There is just over a month left for the launch of PSVR 2, Sony’s virtual reality glasses, although during CES 2023 we were able to experience first hand some of the functions that these offer us. Along with this, it should be noted that we also had the opportunity to try a technical demo of Horizon Call of the Mountain, one of the star titles of the new PlayStation helmet and that will arrive with these glasses.
Under these lines we tell you our first impressions with PSVR 2, as well as leave in writing what we thought of the technical demo. Keep in mind that since it is a demo and we cannot test the glasses for a long time, this text is not an in-depth analysis of the hardware or the Guerrilla video game, but an opportunity to tell you what our experience was like when we got Sony’s virtual reality headset for the first time.
A huge step up from the original helmet
Before putting my head under the helmet, the person in charge of guiding us during the technical demo asked me a question. “Did you get a chance to try out the previous Sony headset?,” he said to himself to make sure if he had to guide me too much or not. The truth is that the first thing I remember when I was under the first PSVR was the resolution. And it is that although in general terms they gave me a good experience, the resolution of Sony’s first attempt at virtual reality on PlayStation 4 was more than improvable. While it was one of the cheapest headsets for playing the top VR titles, they were far below other proposals in this aspect.
So yeah, I’ve played with “PSVR 1” and boy is there a change here. In fact, it is the first thing that one notices, since the jump in resolution is quite noticeable. We are talking about a virtual reality helmet that reaches a resolution of 2,000 x 2,040 in each eye and a panel with a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz, not bad. In addition, the use of the OLED panel for the glasses is also quite noticeable, giving the images great contrast and color.
Although in this aspect the progress is quite palpable, it is also necessary to highlight the ergonomics and grip of the helmet. And it is that the clamping system is very comfortable and easy to modify, so this will help us to endure a little more with the helmet on. Generally I don’t usually go more than 20 minutes without complaining and it starts to bother me. With PSVR 2 I had the feeling that I could continue something else.
On the other hand, the helmet It is not exactly small or lightand we will notice this when we have it on for long sessions, so I understand that Sony has taken a lot of trouble to offer a fastening system that is as comfortable as possible.
Another element to highlight are the controls that come with the helmet. Although it is not a design to everyone’s liking, they more than fulfill their function, and manage to transfer part of the experience of a DualShock or a DualSense in our hands. The controls have a lithium battery, USB-C port and Bluetooth 5.1so we will not have to be changing batteries as is the case with the Oculus Quest 2. They also offer haptic response on the triggers and detection of our fingers.
During the test we were able to experience how well the controls work, and in addition, we also had the opportunity to check how well the vibration of the controls and the helmet worked. And it is that when we pass our hand through an obstacle in the game, the controller vibrates to imitate the sense of touch. It will also do so to alert us in some scenes and, ultimately, to offer greater immersion. The vibration of the controls is also combined with that of the helmetsomething that helps even more to achieve that feeling of being in a totally different universe.
PSVR 2 offers a precise eye tracking system that seems to be used by quite a few games.
During the session we also had the opportunity to calibrate the virtual reality helmet to have a personalized experience. Once firmly placed on the head, we go through several tests to set up eye tracking. The test takes a few seconds, and after various patterns we were able to accurately set up the eye tracking. This is essential, since the interface of the vast majority of games will make use of this system to choose the options with much more comfort. In this way, we only have to keep our eyes on the options that we want to select from the interface and we will proceed in this way.
All the hardware as a whole offers an advanced virtual reality experience that, despite its considerable size, and the fact of always needing a USB-C cable connected to the console, It has allowed us to play Horizon Call of the Mountain in a very fluid and rewarding waythe spinoff of the saga created by Guerrilla Games that promises a complete experience to enjoy the PSVR 2. Under these lines we talk about the technical demo that we were able to experience first hand.
The mountain calls you, so get ready to train your arms
Before we got hands-on with the game, we had to dig into various accessibility options to configure our experience. To do this, the game asks us if we are left-handed or right-handed, and the preferred mode of the camera, among other parameters.
Once everything was configured, we started the technical demo of Horizon Call of The Mountain. The beginning of the demo is quite revealing, since puts all the meat on the grill to offer the most immersive experience possible. We appeared right at one of the moments in the presentation trailer, that is, in a boat with two crew members who warn us of the dangers we are going to go through. Here Guerrilla also takes the opportunity to surprise us with the gigantic robots that will pass by us during the river crossing and other wild creatures.
As expected, the demo shows us many of the mechanics that we will have the opportunity to experience in the full game. Already in it we had the opportunity to interact with objects, try archery, climb, and more.
Walking in Horizon Call of the Mountain to move our character is very simple, since you just have to hold down the bottom button of the D-pad on each of the controls and swing your arms as if we were really walking. Also, to move the camera, we can do it both with the turn of our head and with the help of the joystick to automatically move the character.
Regarding the mechanics of archery, the interesting thing is that makes use of our eye tracking to direct the arrow. In this way, as long as you fix your gaze towards the objective, you will always hit the mark. We have a feeling that eye-tracking will be a technology that many games will make use of, and in Horizon Call of the Mountain it seems to be put to good use, looking forward to experiencing it first-hand in the full game.
Something that seems to get a lot of us in the Guerrilla Games title is climbing. And it is that a few minutes after starting the demo, we already had our experience of climbing the mountains that we will find during the game. This mechanic is very simple, since we will only have to press the triggers of each controller to grab onto the ledges. To know in which area to put your hands, the rocks will be painted white.
In Call of the Mountain we’ll get sick of climbing, and the landscape behind and under our feet makes for an impressive first impression.
Believe me when I tell you that you will get tired of climbing, and that’s good, since the game will make us move all the time. Your arms will feel it. In this sense, Horizon Call of the Mountain reminds us of The Climb titles, although here we will not use magnesium to climb.
During the technical demo we were able to witness first-hand the majestic landscapes that the title offers us. Although I have to say that where it is most surprising is when we are hanging from a ledge, being able to turn the head in any direction to know what we have behind and under our feet. The immersive feeling you get while climbing and interacting with the environment is truly remarkable, and it wasn’t until I finished the demo that I realized how engrossed I had become with the environment that Horizon Call of the Mountain offers us.
The demo also revealed the good work that Guerrilla has done in terms of graphics. Although in this sense we do not have the visual level of the most outstanding first parties of Sony due to hardware limitations, yes manages to offer us a convincing experience and fluid at all times.
In the absence of knowing the full experience of PSVR 2 and Horizon Call of the Mountain, what we have seen so far has been quite exciting, although it remains to be seen how Sony fits virtual reality during this new generation and whether this (big) increase in price on hardware is justified.
PSVR 2 It will hit stores on February 22.. Sony’s virtual reality headset will be exclusive to PlayStation 5.