While the PlayStation VR2 launch lineup isn’t filled with a wide array of new and unique experiences, it is packed with a lot of great ports. Many of these are music games, which have quickly become a VR staple due to the success of Beat Saber and other rhythm-based titles, and thankfully, PS VR2 manages to do all of these games justice, unlike its predecessor.
Movement-based virtual reality titles were often a pain in the original PS VR due to its poor tracking. However, rhythm games like Ragnarock, Pistol Whip, and Synth Riders really demonstrate how much better PS VR2 is. Ragnarock features impressive hand tracking as it relies on the player to use drum to the beat of the music to invigorate the Viking ship that they’re on. It’s a basic experience, but one that is made all the more thrilling since you’re actually viewing the beats come toward you and slamming away to the beat with exaggerated movements.
Unplugged: Air Guitar is another more traditional title that showcases how well rhythm games can work in VR. While you look undeniably goofy while playing, you feel almost like a rock god when strumming an imaginary pick and moving your other hand around the virtual neck of a guitar. It all results in an engrossing rhythm game that uses the medium well to do something that plastic instruments can’t do, even though there are a few tracking issues (which seem like more a problem with the game and not the hardware given how dependable the tracking is otherwise).
Pistol Whip and Synth Riders go a step further since these rhythm titles are much more action-based and require constant movement, which make them aurally pleasing ways to get some cardio in. If the tracking broke at any moment, then it could make a solid run go down the drain — something PS VR players were all too accustomed to — and the fact that it is spot-on really underlines how much better Sony’s latest headset is. Rather than getting a compromised version of a great game that is better elsewhere, PS VR2 provides a top-notch experience.
Two of the original PlayStation VR’s early standouts are also a joy on PS VR2 as Rez Infinite and Thumper both take full advantage of the upgraded tech. Rez Infinite plays better than ever thanks to its impressive use of eye tracking, which allows players to aim purely through sight in the on-rails shooter. It’s incredibly accurate and quicker than the other aiming methods (either through head tracking or the Sense controllers).
While Thumper doesn’t feature such a leap due to its traditional gameplay, the much higher quality 4K screen allows players to get fully immersed and get into a proper groove in the “rhythm violence” game, which features a space beetle going down an intergalactic highway filled with death traps. Both Thumper and Rez are a true spectacle to behold and are must-play titles despite being ports of well-established games at this stage.
While not a traditional rhythm game by any means, music is still a huge aspect of another one of PS VR2’s best games, Tetris Effect. When played in virtual reality, the fresh twist on the classic puzzle game becomes a dazzling and encompassing audiovisual experience. Fully absorbed in the colorful stages, the music combines with the visuals to create a memorable and oftentimes emotional experience that one wouldn’t normally associate with dropping blocks. And since the extravagance is such a big part of the experience, PS VR2’s haptic feedback and better visual fidelity mean that Tetris Effect‘s, well, effects are able to shine even more brightly.
With some major rhythm games still on the horizon like Beat Saber (and one other in this launch, Drums Rock), and surely more to come in the upcoming years, it’s clear that PlayStation VR2 is a worthwhile pick-up for those looking who are drawn to musical games. Their quality stands out as well as their variety, as almost every single one provides some unique take on the rhythm genre whether it be shooting baddies to the beat or being the musical inspiration for a bunch of rowing Viking. While the overall launch lineup has its shortcomings, music games are undoubtedly thriving on Sony’s headset in these early days.
Disclosure: Publishers provided codes for Tetris Effect, Unplugged: Air Guitar, Ragnarock, Thumper, and Rez Infinite.