Yesterday saw the launch of Sony’s latest piece of hardware – the PSVR 2. There’s just one teensy little problem – the cost. Do you have R13,000+ just lying around? Yeah, us neither. And that’s without factoring in what you’ll pay to get your hands on one of the console’s new games.
Don’t let that dwell on your mind too much, though. PlayStation’s first venture into the virtual world didn’t perform exceptionally well (at first). But in the six years since it launched, its catalogue of games has grown, building up a solid enough foundation for the PSVR 2. Now, in 2023, PSVR is the best it’s ever been. It’s just unfortunate it took so long and only came into its own when a newer, more expensive model hits the market. Well played, Sony.
If you, like most people, are waiting for some sort of price drop from Sony’s newest virtual console, you’ll be stuck with the original PSVR for the foreseeable future. But that’s okay. We’re willing to bet there are still plenty of games that you either missed or felt too proud to try out. That’s why we’re here. We’ve put together a list of our favourite PlayStation VR games of the previous generation.
Say hello to Beat Saber. A game that actually manages to make you feel cool, even though you’re wearing a VR headset – a rather rare feeling. That’s due to the game’s nature – a rhythm game that turns your VR controllers into a set of lightsabres.
No, you won’t be fighting enemies using The Force or flying the Millenium Falcon. Beat Saber is far simpler than that and it benefits greatly because of it. It’ll have you swinging wildly at floating blocks flying towards you – like some demonic, heart-racing game of Guitar Hero. Your job is to slash the box as they come at you on the beat, with the added challenge of slashing them in the right direction. Otherwise, you’re just a dual-wielding buffoon standing in the middle of your living room.
The developers behind Beat Saber are constantly updating the game with new music, adding new challenges for you to tackle. Should you ever make the upgrade to the PSVR 2, Beat Saber will be available, though there’s no word on pricing or even a release date at the time of writing. For now, you’re confined to the original PSVR for this one.
Looking for something a tad more… terrifying? Look no further than Resident Evil 7. If you’re only here to indulge in some weird fantasies about Lady Dimitrescu, we’re sorry to inform you that she only makes an appearance in this game’s sequel, the VR version of which is only playable on the PSVR 2. Big Lady or not, this is still one of the better Resident Evil games out there, and certainly one of the better VR games in 2023.
If you’ve already played RE7 through a standard controller and television, the story won’t be any different here. There are some gameplay differences to keep an eye on though, such as the ability to peek around corners and the somewhat shoddy graphics. That’s to be expected. It’s running on 2016 hardware that’s doing its utmost to keep you from throwing up all over it. It’s hardly noticeable when you’re in the game, running to (or from) whatever’s keeping you up at night.
Perhaps the best stealth series ever made, IO Interactive’s Hitman, recently came to a close with the release of Hitman 3 (and the accompanying tie-in VR mode) in 2021. It’s the most balls-to-the-walls of any Hitman game we’ve seen yet, and that’s not lost once you make the switch over to VR. Since its release, the developers have added Hitman 3’s two predecessors to the game, allowing anyone with a VR headset to jump into any of the three titles.
Gameplay isn’t much different from your standard Hitman game. Sneak, eavesdrop and take out your targets. Or, let those Hardballers loose and start kicking ass guns akimbo. If you can think it, you can probably do it. Oh, it’s also the only Hitman game that gives you the ability to rub Agent 47’s head (for luck). That’s gotta be worth something.
One could argue that the VR industry’s biggest selling point is its ability to throw you in someone else’s body and forget your own, at least for a while. Beat Saber makes you feel like a Jedi (or Sith, we don’t judge), Hitman makes you feel like a… well, hitman, and Superhot VR makes you feel like Neo from The Matrix.
Superhot’s strengths lie in its peculiar-yet-brilliant shooting mechanics. There’s a gimmick – because of course there is. Enemies, bullets, and pretty much everything else in this world only moves when you do. Bullets can still hurt you – but that’s where that handy time power comes in. You’ll have to shoot and throw things at your enemies in order to survive the minimal yet sprawling world. The inherently challenging gameplay has been eased to accommodate the VR player, though the core mechanics are largely unchanged, making for the same fun as the original.
In what’s become one of the biggest jokes of the last decade, Bethesda graced the world with yet another iteration of Skyrim, this time in VR. Still, it’s hard not to admit just how rad Skyrim is in VR. It’s packed to the brim with a massive open world, an interesting story and decent gameplay mechanics. Just like you’ve (probably) played 100 times now.
The VR version is no different, though there is a major graphics hit to consider if you’ve become accustomed to the current-gen versions of the game. Expect graphics closer to the original PS3 launch. Walking takes a bit of getting used to, with Bethesda deciding that short-form teleporting would ease the constant lurch of your stomach as your travel around the place. Whether this is your first adventure within Skyrim or your tenth, a playthrough in VR is well worth testing out.
Everybody love’s a comeback story. And who has a better comeback story than Hello Games’ 2016 title No Man’s Sky? Riddled with bugs, and devoid of the features that creator Sean Murray oversold for years before release. That’s all in the past now, and Hello Games has been forgiven. That’s partly due to the tons of free DLC that the team has pumped out for the past six years, and the 2019 VR re-release.
The VR mode allows the player to explore, drift between planets, partake in warring space battles and dive into the ever-so-cathartic house-building mode headfirst. It’s a calming experience (unless you’re on the run, that’s on you) that’s only helped by the massive map containing 18 quintillion planets – all for your exploring pleasure. One that can’t be matched by many.
This may sound like we’re joking, but we’re deadly serious when we say that Tetris Effect deserves to be on this list as much as the rest of these titles do. It is a brilliant, colourful and energetic timewaster whose only goal is to make you feel like you’re a kid again playing Tetris on your old pink Gameboy. Except with, you know, much better graphics… and colour. It succeeds while offering players an entirely new outlook on the game (quite literally).
Made by the creators of Rez and Lumines, Tetris Effect comes in swinging with a beautiful soundtrack and psychedelic look at things. Listen out for the way the music changes once a piece is changed, effectively turning this into your own Tetris DJ. You can play this one without a VR headset, though we’d advise keeping it on for as long as you can stomach it.