Virtual reality has been dreamed of for decades. This technology, described in hundreds of science fiction books, featured in dozens of science fiction films, was to change the world. Give the opportunity to visit where you have never been without getting up from the couch. To be close to a person who in real life lives on the other side of the world. Become what you will never be.
And now, the era of virtual reality has come - but no one noticed it.
Oculus started with its Rift. The "beta" version of their helmet could be purchased earlier than analogues. They were expensive, the picture was poor, but even the early models showed the potential of the platform. Now there is a final version on the market, and the question "Why didn't it take off?" - a topic for a separate article.
Then HTC and Valve showed their helmet - and their Vive hits the skin with goose bumps. The system not only tracks the turns of your head, but also the position of your body - and hands - in space. Very cool - but there is really nothing to do with all this.
Sony was the last to enter the race. And in an unexpected way, losing to their competitors in technical terms, the Japanese eventually came to the finish line first: there is already a decent amount of content for the helmet, and, according to Sony, it is selling well.
The PlayStation VR is a device that is already changing video games. The correspondent of found out whether these changes are worth their money.
How does it work?
A lot in PlayStation VR gives out the "first pancake" status. This is Sony's debut VR device and one of the earliest commercial virtual reality headsets in principle - and it shows.
First, if you're planning on buying a headset, get ready to mess with tons of wires. The set includes a special processor unit: a kind of hub to which both the helmet and the TV are connected. To connect all parts of the "mosaic", you need five (!) Additional cables and an additional socket. If you lay the cords correctly, they will not be an eyesore, but connecting everything for the first time, you feel like an IKEA furniture assembler.
At the same time, the very process of installing the system is simple - complete with the helmet there is a huge brochure with pictures and comments, very clear and intuitive. Each cable is signed with its own number - you won't get confused.
Secondly, you need a PlayStation Camera - without it the helmet simply won't work. I need it in order to determine tilts and turns of the head, and one of my main complaints about the helmet is connected with it - you can only play in a lighted room. You don't have to turn on the overhead light, but you will definitely need a table lamp. And this despite the fact that the helmets have LEDs that shine so brightly that sometimes you feel like a Christmas tree. You cannot remove this glow - it is just tracked by the camera, but you cannot even turn off the lamp - the helmet will complain about the lack of lighting. Of course, playing PS VR, you do not see the world around you, but if there is someone in the room, and this someone has worked hard all day, is very angry and is about to go to bed, the need to sit in the spotlight is in danger.
And yes, the camera will have to be purchased separately. Plus 4200 rubles.
The helmet is put on the head very simply - like a hat for a pool. One button in front, under the display - it adjusts the distance from the screen to the eyes; the other has an elasticated headband that wraps around your head at the back, allowing you to adjust the fit. I put it on as convenient, tightened the whole structure with a special wheel - and that's it. The first couple of times you experience problems with this, but you quickly get used to it, and on the second day the whole procedure takes about five seconds. At least pass the army standard.
The helmet sits relatively comfortably on the head - but keep in mind that glasses or lenses for a comfortable game are required for myopic people. It was very difficult to play with mine minus two - the picture was blurred, I was constantly trying to adjust the helmet, “grope” for the correct position, and in the end I still played the “mole simulator”. Lenses solved all the problems.
The only thing you have to put up with is your head sweating in a helmet. The problem will always be relevant for VR devices - in fact, you are sitting in a hat indoors, even though this hat has wires. In addition, sometimes the glasses fog up: if you push the helmet too low, the air that you exhale through your nose will get inside, which is why this happens. Therefore, they have to be wiped steadily once every 20 minutes. This is annoying - you want to hang a clothespin on your nose.
How it works?
After you connect the headset, the console will start the setup procedure. It is very simple: sit and follow the commands on the screen. Turn your head here, turn your head here, and now move it from side to side. The most you will be asked to do is move or adjust the camera.
In fact, PlayStation VR operates in two modes. The first is virtual reality mode, for the sake of which you, in fact, buy a helmet. Stereoscopic effect, full immersion, risk of motion sickness, and so on. The quality of the picture in it is far from ideal: there is "grain" in the image, not the highest (in the context of the required for such technology) resolution makes itself felt. You get used to it - but you can't get away from it.
The second is “theatrical”. It is designed for watching videos and games that are not sharpened for VR. In this case, the headset will simply replace your TV: the feeling will be such that you are sitting in a cinema on the second or third row with a gamepad in your hands. Only there is no one nearby and the image is not the best: if in the stereoscopic mode the imperfections of the picture still mask the immersion effect, in this mode the "grain" on the screen is even more clearly visible. The same Horizon Zero Dawn looks much better on a TV screen (and even a monitor!) Than on a headset display. In general, put it on, saw - and forgot.
The image that you see with glasses is duplicated on the TV display - a useful feature in large companies. Associated with it is VR's most sociable opportunity - to grab the leg of a player wearing a helmet in a scary game.
There is a special remote control on the wire of the helmet - headphones are connected to it, and with its help the sound level is regulated. The decision is successful: over time, you get used to the location of the remote control and begin to find it by touch.
How to play it?
How strong you feel and how satisfied you are with your purchase depends on the games you play. There are quite a few projects available for PS VR today, but with all due respect to the developers and their efforts, 90% of them are no more than "demos" needed to introduce you to the new platform.
Although Here They Lie and Untill Dawn: Rush of Blood, perhaps, is worth appreciating: the first is a rather banal, but at times scary "walking simulator", the second is a daring shooting gallery in insane scenery. Suddenly jumping out enemies are attached.
