I won’t lie. I’ve slept a little on PS VR2 since the initial hype around launch. I had a great time testing out Sony’s new VR hardware, but well, aside from a few thrills in GT7, the headset has been gathering dust.
Until this last week. It’s not that there haven’t been new releases coming to PS VR2 – there have been, and some have looked decent – but I’m lazy, and picking up the Steam Deck or Xbox controller is less effort. Anyway, It’s amazing what a couple of new releases can do to completely change your gaming habits, and now the headset and controllers are always primed and ready to go.
First up is C-Smash VRS. Among the highly online, which includes people like me, this has got a nice bit of buzz as it’s essentially a sequel to SEGA’s hyper stylish and cool arcade game Cosmic Smash. The game got a Dreamcast port, back when games being ported from Arcade to home was about the coolest thing imaginable, and was great fun. Think of the real-life sport, Squash, but for people who are really into Tron.
I’ll be honest. Despite being a SEGA boy and singing the praises of the Dreamcast to all my school friends, I have never played Cosmic Smash. I did, however, play Squash a fair bit, so this VR variation seemed like an ideal way to be introduced – and it most definitely was.
Hitting something in VR is something I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of. It’s a simple thing, but I think that’s what makes it so perfect for VR. I find VR is its most immersive when you’re performing everyday tasks. Hitting a ball with a racket/bat probably is fun in real life and it’s great in C-Smash VRS. Of course, here on PS VR2 you’re inside a minimalist 3D world complete with the trendiest tunes of the summer (I’m not expert on this, but trust me, the soundtrack is superb).
Roll that most simple of gameplay mechanics (hitting a ball) into a nice package of single and multiplayer modes, and well, I think I’ll be playing this for a long time. In my mind, this is what VR is all about; I felt like I was there, playing this futuristic ball game. So much so that I completely forgot myself and went for a slightly too enthusiastic overhead smash, smashing my real-life hand and controller into my very real-world lightshade. It’s fine. I’ve fixed it. That’s proper VR.
I don’t know who these people are, but I expect VR sport isn’t for everyone, just like real sport has plenty of haters. So, good news! This next game is violent, has guns, and is another PS VR2 gem.
If you’ve been around the gaming block for as long as I have – maybe have a lie down, you’re probably tired – you might remember Psi-Ops from Midway Games. This awesomely entertaining third-person action game on PS2, Xbox, and PC saw you using psi powers to throw things and enemies around, plus use an arsenal of weapons to blow stuff up. It’s honestly one of the best games of that generation, and Synapse feels very much like that game taken into VR and bolted onto a first-person rogue-like.
The result is one of the slickest PS VR2 games I’ve played, which isn’t a huge surprise considering this is from VR experts nDreams. Rather than give you all your powers from the start you earn them by playing through runs and completing objectives. At the start you can throw boxes about and crush explosive barrels, and use a gun to shoot, but things really heat up when you can toss enemies about. Thanks to the PS VR2 headset’s eye tracking you’re able to do this with stunning ease, locking on to something with your gaze and then swinging your left hand about as if conducting an orchestra of death.
VR games for me are all about bursts of fun (partially because I need to take breaks in order to reconnect the real world and not hurl my lunch everywhere), so while Synapse becomes a little samey in its smart but simple monochrome world, it didn’t really bother me. I’d jump in for a bit of psi-ops magic and then jump out again. More #seriousgamers will likely see most of what Synapse has to offer in under 10 hours, but again, I’m OK with that. Not every game has to offer 50+ hours of content and an endless stream of DLC.
Long story short? C-Smash VRS and Synapse are so good they made me, a lazy man who will do anything for an easy life, get back on the VR train.