The most anticipated thing for me going into PAX East was the chance to finally try VR for myself.
I had never put on a VR headset of any kind before this event. My PC is a little shy of being able to run Oculus Rift or Vive and the thought of building a new system at this time is out of the question. That leaves Sony as my realistic option, since I already have a PS4 and a couple Move controllers stashed away. So, off to Sony’s extravagant VR booth I went.
I walked up to the booth entrance to get in the line for a next-available-game demo. Being able to have that hour early access for media was a Godsend because the way their phone app worked to queue people up for demos turned out to be a nightmare. It was still a lengthy wait, but I didn’t mind very much because I was going to see what all the hype was about.
Without the ability to pick which game I wanted to try, I was slightly disappointed that the demo I was ushered to wasn’t Rez. Still, it was exciting to sit in that chair with the headset waiting for me. The gentleman explained to me how the headset went on with a three step process. Pull the headband back, tighten with a dial, and slide the goggles to my eyes. I wish I could say that this moment was magical, but I found the image to be a bit blurry. The attendant suggested moving the goggles a little to make it clear. After trying a few things, I determined that it was simply the fact that the resolution of the headset is just lower than what I’ve grown accustomed to with HDTV. My disappointment continued when I was told that the game I was about to play, Wayward Sky, was a third person point and click adventure. It sounded like a waste of what VR could do.
Moving passed my initial negativity, I actually was impressed by the experience. The head tracking felt responsive and the ability to look all the way around was surreal. I quickly realized that I was so distracted by this immersive feeling that I found I wasn’t focused on what was going on. Once I was able to control my character, I pointed to the spot to walk to or the item of interest to manipulate. There were some light puzzle elements in the demo. Turn this, pull that, move something to another location. Nothing awe inspiring, but fun novelty in this setting.
Before I knew it, the experience was over and I was back in the real world. I thanked the man for his time and vacated the seat for the next guest. I did need a few minutes to feel completely readjusted, but I felt good afterwards. Nothing like some of the tales I’ve read about debilitating motion sickness. Now that I think about it, the amount of motion that this game offered might have been perfect for a first timer. Perhaps Wayward Sky was the right choice for me afterall.