FeaturedPlayStation 5Special

Review: Is PlayStation VR2 Better?

0
playstation vr2 review

If you’re trying to decide whether to buy the new PlayStation VR2 virtual reality headset, the decision probably boils down to a comparison. Is it superior to what you have, or enough of an improvement to finally get you to jump in? So rather than dance around the topic, we’re going to directly address the issue: is PSVR2 better?

Recommended Videos

Is PSVR2 Better Than PSVR?

The PlayStation VR2 is definitely leaps and bounds ahead of the original PlayStation VR in terms of tech. That first attempt cut as many corners as it could to get prices down, like using Move controllers and sticking to limited tracking capabilities. PSVR2 supports room-scale tracking. The Sense motion controllers are precise and generally have the features you want. There’s no clunky box or camera to set up, and it all runs through one decent-length cord to the front of the PS5. What it retains is the original’s comfort, a real selling point for Sony. Other companies’ offerings are getting better and better at this, but for both feel and ease of wear, it’s hard to beat Sony engineering.

Still, this isn’t as cut-and-dry a question as you’d think. For that first effort, Sony invested a lot into software. There were prestige first-party games like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, as well as a seemingly generous amount of funds floating around to fund ports and VR conversions by third parties. There’s Horizon: Call of the Mountain — we’ll drop that name a few times — but generally, it seems like Sony’s doing less money-raining to bring experiences to the new platform. At least, as far as we know. And since there’s no backward compatibility with PSVR games and limited efforts to patch in PSVR2 compatibility, it’s possible that the second headset may not be better than the first for a while.

(Seriously, why isn’t patching Astro Bot the first item on the to-do list?)

playstation vr2 moss

Is PSVR2 Better Than PC VR?

It really depends on what you want out of a VR experience. PC VR headsets offer the breadth of content of the PC, and that’s sort of unbeatable. There are fan projects and mods and PC-exclusive releases that do so much more than PSVR2 ever will, not just its launch lineup but over its full life. This could be mitigated with PC support for the headset, and though Sony has shown no indication of doing so officially, fan work bridged the gap for the first PSVR and could for the VR2. Still, it might be difficult and we wouldn’t count on it anytime soon.

But a console approach does result in optimized tech and a lot less time spent configuring things. This is true for all of the PC-console divide, and is the reason for a lot of efforts like the Steam Deck to make PC games more predictable and preconfigured. But it’s especially important in VR, as little glitches and stuttering and such are less of an annoyance and more of an illness-inducing nightmare. Playing VR2 is simple and straightforward, and even launch glitches are minor and patches are swift.

We’re hoping that updates will make VR2 even smoother. The issue we’ve run into most frequently involves lighting and room detection. The sensors that know where you are in the room seem most thrown off by midday light conditions, as we had episodes of frequent stuttering and error messages that made room-scale games practically unplayable as they were interrupted every 30 seconds or so. When that wasn’t happening, though, the tracking worked great.

For now, the usual console benefit of robust first-party development isn’t really here. Perhaps future announcements can bridge the software gap and make the VR2 an easier sell.

psvr2 review

Is PSVR2 Better Than Quest?

If you’re a fan of the fare of the headset pioneers formerly known as Oculus, it’s probably because the hardware is wireless. VR2 has seriously cut down on the setup and equipment of Sony’s first attempt, but there’s still one cord tethering you and tangling you up at times. We felt the cord on our shoulders sometimes, for sure. Still, this is a far cry from the hassle and tangle of last-gen setups.

Then again? PlayStation VR2 is a lot more powerful than the new Quest. The resolution of the displays helps a lot, and VR2 uses eye-tracking to render what you’re looking at with more detail to optimize what it can get out of the console’s processing power. Right now, the software lineup is largely ports, meaning the difference isn’t really there yet unless you really like the world of Horizon.

And, oh yeah, it’s not part of a dystopian data collection monolith, which feels like a point in its favor.

horizon call of the mountain playstation vr2

Is PSVR2 Better Than 550 Dollars?

This is perhaps the hardest question to answer. It’s early, and it doesn’t have the software support yet, so any purchase is at least partly a bet on Sony’s commitment to the platform. For now, what you’re getting is largely ports that don’t take advantage of the platform’s strengths. Does that pad out the library? Absolutely. But without solid exclusives to build around, they’re ill-suited to be system sellers.

Still, though, we’re definitely reaching a point at which the early-gen kinks are worked out. If you were waiting for VR to be less of a hassle but didn’t want a compromised experience, this could be the sweet spot you were awaiting. There’s a fun — if not particularly robust or tech-pushing — games lineup on the platform. We’re optimistic about the PSVR2’s future! But until we see more big-ticket games, any skepticism you have is warranted.

The PlayStation VR2 is available for purchase now for $549.99 through the PlayStation Direct site. An optional charging dock for the Sense motion controllers is also on offer. For more of Siliconera’s PSVR2 coverage, check out our archive.

PlayStation VR2

If you were waiting for VR to be less of a hassle but didn't want a compromised experience, this could be the sweet spot you were awaiting. (Just don’t count on software support until we see it.)

Food for Thought
  • We were also able to test the controller charging dock. It looks nice and charges quickly, but getting the controllers properly aligned can be a bit of a pain.
  • We didn’t find playing normal games using it particularly compelling — headset fatigue isn’t bad at all but still exists and we have a nice TV — but it’s definitely better at the job than the first PSVR and could be useful for some.
  • Seriously, patch Astro Bot: Rescue Mission already.
    If you want to know more, check out Siliconera's review guide.
    Graham Russell
    About The Author
    Graham Russell, editor-at-large, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020, and served as its Managing Editor until July 2022. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.