With the impending release of Sony’s PSVR 2 headset, there are sure to be plenty of people out there who are about to indulge in the wonders of virtual reality for the very first time. If that sounds like you, then you’re in for a massive treat because VR is amazing, but if you want to get the most out of it, you will need to learn to walk before you can run.
Jumping straight into an extreme VR experience like Resident Evil Village might sound like a good idea (I mean, who doesn’t want to check out Lady D in VR?), but playing first-person locomotion games like one that can be a very overwhelming experience for first timers and it’s one that can easily lead to a nasty case of VR motion sickness.
So in today’s episode of VR Corner (above) I’ll be taking a look at the 7 best PSVR 2 launch titles that you should buy if you’re new to VR. These games may not be the most exciting launch titles on offer but, if you want to train your brain so that you can become an unstoppable VR machine in the shortest time possible, you should definitely think about easing yourself in with a few of these first. And then you can go hang out with Lady D for as long as you want, without the worry of doing a sick on your shoes.
Fantavision 202X is a PSVR2 reimagining of the cult classic PS2 fireworks-based puzzler, Fantavsion and it looks like it’ll be the perfect introduction to the world of VR for someone who has never tried VR before.
Fantavision 202X has a very simple but addictive gameplay loop in which you need to link together 3 or more firework flares of the same colour before detonating them for points. As a completely static gameplay experience you’ll be able to enjoy this one from the comfort of your couch, so you should find it nice and easy to relax and get fully absorbed by the light show in front of you.
While the flat gameplay shown in this week’s VR Corner episode doesn’t look like the most exciting thing in the world, inside the PSVR 2 headset you’re going to be surrounded by beautiful, sparkling particles as the fireworks you set off explode around you. Thanks to the 4K HDR visuals, those bursts of colour against the black backgrounds will look phenomenally crisp and super stunning in 3D. Add to that the game’s super easy point and click control scheme that will ease you into using the Sense controllers in a virtual space, and Fantavision 202X should be a great first stop on your VR adventures.
Kizuna AI: Touch the Beat
While Beat Saber will be coming to the PSVR 2 at some point in the future, at the time of making this video, it has not been confirmed as a launch title for the headset. This is a shame as Beat Saber is one of these best games out there for showing newcomers the magic and power of Virtual Reality gaming so, in lieu of that, we’re going to have to go for the next best thing, Kizuna AI: Touch the Beat.
Kizuna AI: Touch the Beat is a rhythm-action game based around popular Japanese VTuber, Kizuna AI. In Touch the Beat, you’re cast as an audience member at a Kizuna AI performance and, from the safety of a single person mosh pit, you’ll be able to bop along to Kizuna AI’s tunes and feel the rhythm of her music by hitting the notes that fly towards you with your twin penlights.
While the gameplay doesn’t look anywhere near as cool as that of Beat Saber, this launch title should be the perfect place to get used to standing up and interacting with virtual objects in a virtual environment. As the majority of the action takes place on a stage in front of you, the world around you should remain relatively static meaning there will be minimal nausea-inducing background motion and, if you have enough room in your real-life game space, you should also be able to do a little bit of physical walking in VR as well.
Couple this with the fact that you’ll be dual-wielding your two Sense controllers and using them as batons to hit the coloured notes around you and this should mean that Kizuna AI will be a great place to train yourself to use two motion controllers at the same time.
What better way to learn how to interact with virtual worlds using motion controllers than by smashing said worlds to smithereens!
In Tentacular, you play as a twin tentacled Kaiju who is tasked with helping out the inhabitants of the island it lives by. While the puzzle and island layouts change with each level, the game world is static around you, acting like little dioramas that you can lean into and play with. That means that you can easily play this game from a seated position and, while you can gently move the kaiju around with your thumbsticks, most of the motion in the game will be provided by you, the player. This means the potential for sickness inducing inner-ear mishaps should be kept to a minimum.
The best thing about Tentacular though is that you can pick up and play with pretty much any prop going, and that even goes for the little folks who you’re supposed to be helping. Go on, try throwing them into the ocean. It may feel evil but it’s actually very fun and they’ll quickly respawn, so no harm done! I think…
Because a lot of the puzzles in Tentacular involve picking up and then placing down and balancing small objects, this game is the ideal place to literally get to grips with the intricacies of the PSVR 2’s Sense controllers. You’ll quickly learn how to lean in and out of virtual environments in order to pluck objects from the scenery, something that feels utterly incredible if you’ve only ever played video games on a flat TV screen before.
By doing this you’ll also get used to using the grip buttons on the sides of the controllers to hold and then throw objects, so if you’re looking for a bright, colourful, funny and family friendly VR toybox in which to develop your Sense controller skills, I’d give this game a Tentacle out of 10, that’s for sure.
Next up we have Demeo, a brilliant, but at times rather brutal board game simulator that will not only help you learn how to use physical gestures to move about in a VR space but, as it’s a multiplayer game, it will also be a great place for you to experience interacting with real people in virtual reality.