But I can say with peace of mind and a clear conscience that buying PS VR in early 2017 is pointless without one specific game. Her name is Resident Evil 7. This is the only good reason to buy a Sony VR headset.
Firstly, even without considering the possibilities of VR, this is just a good game. And to be honest, the whining of the fans of the great franchise is not entirely clear: in essence, the "seven" is closer to the formula of classic REs than ever: we walk around the mansion, solve riddles, sometimes get scared, sometimes shoot.
The concept sounds simple, but the main thing here is the level of performance. Resident Evil 7 is a showcase of what expensive AAA games are capable of, with full VR support, rather than just a sticky one. And the demonstration is impressive. This is not a stump or a techno demo, but a high-budget game with good graphics, a full-fledged plot and sane gameplay. Only now with an immersive effect.
If you think about it, Resident Evil 7 is ideal for virtual reality in principle: the low pace of the gameplay will save you from serious problems with nausea (we will return to this), the intimacy allowed the developers to fill the world with a million details, while maintaining a high frame rate, and the horror genre - create an atmosphere as thick as oil. The plot is as simple as a stick: the main character, Ethan, unexpectedly receives a letter from his wife, who disappeared three years ago, who informs him that she is in an abandoned mansion in Louisiana. If you are even a little familiar with the genre, you have already guessed everything: of course, the old house is notorious, travelers constantly disappear next to it, and the owners, as they say, have peculiar gastronomic preferences.
The main events of the game take place in the mansion and its surroundings, and therefore it is simply amazingly worked out. Resident Evil is not a scary game, but it is unbearably creepy. Detailing is outrageous. Every corner of the house, every board in the floor, and every crack in the wall feels real. The corpses here in VR are the most realistic I've seen. Flies swarm over the bags with something red and unappetizing; cockroaches crawl across the kitchen floor - painfully real. It seems, just a little more - and you will feel the heavy smell of mold filling the dilapidated rooms. And what kind of animation of the members of the Baker family is there … When a bearded man comes at you with a shovel, you forget for a second that you are in the game and try to leave him in a chair.
At the same time, the aesthetics are impeccable (which is very important for virtual reality): the scenery is disgusting - but not nausea, the elements of the environment are disgusting enough to make you want to look away, but not so much that you regret having recently had breakfast. It's like the cruelty in Tarantino's films - like fountains of blood on the screen, but they are perceived somehow easily. You will control the character with a gamepad. Left stick - move; look around and turn around - by turning the head. The latter will also have to aim, tilting the crosshair of the sight (this, by the way, is quite convenient). The VR version of Resident Evil 7 even has a useful exclusive feature - peeking around the corner.
The main disadvantage of the VR version of Resident Evil 7 is the implementation of hands. The game has a lot of cool and crazy … crazy first-person scenes, and if in normal mode they look impressive, then in VR they are funny. The thing is that your character's arms literally hang in the air, ending somewhere near the elbow. And then there is emptiness. And how to feel horror from the very (who played, will understand what it is about) scenes with a chainsaw, when a character funny waves in the air with two half-invisible stumps?
Despite this, the VR version of Resident Evil is one of the most vivid gaming experiences possible today. If I just liked the regular version of the game, then VR really impressed me. And this is a huge compliment to the entire platform: it is such projects that move the industry forward.
Speaking of graphics: on the regular version of the PlayStation RE7 in virtual reality mode, it looks worse than on the PlayStation 4 Pro. Not so much as to destroy all good impressions, but the difference is significant: more "grain" in the picture, not so high detail, less drawing distance. So if you want to appreciate all the benefits of virtual reality, it's better to buy a console as well. But the usual PlayStatoin 4 is enough to send you to an emotional knockout.
How are you feeling?
If you've ever had the slightest interest in virtual reality, you've probably already heard that the main problem associated with VR headsets is motion sickness. It occurs mainly due to the physiological characteristics of the human body. The brain cannot understand why visually you seem to be moving forward, while the vestibular apparatus at the same time reports that you are sitting in an easy chair. Such dissonance leads to the fact that the body becomes ill.
Whether you will be rocked in PS VR and how badly is a purely individual question.
I am constantly rocked in the car, and getting stuck in traffic means providing myself with nausea for the next half hour. But while wearing a helmet, I was able to quite comfortably go through most of Resident Evil 7, taking short breaks every 40 minutes. My friend, invited as a test subject, did not experience any particular problems either, but my wife asked to "breathe" after five minutes of playing Here They Lie. From which I made the following conclusion: if you play games very, very rarely, or do not play at all, at first it will be scary to rock you: the unfamiliarity with computer graphics will also affect. But if gaming is one of your favorite hobbies for you, there should be no creepy problems.
And yes, rumors about harm to eyesight and so on are real lies. It is much more pleasant to look into the headset display than into a TV screen.
PlayStation VR is the most convenient and affordable way to experience virtual reality today. Affordable does not mean cheap, and, in all honesty, with all my love for this device, I still cannot say that this is a mandatory purchase, honestly spending its 40 thousand rubles. Yes, it can change your ideas about games, but in fact, apart from Resident Evil 7, there are no truly impressive projects yet.
And at the same time, paradoxically PS VR is the most worthwhile according to the criterion "what to do" of all the options available. At least she has something to play with.
And the potential of the platform is colossal - with the support of Sony, and even in the ecosystem of the most popular set-top box in the world, virtual reality seems to finally be able to get on its feet.>