Playstation VR 2 Review Roundup: Here's the verdict from the press
Will Playstation VR 2 be a huge success or just another headset? Here's what early reviewers had to say about Sony's new virtual reality solution.
Playstation VR 2 will be released on February 22, 2023, and costs $549. The VR headset requires a Playstation 5 and is connected to the console via a cable.
In the first month after launch, more than 30 VR games are released, including the flagship title Horizon Call of the Mountain (review). More than a hundred other VR games are in development.
For details on technology and features, check out our PSVR 2 infographic. If you want to know what Mixed's own Ben Danneberg thinks of Sony's VR headset, be sure to take a moment to read through his insightful PSVR 2 review.
And now let's go! The links to the individual articles can be found at the end of the article.
The Verge: Hardware is great, game lineup is not
The tech magazine awards 7 out of 10 possible points and lists the strengths and weaknesses of the VR system.
One of the strengths is that Sony's VR headset enables virtual reality on a PC level without requiring a computer. The Verge also praises the simple setup of the system, the showcase game Horizon Call of the Mountain, which is the only one that shows the full potential of the device, and the fact that you can enjoy 2D content on a virtual big screen with Playstation VR 2.
Weaknesses include the underwhelming launch game lineup, the cable that is easy to trip over, a lower level of comfort compared to the first Playstation VR, and the fact that you can't play PC VR and PSVR 1 games.
Horizon Call of Mountain alone isn't a good enough reason to buy a PSVR 2, according to The Verge, lamenting that (like other publications) they haven't yet gotten access to top games like Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village.
The Verge's verdict wasn't final, stating, "The hardware is good, even with its quirks. We just wish we’d had more time and more games to try — it’s clear that we’ll need to take a second look in the weeks and months after launch."
New York Times: It's great, don't buy it (yet)
The New York Times likes the ease of setup, comfort, and design of the Playstation VR 2, writing, "I was surprised to find that I liked it as much as I did, and its convenience, comfort, and quality might be enough to convince me to put it on once in a while now that I have it."
The New York Times is less pleased with the cable and the meager offering of VR games at launch.
"To make the PS VR2 worth buying, PlayStation needs to offer must-play, exclusive software," shared the Times, suggesting, "Horizon: Call of the Mountain and Gran Turismo 7 are a start, but they’re not enough. At launch, the PS VR2 simply doesn’t justify its cost—even if you already own a PlayStation 5."
UploadVR: High-end VR without PC VR fiddling
According to UploadVR, a publication specializing in VR, "Sony clearly learned its lessons from the original PSVR and PlayStation VR2 feels like a major step for console VR, bridging the gap for those who want high-end features in a package that’s easier to manage than a PC VR setup."
Some believe the PSVR 2 can even outperform a high-end PC VR system on certain games.
UploadVR praises the comfort, display, and Fresnel lenses, noting no issues with God Rays. The biggest disappointment, it says, is the audio solution without integrated speakers. If you don't want to adjust the volume via a menu, you have to use Sony's Pulse 3D headphones, which adds to the expense.
The conclusion is overall positive: "For the asking price, PlayStation VR2 offers incredible quality, especially if you’re already in the PlayStation ecosystem. It arrives armed with deeper and more interesting exclusives than its predecessor’s launch in 2016, alongside hardware features that deliver greater immersion and give developers much more to build on."
Road to VR: Future-proofed thanks to unique features.
The VR publication goes into greater detail than others about the features of the display and optics.
It says the image looks much better than Sony's first VR headset but is hampered by two factors: a fairly small sweet spot and motion blur.
Road to VR explains, "PSVR 2’s Fresnel lenses actually have fairly good edge-to-edge clarity, but only if you can get your eyes in the headset’s rather small eye-box (AKA sweet spot). Unfortunately not everyone will be able to get their eyes into the ideal position because the sweet spot seems to be designed at a distance that makes it so you’d have to cram the headset uncomfortably against your face in order to keep the lenses in the perfect spot." This critique is softened with a mention of the guided calibration process, which helps with alignment.
When it comes to motion sharpness, Road to VR is not sure what's causing it, pointing out that moving the head affects the sharpness of the image. The reviewer also noticed God Rays and glare effects in high-contrast scenes.
Road to VR had a lot of praise for the rich colors and the really dark black of the OLED displays, which had a great impact on titles like Horizon Call of the Mountain. However, traces of Mura artifacts were observed, which is uneven lighting or color reproduction.
OLED displays were found in early VR headsets but are rare in modern devices. The founder of Oculus was blown away by Sony's PSVR 2 display quality.
The review praised the large field of view, at least larger than that of the Meta Quest 2, noting that it depends on how close you can bring the display to your face without sacrificing comfort.