Demeo is basically a turn-based role playing board game, like HeroQuest and because of this the speed of the gameplay is never overwhelming. What makes this an excellent game for VR beginners though is that, while the gameplay all takes place on a virtual game board in a static environment, you can navigate through that virtual world and get up close and personal with your chosen adventurer using physical motions to reposition yourself.
So, by using the Sense controllers you can grab the air to pull yourself around the game board, turn on the spot or even pull your arms apart to zoom in and out – much like you’d do with two fingers on a mobile phone screen.
Using physical movements to adjust your position in VR means that you shouldn’t experience any motion sickness at all and, while it does take a while to adjust your brain to moving in this way, once it clicks you’ll be well on your way to mastering movement within virtual reality.
Cities VR: Enhanced Edition
Cities VR: Enhanced Edition is a city management game that will allow you to create the city of your dreams without giving you too much of a sensory overload as you do so.
Once again, Cities VR is a static, diorama style experience that you can physically lean in and out of. With this one though, you’ll also be able to use the Sense controllers thumbsticks to move around as you manage the construction and economy of your very own virtual world. Moving around in VR using thumbsticks can take a little getting used to as at first as it feels odd to have your brain tell you you’re moving when you’re actually standing or sitting still. Playing a game as slow as Cites then, should be a good way to build up your tolerance for this type of motion.
Drawing and placing down your city by pointing, clicking and painting with your Sense controller is set to be super easy and intuitive and there’s a lot of menus in the game for things like checking on the wellbeing of your citizens and keeping your books in order, which will help you practise going from 3D gameplay to flat menus and back again using motion controls only.
Best of all is the way Cities VR: Enhanced Edition allows you to view your creations from a birds eye view and then zoom right down to street level where you can watch them come alive thanks to the hustle and bustle of the civilians and traffic. This change of scale and perspective is yet another wonderful example of how VR can immerse you in a video game and make you feel like a part of its world, and when it’s also a world that you’ve created, you’re going to feel an incredible sense of connection to it.
Moss lies at the more extreme end of the VR beginners scale due to the fact that you’re going to be controlling not only yourself, but the game’s plucky hero Quill too.
Moss is a wonderful adventure game that’s part fairy tale, part diorama and part Zelda game and its highly detailed picture book landscapes are going to look phenomenal through the 4K lenses of the PSVR 2 headset.
Playing as a ghostly presence known as The Reader, you’re able to reach into Moss’ studio ghibli-esq, stationary levels to push and pull objects around in order to open up new routes that will allow Quill to advance towards her goal. Using the thumbsticks on the PSVR 2’s Sense controllers, you’ll also be able to move Quill around, 3D platformer style and get her to run and jump and attack the many mechanical beetles that block her path.
Master this type of two-become-one gameplay and you’ll be well on your way to trying out some more intense VR escapades, but make sure you take some time to interact with Quill and the environment before you go. Glancing at your reflection in the game’s many babbling brooks will really ground you in the world and make you truly feel like part of the adventure and, if Quill offers you a high five, don’t leave her hanging. These little exchanges may seem silly at first but, when combined with her awesome character animations that are bursting with personality, they will leave you believing that Quill is an actual, living, breathing creature.
So try your best not to accidentally let her drown because believe me, the sight of that death animation will leave you feeling guilty for weeks…
Moss: Book II
And finally, to cap off your introduction to the wonderful world of VR, why not finish off what you started by tackling the trials of Moss: Book II?
This cracking ‘squeakuel’ continues from the exact point that you left Quill at the end of the first game and, while the gameplay is almost identical, it does throw in a bunch of new weapons, story twists and combat challenges that’ll really put your newfound VR skills to the test.
If that sounds like a good idea to you, the PS5 versions of Moss and Moss: Book II are available to pre-order in a bundle in the PSN store right now, so you’ll be able to save a bit of cash and have them ready to download on the day of the PSVR 2’s release.
And there we have it, the 7 best PSVR 2 launch titles that you should try out if you’re buying a PSVR 2 but are a complete beginner to VR.
This list is based on the current roster of 23 confirmed PSVR 2 launch titles but, according to Sony, 30 are planned so there may well be more beginner friendly VR games announced in the run up to the consoles launch. If that is the case, I’ll try to update this list in the future, but by carefully researching any new games announced, you should be able to tell if they’re a good fit for you.
Basically, make sure you go for slower-paced, mainly stationary experiences that let you get a feel for inhabiting a VR world, like Job Simulator. Even though it’s super tempting to jump straight into one, make sure you also avoid the big, first person heavy-hitters like The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners until you’ve got your VR legs a bit. Those games won’t be going anywhere, so just take your time, ease yourself into VR and soon you’ll be rocketing around virtual worlds with full locomotion, smooth turning and no vignettes having just as much fun as I do.
And talking about me having fun in VR, there are plenty of videos over on our YouTube channel of me doing just that, along with loads more PSVR 2 videos too, and they go up every Sunday as part of Ian’s VR Corner.