Welcome one and all to a very special Christmas episode of Ian’s VR Corner where I’ll be going over my top ten best PSVR games of 2018. The following list is completely my opinion and it only features games I’ve played, so if I’ve missed out on one of your favourites it may just be that I’ve not had a chance to give it a go. Well, it’s either that or I did play it and I just thought it was a bit poo. Either way, please do share the love for your favourite PSVR games in the comments below and hopefully you can inspire others to try them out too.
Check out the video below to watch the video version of this list can see footage of each game featured. If reading is more your thing though, you’ll find my entire top ten list just under that.
10 – Pixel Ripped 1989
Transporting you back to the years of my youth, Pixel Ripped 1989 puts you in the shiny black school shoes of Nicola – a 9-year-old gaming fanatic from London whose handheld Gear Kid console might as well be surgically attached to her palms.
Played from a purely seated position, the movement of your DualShock is mirrored in the virtual world where it becomes a GameBoy-like monochrome handheld. On this cute console you control Dot as she jumps and shoots her way through a series of levels in order to recover the Pixel Stone from the clutches of the evil Cyblin Lord. However, only part of the action takes place on this tiny, monochrome screen and it’s the way the handheld game and Nicola’s VR version of 1989 collide that makes the experience so interesting.
Taking you from a busy school room where you must avoid an angry teacher’s glare to furious battles in a retro inspired virtual world, the whole game is jam packed with humour and nostalgic easter eggs. At times the gameplay can be rather basic and the presentation often leaves something to be desired, but the nostalgia factor, the creativity on show and the almost tangible amount of love poured into the project means you can easily forgive the rough edges.
9 – Dracin
Dracin, has proven to be a truly marmite game for fans of the Playstation VR. Maybe it’s the slow pacing or the teleport only control scheme that winds people up, or maybe it’s because it’s from the makers of Bloodborne and it’s not really anything like Bloodborne at all. Truth be told I don’t really know because, regardless of all of these criticisms, I really enjoyed it.
Despite its slow start there’s a strange, haunting atmosphere to Dracin that sticks with you long after you’ve completed it. It creeps up on you during the first few chapters, as whimsy gradually gives way to a weird sense of unease. This feeling gently builds in the back of your mind until, at around the midway point in the game, things unexpectedly switch tempo and events take a much darker turn.
While I admit the gameplay may not be for everyone, what I will say is that Dracin has some of the finest graphics I’ve ever seen in a PSVR title. The detail present in the environments, especially in the school interiors, really is top notch and this just serves to make the experience even more immersive and believable.
8 – The Exorcist: Legion VR
The Exorcist: Legion VR is an episodic game horror game that’s set in the same universe as the spooky film that terrified cinema goers back in the 1974. Featuring five unique chapters, each with its own demonic entity to defeat, The Exorcist Legion VR plays out like an escape room-lite that concentrates more on detective work and exploring your environment than it does on puzzle solving.
While each chapter only takes around 30 minutes to complete, the creepy ambience is enough to compensate for the brief run time and it does a great job of capturing the sinister scares of the movie. Good looking locations with loads of interactivity help to ramp up the immersion, but the icing on the cake is the audio design which really helps to set your nerves on edge.
In fact, one of the reasons it’s so damn unsettling is that it relies less on jump scares and more on slowly building a dark, malevolent atmosphere. If you enjoy scary VR games then you really should check this one out because it’s one of the best produced horror titles available on the platform.
7 – WipEout Omega Collection
Whilst WipEout Omega Collection may have been released in 2017, its much anticipated VR update didn’t arrive until March 2018 and by crikey it was worth the wait. The intense speeds might be a bit too extreme for newcomers, but those with sturdy VR legs will get to enjoy one of, if not the finest racing game on PSVR.
The VR update for WipEout Omega Collection converts the whole game into VR so that means you get to thunder around 26 unique tracks, in single player or online multiplayer and it’s just as thrilling as you can imagine.
The graphics are first-rate and while you can play the game in VR in the traditional third person view, the best and most immersive way to experience the game is from within the cockpit. Here the game feels like Ready Player One come to life and the ability to turn your head to look out at your unfortunate opponents as you pass them after hammering them with rockets and cannon fire brings a heart pounding realism to the furious combat.
This is the future of gaming that you imagined back in 1995 when WipEout first came out and, as long as you have a PSVR headset and a DualShock controller, you can experience it right now. Oh and it also has The Prodigy on the soundtrack so really, that’s all you need to know.
6 – Beat Saber
For those unfamiliar, the workings of Beat Saber are brilliantly basic and basically brilliant. Red and blue blocks advance towards you on a track, Guitar Hero style, and you have to slice those blocks in half with your twin laser swords.
The difficulty comes in making sure you match the colour of the block to the colour of your sword, and the direction of your swing the to direction of the arrows on the blocks. It’s a simple premise but it’s one that works so well in VR because of the way the physicality of swinging the Move controllers immediately grounds you in the virtual world.
Seeing a laser sword buzz past your field of view as you wave your arm around brings your Jedi fantasies to life, and the gentle buzz of the force feedback in the controllers as you slice through each block boosts the sense of realism tenfold by creating a sense of impact. Oh, and then there’s the occasional laser wall that you need to dodge or duck under. These combined with the movements needed for block-cutting give the proceedings a dance-like quality that makes chopping to the beat of the music feel immensely satisfying.
Virtual reality is at its best when it’s wowing you with something new and original, and Beat Saber does just this, all whilst making your childhood dreams of becoming a jedi come true.
5 – The Persistence
Stealthy sci-fi scare-em-up, The Persistence is an ideal purchase for any VR horror fan out there and it’s easily my favourite horror game of the year, VR or not.
