There’s no visible ray tracing while you’re playing in virtual reality, but you still get an eye-full of that realistic lighting during replays, which are projected on the PS VR2’s simulated 2D screen. You can also get an up-close look at the cars in your garage, which use ray tracing to deliver achingly perfect reflections and shadows. It’s the closest you’ll get without stepping into a luxury car dealer.
When it comes to Resident Evil Village, I expected Capcom to deliver a worthwhile VR experience after seeing what it did with RE7, one of the best titles on the original PS VR. Well, the company didn’t disappoint. Thanks to the increased horsepower of the PlayStation 5, and the higher fidelity of the PS VR2, Resident Evil Village is transformed into a living nightmare in virtual reality. There should be a warning for people already skittish of survival horror games: Play at your own peril.
Just like with Gran Turismo 7, virtual reality lets you appreciate the work that went into Resident Evil Village in entirely new ways. Walking through the game’s creepy Eastern European village is even more chilling when it fills your field of view. You can always look away from a 2D screen, in VR you’re forced to confront the horrors in front of you. (Sometimes closing your eyes isn’t enough, not when you can hear the werewolf-like creatures skittering around the cottage you’re hiding in.)
Since it’s a first-person game, Resident Evil Village acquits itself well to VR. Exploration is smooth and not nausea-inducing, thankfully. And fighting off the game’s various baddies is all the more thrilling when you’re realistically aiming guns and other weapons. And yes, Lady Dimitrescu, the tall vampire woman who launched a thousand memes on the internet, is indeed very tall and imposing in VR.
I didn’t have time to play through all of Resident Evil Village in virtual reality, but my first few hours with the game left a striking impression. Perhaps the future of virtual reality depends more on games like this, which can be enjoyed both as traditional 2D titles and with immersive headsets. We looked to Half Life Alyx to prove flagship VR games were possible. But what if we just need to think about bringing VR into more flagship games?
The more time I spent with the PS VR2, the more frustrated I became with the state of the virtual reality industry. Everything I said in my review remains true: VR feels stagnant, and another expensive headset isn’t going to fix that. Maybe it’s okay if VR gaming never truly becomes mainstream, just like how not everyone plays racing games with steering wheels, or people can enjoy fighting games without expensive arcade sticks. Perhaps VR can just be another accessory — albeit one that takes a significant amount of development resources to support.
Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village both prove that the PlayStation VR2 is a gateway to truly immersive virtual reality gaming. But a part of me still dreams for PC compatibility. While it’s understandable why Sony may want to lock down its hardware, it’s sort of like forcing a lion to live in a small zoo. The PS VR2 can’t truly roar until it taps into the wild world of PC VR, which offers more experimental games and far faster graphical hardware than the PS5. If Sony ever wants to return to its innovator roots, it needs to take more chances.
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