PlayStation VR2 is finally here, at long last. But what can you actually play on Sony’s new headset?
With a launch lineup about 30 games deep, PSVR2 has a lot to offer on day one. However, there’s a big caveat to that: Almost all of the launch games are also available on Meta Quest or other PC-centric VR headsets. There’s very little that’s both new and exclusive here.
That said, PSVR2 might be your first foray into the virtual world. If that’s the case, here are a bunch of games you should really consider trying with your shiny new headset.
No Man’s Sky
Flying a ship in VR is pretty sweet.
Credit: Hello Games
Price: $60 (but constantly on sale)
Remember No Man’s Sky? Originally released in 2016, this survival game lets you explore a nearly infinite galaxy filled with nearly infinite, randomly generated planets to discover, explore, and mine for resources. You can start a science base, do some gardening, or even control a vast fleet of starships.
The PS5 version of No Man’s Sky got a patch this week enabling VR support and it’s a real doozy. The controls take a few minutes to grasp, but eventually you’ll be zipping around with a jetpack and mining carbon with little effort. Just don’t go too high in the jetpack if you have a fear of heights.
Most importantly, flying ships is cool as hell in No Man’s Sky VR. One hand manually controls the throttle while another manually controls the flight stick. You can easily give yourself motion sickness by doing barrel rolls, so try to avoid that, if possible.
Unfortunately, I don’t think you can do the ‘Akira’ slide in this game.
Credit: Truant Pixel/Steam
If you want to feel very cool in VR without spending a lot of money, there are worse ways to do it than by playing Runner.
Set in a neon-lit future dystopia with an aesthetic that leans heavily on 1980s and 90s anime, Runner is basically a game about driving the motorcycle from Akira really fast. You’ll speed down urban highways while shooting at police robots and vehicles with a variety of upgradeable weapons. It’s simple enough to understand, but the difficulty is no joke.
Sure, dying sucks, but it’s worth it for the thrill shooting the explosive cores of police motorcycles while going 150mph. Runner is rad. You should play it.
Tetris Effect Connected
Tetris Effect might be the coolest game ever made. Imagine Tetris but with psychedelic visuals and songs where some guy raps about how we need to heal our divisions. Now imagine that in VR.
This isn’t Tetris Effect’s first go-round in VR, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth experiencing. I found myself becoming hyper-focused on the action in VR, leading to more skillful play than I usually exhibit when playing Tetris. Plus, the visuals and music are so, so good that you can’t help but be drawn into the proceedings.
Hot tip from me to you: Cannabis doesn’t hurt the experience, either.
Cyberspace is out of control.
The only reason I couldn’t definitively declare Tetris Effect the coolest game ever made is that Rez Infinite exists.
This one goes all the way back to the Sega Dreamcast and PS2. Rez is a sort of 3D rail-shooter (think Star Fox or Panzer Dragoon) set inside cyberspace where your shots sync up and even create the music in every level. It looks and sounds incredible anywhere, but in VR, it’s astounding.
Rez Infinite was also a PSVR1 standout, so it’s not new, but it is worth playing. The PSVR2 version adds the ability to aim with your eyes, which is trippy and pretty damn cool. Just play Rez if you haven’t.
Horizon: Call of the Mountain
Get good at aiming or pay the price.
Horizon: Call of the Mountain distinguishes itself from the rest of this list in a couple of major ways. First, it’s a full-priced game. Second, it’s a brand new, PSVR2-exclusive title from Sony, the only one of its kind available at launch.
From playing the first couple of hours, I can say that people who want maximum spectacle out of their PSVR2 headset will be pleased with Call of the Mountain. The massive robot dinosaurs of the Horizon universe become much larger and more imposing in VR. On top of that, this game uses the power of the PS5 to create easily the best-looking PSVR2 game I’ve seen.
It also happens to be a fairly fully featured game. You’ll do a ton of climbing up mountains (don’t look down, trust me), which can actually be pretty tiring for your arms. There’s also a robust combat system that demands a certain level of archery skill out of you. Not only do you need to aim precisely at specific enemy parts, but you need to do so while dodging their attacks.
It’s pretty fun and challenging, and Horizon fans will dig it. I’d call this perhaps the biggest standout in the PSVR2 launch lineup.
Kayak VR: Mirage
Nice and relaxing.
Credit: Better Than Life/Steam
Kayak VR: Mirage was the first PSVR2 game I played and it really couldn’t be simpler to explain.
It’s just a kayaking game. You’ll move your arms like you would in an actual kayak, and the physics feel pretty realistic. You can kayak around in a training pool or in real-life locations like Antarctica. The visuals are gorgeous, the vibes are serene, and it’s just a pleasant way to spend 15 to 20 minutes.
Resident Evil: Village
You can take everything I just said about Kayak VR: Mirage and say the exact opposite about Resident Evil: Village. These vibes are anything but serene, and I wouldn’t call anything about the experience “pleasant.”
The visuals are still great, though.
But seriously, this is exactly what you think it is. If you played RE: Village when it came out in 2021, you can play it again in VR. If you didn’t, well, get ready for a gory, bizarre trip through the European countryside. The VR elements here are very well thought out, with manual gun reloading (and shotgun pumping), tons of different movement options, and even some cutscenes being re-framed for a full 3D display.
And yes, the tall lady looks very tall.
Imagine being fully immersed in this.
Thumper originally launched in 2016 and stole the hearts of rhythm game fans (and drummers) everywhere. It’s got freaky, abstract visuals and a soundtrack that’s bassy, percussive, and only barely registers as “music” sometimes.
This PSVR2 version of Thumper doesn’t radically change the gameplay. It’s just Thumper in VR. The sense of speed is awesome, as is being fully immersed in Thumper’s vaguely sinister rhythm highways. What more do you need?
Other games to try
I am but one person and didn’t have time to try every single game in the PSVR2 launch lineup. However, here are a few that seemed worth checking out based on some quick trial runs:
Demeo: A turn-based tactics game with a tabletop-in-your-parents’-basement setting. You can zoom way in on the proceedings to actually feel like you’re in a dungeon, or watch from the comfort of said basement.
Song in the Smoke: A survival game with a heavy emphasis on smashing objects against other objects to create new objects. It’s got a pretty dream-like art style, and the first entity you meet in the game is a freaky three-headed crow.
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge Enhanced Edition: This is just a souped up version of a game we liked a lot when it came out on Quest a few years back. If you dig Star Wars, this is a no-brainer.
Many of these games will be old hat to longtime VR vets, but for first-timers, PSVR2 has a lot to offer. Now seriously, go play Rez and Tetris Effect. You can thank me later.