Not only do the interiors of the crippled starship The Persistence look and sound amazing with haunting lighting and nerve-rattling sound effects, unlike many other PSVR titles, the procedurally generated levels and rogue-lite elements also mean there’s also tonnes of replayability.
It’s obvious a lot of care and attention to detail has gone into crafting the experience because it looks and feels way more polished than a lot of other PSVR games on the market. There’s also so much stuff to play around with, from the wacky guns and glorious gadgets through to the suit and character upgrades that you can purchase every time you die.
There’s a steep learning curve at the start and for the faint of heart it might be a little too scary at times, but stick with it and once you learn the ropes you’ll find The Persistence offers way more in terms of gameplay than your average PSVR title.
4 – Tetris Effect
The story is always the same when you try to share your love for Tetris Effect in VR. You tell someone that they should play it because it’s amazing and they snort and go, ‘pfrrt, Tetris in VR?! What’s the point of that?’ But then you force them in to a headset and that’s the last you hear from them until they emerge an hour later with a look of enlightenment on their face.
You see, the pictures you imagine in your head and the video footage from trailers just don’t do this game justice at all. When you’re fully immersed in the Tetris Effect experience, when you’re pumping the incredible soundtrack through your headphones and when you’re pulse is racing because the speed of the level is increasing with the tempo of the music and you’re fighting to keep your block tower from reaching the top of the screen, that’s when you’ll truly understand.
It’s exciting, it’s emotional and it’s the best Tetris has ever been. Sure the asking price is a little high, but do I regret paying it? Hell no, this game is fantastic.
3 – Firewall Zero Hour
Firewall Zero Hour is technically my favourite game on the PSVR at the moment. It’s definitely the one I play the most, but, thanks to a litany of bugs and matchmaking woes it feels wrong to give it the coveted number one position in this list.
When Firewall Zero Hour works well it’s a phenomenal game that transfers the slow paced, tactical thrills of Rainbow Six Siege to an absolute belter of a VR multiplayer experience. Play it with the Aim controller for maximum immersion and you really will feel like a member of an elite special forces team as you push your way through locations, breach and clear rooms and down enemy players in tense 4v4 search and destroy matches.
If you’re looking for a game that can convince you that virtual reality is the future of gaming, then look no further, it really is that good. Played with a group of friends it’s a brilliant social experience, but even if you go in solo the incredibly friendly community playing the game will welcome you with open arms. Let’s just hope the developers can sort out the lobby issues and add a few more modes to Firewall to make this phenomenal game even better.
2 – Moss
Moss is easily one of the best looking titles available for the PSVR at the moment. The game is set in a stunningly realised storybook world that’s brought to life by the kind of polish that can only be achieved when creators have poured their hearts and souls into a project.
Our plucky heroine Quill is the highlight, of course, exquisitely animated and full of personality despite her tiny size, but she’s not the only star of the show. Moss makes you a part of the game too by casting you as your very own character called The Reader.
As this ghostly presence you not only have direct control over Quill, but you can also reach into the game world to push, pull and interact with objects. Or you could just stare lovingly at your own reflection in babbling brooks. These interactions give you a believable connection with the game world and help you form a bond with Quill in a way that just isn’t possible with traditional video games.
Moss is best played from a seated position but it encourages you to lean forward and explore the environment, as if you were inspecting a magical model village. This helps you spot hidden routes and collectables but more importantly it makes the world feel solid and real, Moss truly feels like a Studio Ghibli film come to life.
1 – Astrobot Rescue Mission
I hear the phrase “imagine what Nintendo could do with VR” a lot, but here’s the thing. With Astrobot Rescue Mission you don’t need to wait for Nintendo to get into VR because Astrobot Rescue Mission is the most Nintendo-like thing on the entire platform.
This incredible platformer really is the pinnacle of PSVR games and it’s not just because it looks and sounds incredible. It’s also down to the fact that it constantly reinvents what a 3D platformer can be, delighting the player time and time again with moments of pure magic that just cannot be replicated in traditional, flat games.
Each unique level just oozes imagination and playing through the story made me remember the days when Mario 64 blew my mind with its game-changing take on the series. Here though, it’s not just the main character who gets to experience the adventure, you’re as just as much a part of the game as Astro Bot and there are plenty of opportunities for you to interact with the stunning levels the Japan Studio has produced.
The best thing is though, Astro Bot is brilliant no matter who you are. It’s easy to get into and comfortable enough for newcomers to enjoy, but it’s also stuffed full of surprises that’ll wow even those of us with hundreds of virtual hours under our belts. You cannot play Astro Bot Rescue Mission and not smile from ear to ear as you do so, it’s that charming and it should be in the library of every PSVR owner out there.
Alrighty, thanks for making it to the end of this list, I hope you enjoyed it! Before I head off on my Christmas holidays I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported my VR coverage on Ian’s VR Corner over the last six months.
It may only have a relatively small following at the moment but I’m super grateful to those of you who’ve accompanied me on my journeys into virtual reality and hopefully, if we all can share our love for VR, the wonderful games in this list will be just the beginning of some amazing, game changing VR experiences in the future.
If you enjoyed this episode of Ian’s VR Corner, you can catch up with my previous adventures over on YouTube in our VR playlist, where I get silly with Kona VR, Salary Man Escape, The Exorcist: Legion VR, Killing Floor: Incursion, The Persistence, Detached, Pixel Ripped 1989, Rec Royale, Arizona Sunshine, Transference, Zone of The Enders 2, Downward Spiral: Horus Station, Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Evasion, Free-roam Zombie Survival, Home Sweet Home, Paper Dolls, Legends Of Catalonia: The Land Of Barcelona, Beat Saber, Arca’s Path VR and Gungrave VR.