The tracking works very well, even in darker environments. Road to VR sees room for improvement in the comfort and the audio solution. And what about the content?
"It’s hard to recommend the headset to someone who is already actively playing VR on Quest or PC VR, but for new VR players or those who have been waiting for an upgrade to the original headset, PSVR 2 is a no-brainer," Road to VR writes.
PSVR 2 is an "all-around impressive headset," the VR magazine sums up, adding, "the complete package is not just a huge step up over the original PSVR, but it easily stands among the most capable VR headsets currently available."
From the OLED display to head and controller haptics to eye-tracking, Road to VR thinks that Sony's new PSVR 2 headset offers some unique features that no other headset has, making it future-proof.
Eurogamer (Digital Foundry): Phenomenally good display
The hardware specialists at Digital Foundry also took a closer look at the Playstation VR 2 and call the system an "impressive package" noting that PSVR 2 can keep up with more expensive PC VR headsets, is much more comfortable to use than PSVR 1 and has a great deal of potential.
The problem, Eurogamer suggests, is the high price compared to the Meta Quest 2, which offers VR in a self-contained form factor."The specs differential against Quest 2 is vast, but the cost of the new hardware leads me to wonder whether or not the install base will grow fast enough to warrant producing big games for the platform," Digital Foundry writes.
The game library of Meta's Quest 2 is impressive, but PSVR 2 is an enticing platform also.
The OLED display and the cinema mode give the Playstation VR 2 added value and are highlighted in the review particularly for those who still play on a 1080p screen without HDR support will be impressed by the cinema mode. The reviewer estimates that the digital screen is roughly comparable to a 1440p screen but with "excellent HDR" and 120-hertz support.
Digital Foundry also criticizes the software offering at launch, complaining that most of the VR games are upgraded versions of already available titles, and the absence of Half-Life: Alyx leaves a gap.
"If you were a PSVR player and you're looking for the next step, the new hardware delivers in spades. This is a vastly superior VR experience that brings all the advances seen in other areas of the market to PS5, along with some key improvements including a phenomenally good HDR OLED screen," Digital Foundry writes in the conclusion.
IGN: A Quantum Leap
The gaming website raves about Playstation VR 2 and awards 9 out of 10 possible points.
The magazine highlights the ease of use, the image, and the immersion, advising every VR fan in the Playstation ecosystem to upgrade. The weak point, it says, is the launch lineup, which will change once Sony and developers begin maxing out the VR headset's unique features.
"With top-notch visual quality and immersively tactile Sense controllers, PlayStation VR2 represents a quantum leap over its predecessor, setting a new standard for console VR gaming," IGN concludes.
Tested: On par with PC VR
Tested praises the ease of setup and the Cinema Mode, which turns Playstation VR 2 into a second screen so roommates can use the TV for other content at the same time.
The Sense controllers fit well in the hand, don't feel too heavy, and last up to 5 hours. Tested is less impressed with the haptics, which it found to be less nuanced than those of the dual-sense controllers. The new headset haptics are "no game-changer" for VR. The tracking is found to be great, however, with no dropouts. The foveated rendering works without any visual flaws.
Tested praises the image quality of the Playstation VR 2, which is much better than that of the Meta Quest 2, especially in terms of brightness. God Rays are not be completely eliminated but are less noticeable than in the standalone VR headset. A slight Mura effect is noticeable in dark scenes, however, isn't annoying in most VR games.
Tested also notes the small sweet spot, which makes it necessary to adjust the VR headset from time to time when moving around a lot.
The benefits of the wired connection, according to Tested, is that it allows for uncompromised image transmission free of artifacts. "This feels like a true PC VR style tethered gaming experience in all the best ways possible."
Tested joined the chorus, criticizing the software offering, even though games like Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village were not yet available for testing.
"Selling PSVR 2 to people who were VR curious might be a harder sell this time and compared to the first PSVR’s launch lineup it does feel like there’s less effort this time around in creating novel experiences unique to PSVR 2," Tested says.
Aside from Call of the Mountain, the reviewer says there are no other titles that fully tap into the potential of the VR headset and console, concluding that this game alone is not worth the purchase.
Tested addresses three different groups when recommending a purchase:
- Those who own a PS5 and like VR will find Playstation VR 2 a great upgrade from the first VR headset.
- Those who own a Meta Quest 2 should wait and see what other exclusive VR games Sony has up its sleeve.
- VR enthusiasts who already own every headset and PC VR setup should also wait.
In the end, Playstation VR 2 will stand or fall on the exclusive games that max out the device, Tested says.
Tested summarized by saying, "The hardware is solid, it’s great. I ve been having a great time with it and the ease of setup is amazing but I’m still watiting for those games. Come on Astrobot, where are you? I need you in PSVR 2."