, but if you have one, get this.
PlayStation VR Worlds is five games in one -- or rather, five tech demos that show what VR is capable of.
The London Heist is the cream of the crop, thanks to high production values. It's basically a short interactive gangster film where you can reach out and grab items in your immediate vicinity with the PlayStation Move controllers, including magazines you'll actually need to stuff into your pistol before blasting baddies.
It's over much too soon, but some additional shooting galleries and challenges give it some replay value.
The second PlayStation VR Worlds game, Danger Ball, is a futuristic game of Pong you play with your head. Tilt it to move the paddle, and attempt to defeat a variety of challenge AI opponents each with their own special play style (such as huge paddles, or a tornado attack).
Not a lot here, but the AI is tough enough so you won't win without practice.
The third VR Worlds title, Ocean Descent, is a hands-off experience where you're lowered deep, deep into the ocean so you can witness the majesty of undersea life in 360 degrees. It's not exactly a nature documentary, though. There are thrills, too.
You'll probably try it once, show it to your friends a couple times, and be done with it. We were bored partway through.
VR Luge sends you screaming down a mountain road, feet first. Just tilt your head to avoid losing speed by slamming into the side of the mountain or passing cars. It's not much of a thrill once you discover that losing speed is the only consequence, and there's very little variety in the game's three levels.
Scavenger's Odyssey -- the last VR Worlds title -- also isn't much of a game, but it definitely shows what VR can do, throwing you into the cockpit of a robot suit that can hop from asteroid to asteroid, as you explore a giant nebula dotted with wreckage and blast space spiders.
I don't think I'd buy PlayStation VR Worlds for any of these five experiences, but I'd definitely try them at a friend's house.
A simple, whimsical animated short film, which draws inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl." You get to look around the storybook-like environments as if you were there. You can even lean up close.
There isn't much more to see with repeat viewings, though.
See this tree? It moves to the beat -- the beat of any song you place on a USB flash drive and plug into your PlayStation. Harmonix Music VR lets you paint with sound using the (required) PlayStation Move controllers as your brush and easel. The game also has a dance party mode and a couple of super-trippy, all-around-you music visualizer experiences, but they get old pretty quick.
It's not just Jenga: this VR physics puzzler has you build 'em up, blast 'em down, align laser beams, even play a bit of 3D Tetris here and there. It starts off pretty easy, but gets progressively harder. It's just not quite clear why it needed to be a VR game.
Also, I actually found the default PlayStation 4 controller easier to use than the optional PS Move ones.
A kid-friendly adventure with plenty of heart and an amazing sense of scale, Wayward Sky puts you in the shoes of Bess, a young girl traversing a floating fortress filled with cute (and nasty) robots in search of your dad. The perspective switches between first-person and a glorious third-person view -- sometimes you'll point Bess in the right direction, other times you'll use her hands to solve puzzles. It's an extremely linear game with fairly easy, repetitive puzzles, but it's also a fantastic way to introduce yourself (or others) to VR.
...but they get rather devious. Exploding balls, chompers and a variety of other hazards (and opportunities) await.
Plus, there's a creepy narrator guiding you through the course, giving the whole experience a Portal-like vibe. "Improvement is mandatory." I've played over a dozen levels now, and it seems pretty fun.
In Bound, you literally dance through an entire game world. Critics called it "gorgeous" and "a work of art" even on flatscreen TVs, and I can attest that it's even more gorgeous in VR. Some of those same critics called the gameplay underwhelming, and it's true that it's not very deep, but it's just so visually stunning that I can't discount it.
After VR, racing games may never be the same again. Once you feel like you're actually inside the cockpit of a race car, it's tough to go back to a flat screen. I've only gotten two tastes of Driveclub VR, but it's definitely the most immersive driving game I've played yet -- even if the graphics are a little muddy inside the PSVR headset. Sony says the full game has 80 different cars and 114 tracks. That's pretty decent evidence that Driveclub VR isn't just another tech demo.
I'm sorry to say, 100ft Robot Golf isn't a very good game -- and it's worse in VR. Don't get me wrong, I love the poorly dubbed anime parody vibe of this ridiculous robot golf game, but the actual gameplay is super basic, the levels same-y, the AI braindead, and VR seems to have been a poorly implemented afterthought.
You're trapped in a room with an intricate bomb. Your real-life friends have the defusal manual. Communicate to solve the puzzles, or die trying. It's a fantastic party game that doesn't technically require VR, but it definitely makes the game feel more real. Plus, your friends can sit next to you instead of on the other side of a room. Just as fun than the original on Oculus, Gear VR and Vive, except you don't need to print out the bomb manual: everyone else can see a digital copy on the TV screen.
Here They Lie is genuinely creepy, and VR plays a huge role. You can't look away. If you do "look away," there might be something even creepier behind you. In this case, it's more of a surreal horror than a set of non-stop jump scares. Walls shift. Sinister things creep. I wanted to take off the headset and stop playing. Is that a good thing? I've only tried it in short stints three times so far, so I can't say if the game is worth it.
On paper, Rigs: Mechanized Combat League sounds amazing. You rip through enemy robot suits with machine guns and missiles, then score points by rocketing through a giant hoop in the arena like a basketball. It's the sport of the future, and it's all around you in VR.
Having tried it a few times, though, I'm not sure I have the stomach to play. You need to turn on a dime to avoid getting shot from behind, and that isn't always comfortable in VR. Plus, we've only seen a tiny portion of the game. I'll update this after I've spent some time in the league.
How much would you pay to stand on stage with a pop star? You can -- as long as you're talking about Hatsune Miku, the virtual idol who's uber-popular in Japan. Sure, she doesn't really exist, and you won't be doing much except waving a glowstick and gawking in awe (I speak from experience) but you'll only have to pay $15 for seven full songs. More details here.
Like your games stealthy? Volume has plenty of that. The original game had 100 maze-like levels filled with patrolling guards, alarms, laser tripwires and the like. Now, a free update adds VR for even more situational awareness. (Instead of having the camera pan around the level, you get to reposition and resize the game board as if it were a 3D diorama.) Plus 30 new levels, new voice acting and more. Pretty tempting for the money, but I haven't played much of it so far.