PSVR 2 eye tracking makes VR horror even scarier
Virtual reality horror gets under your skin. In a first-of-its-kind hands-on, Youtuber Mike Cussel gets to play an exclusive scary game for PSVR 2 and is both thrilled and shocked.
The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR sends you on rails through a giant virtual reality ghost train. You sit in a mine car that travels through various horror scenarios.
The spiritual successor to the PSVR hit Until Dawn: Rush of Blood was originally going to be one of the launch titles for PlayStation VR 2, but developer Supermassive Games decided to postpone the eye-tracking horror to polish the game's mechanics.
PSVR 2 buyers will have to wait a while, but Mike Cussel of the Virtual Reality Oasis YouTube channel got a sneak peek.
Playstation VR 2: Eye-tracking horror shocks Youtuber
Switchback VR uses the Playstation VR 2's eye-tracking feature to create some particularly scary moments in the VR game. As game director Alejandro Arqué Gallardo explained to Edge Magazine, there are scenes where players are not allowed to blink.
If they do, it has a disruptive effect on the environment. For example, in a room full of creepy mannequins, blinking will cause them to abruptly change their posture. If you keep blinking, the figures will come alive and even attack.
Cussel ran through this exact scene during the preview event. The train pulls up to a white wing door with the words "Don't Blink" in blood-stained letters. It opens and Cussel finds himself in a room full of mannequins.
Much to the Youtuber's dismay, they abruptly change position as soon as he moves his eyelids. It's almost dark in the next room, and only one dimly lit figure has its back to Cussel. With each blink, more mannequins appear, approaching the train car with jerky movements and unsettling looks.
Play Switchback VR they said, it'll be fun they said 😅 pic.twitter.com/xrIKZJ7oIu
— Mike VRO (@vr_oasis) February 14, 2023
The Youtuber's reaction shows just how creepy this is: Cussel sits back in his chair, shakes his arms, and screams. At the same time, he can barely contain his laughter. Fortunately, players are not completely defenseless in Switchback VR, and Cussel can fend off the attack with two virtual guns.
Switchback VR: Gorgeous and shocking at the same time
Visually, Switchback VR on PSVR 2 seems compelling: "I have to say it looks gorgeous. It's horrifying, but it looks gorgeous. The OLED displays make everything so dark it is truly terrifying. It is like being on a theme park ride, just a lot longer and a lot scarier," Cussel said.
The VR Ghost Train ride seems to have left more than just a visual impression on Cussel: "I felt like I should have worn a heart rate sensor. You're gonna see my heart going crazy. Oh man this is just one level as well this game is huge. It's got tons of levels branching past so you can play it again and again and again. I mean if you want to scare yourself silly."
In his gameplay session, Cussel shows parts of a single level, but one that promises a lot of variety. How the alternation between shocking moments, action interludes and short breaks will motivate in the long run, we will have to see in a detailed test of the full version.
The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR is scheduled for release on March 16, 2023, exclusively for PSVR 2 and will cost around $40.