Similarly, the PS Move controllers – which had originally been introduced in 2010 on the PS3 – proved unfit for purpose, as they largely lacked the precision required for a truly tactile experience, and lost position whenever blocked from the view of the PS Camera, eliminating the potential for the 360-degree room scale experiences available on alternative devices.
The product was largely successful, selling several million units and continuing to receive meaningful software support up to this very day, but its flaws have been exposed over time, and we’re overdue something new. That’s where
comes in, a next-generation virtual reality headset designed specifically for PS5 – but is it a meaningful upgrade? PSVR2
On this page:
PSVR2 Review: Is It Worth It? 1. PSVR2 Review: In a Nutshell 2. PSVR2 Review: Hardware 2.1. Contents in the Box 2.2. Tech Specs 2.3. Assembly and Setup 2.4. Comfort and Motion Sickness 2.5. PSVR2 Sense Controllers 3. PSVR2 Review: Games 3.1. Horizon Call of the Mountain 3.2. Gran Turismo 7 3.3. Drums Rock 3.4. Kayak VR: Mirage 3.5. Moss 3.6. Pistol Whip 3.7. Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge 4. PSVR2 Review: User Interface and Cinematic Mode 4.1. User Interface 4.2. Cinematic Mode 5. PSVR2 Review: Is It Worth It? PSVR2 Review: In a Nutshell
Image: Push Square
PSVR2 addresses almost all of the criticisms and complaints aimed at the original PSVR, working in tandem with the PS5 to deliver an unprecedented sensory experience. While the single cable may potentially irritate wireless stalwarts, the setup is streamlined and simplistic, enabling you to dive into virtual reality experiences within minutes.
The new PSVR2 Sense Controllers work flawlessly, accurately tracking the position of your hands in true 3D space, even when you’re reaching behind your back or turning away from your television screen. Much like the DualSense, they also enhance your connection with the game world, by providing adaptive triggers and tactile haptic feedback – a feature which expands to the headset as well.
While the hardware may come with serious sticker shock, Sony is not overcharging for this cutting-edge accessory, which comfortably provides the very best virtual reality visuals to date – including on high-end PCs. The high-resolution HDR panel is capable of seriously impressive clarity, and when paired with the well-documented features of the PS5 – such as its lightning-fast SSD – it takes on a new life.
We'll be bringing you reviews for almost all of PSVR2's launch games through launch and beyond, so stay tuned — Images: Push Square
The platform holder also deserves credit for pushing the boundaries of virtual reality forward: eye-tracking technology, for example, not only unlocks new gameplay opportunities – but also enables developers to explore features like foveated rendering, where the grunt of the PS5’s power can be focused on the things you’re actually looking at, as opposed to those in your peripheral vision.
A minimal screen door effect, little to no light bleed, and a comfortable, well-balanced design round out a thoughtful piece of hardware, which has clearly been built in response to seven years of PSVR feedback. Now the impetus is on software teams, both big and small, to paint with the canvas PlayStation has provided, and build memorable games only possible in virtual reality.
PSVR2 Review: Hardware
PSVR2’s primary purpose is to provide true virtual escapism, meaning the physical components of the package should ideally fade away while you’re playing. Despite this, we suspect if you’re podding out for the hardware, you’re going to want to know a little more about the form and function of the product, and we’ve got that covered in this section of our PSVR2 review.
Contents in the Box
Image: Push Square
PSVR2’s unboxing experience is largely unremarkable, but this is testament to the streamlined nature of the product compared to its predecessor. A relatively light printed wrapper makes way to a sturdy cardboard box, with a single removable component inside. This houses key documentation – such as a quick start manual and warranty information – as well as a USB charging cable and a pair of wired ear buds. At the bottom of the box are two PSVR2 Sense Controllers, included with every PSVR2 purchase, and the headset itself.
The following items are included in the box:
1x PSVR2 Headset
2x PSVR2 Sense Controllers
1x USB charging cable
1x stereo headphones
1x instruction booklet
There are two observations that should be acknowledged here. Firstly, consistent with Sony’s goal of becoming more environmentally friendly, the entirety of the packaging can be recycled, which is obviously a positive thing. Secondly, if you don’t decide to dispose of it, it can double as a rudimentary storage case, as it’s incredibly easy to reinsert any of the components when out of use. While both of these aspects are minor in the grand scheme of things, they do demonstrate a thoughtfulness which is consistent across the entire PSVR2 experience.
Image: Push Square
PSVR2 is far and away the most advanced virtual reality headset currently on the market, most notably due to its high-resolution HDR panel and inclusion of eye-tracking. It should also be noted that, while some may consider its wired approach a drawback, its ability to lean into the PS5’s significant hardware power enables it to achieve visuals impossible in standalone solutions, such as the Meta Quest 2.
The table below demonstrates how PSVR2 stacks up against its predecessor and rival virtual reality headsets across a variety of categories:
Meta Quest 2 (Oculus Quest 2)
Resolution 2000x2040 per eye
1832x1920 per eye
1600x1440 per eye
960x1080 per eye
Refresh Rate 120hz, 90hz
Field of View ~110-degrees
Cameras Four for inside-out tracking of PSVR2 Sense Controllers
Four for inside-out tracking of Oculus Touch Controllers
One for Room View
Valve Sensors 2.0
Motion Controllers PSVR2 Sense Controllers with haptic feedback, finger touch detection, and adaptive triggers
Oculus Touch Controllers
Valve Index Controllers
PS Move motion controllers
Connection Single USB-C cable
Audio Built-in microphone and stereo headphone jack
Built-in microphone, integrated audio, and stereo headphone jack
Built-in microphone, integrated audio, and stereo headphone jack
Built-in microphone and stereo headphone jack
Force Feedback Rumble motor
Processor Not applicable, as PSVR2 offloads its processing to PS5
Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
Not applicable, as Valve Index offloads its processing to a PC
Not applicable, as PSVR offloads its processing to PS5 or PS4
Storage Space Not applicable
Battery Life Not applicable
Headset Weight ~560 grams
Price Starts at $549.99
Starts at $399.99
Starts at $999.99
Starts at $299.99
Assembly and Setup
Image: Push Square
Compared to the nightmarish hellscape of its predecessor, PSVR2’s setup is near non-existent. Once unboxed, all you need to do is connect the USB-C cable to the appropriate port on the front of the PS5 console, and power the headset on by pushing a button stationed just on the bottom of the unit. This button is indented and can be a little difficult to push in if you have larger fingers, but it’s a minor niggle at most. We’re also a little concerned how loose the cable can feel when plugged in, but we’re yet to accidentally yank it out.
The headset is thoughtfully integrated into the PS5’s user interface, and on-screen instructions will guide you through a variety of starter steps, such as tethering the two PSVR2 Sense Controllers and the correct way to wear the headset. The design is similar to the original PSVR, allowing you to move out the visor and release the rear strap, then tighten them around your face to get a comfortable fit. There is enough room for prescription glasses if you need them, but more on that later.
One new feature that’s part of the PSVR2 setup process is the ability to create a play area by simply looking around your surroundings and allowing the headset to scan for any obstacles, like tables or chairs. This is important because, when you’re in-game, the headset will notify you when you’re coming close to the boundaries of your play area, reducing the likelihood of an accident occurring. You can create custom play areas for both seated and standing experiences, and you can also select the temporary play area option if you’re planning to travel with your headset or move it into different rooms.
Another convenient addition to Sony’s new headset is the ability to enable a camera passthrough view, which will give you a monochrome image of your surroundings. You can turn this on at any time by pushing a button at the bottom of the headset, just to the right of the power button. This is great if you want to have a drink, speak to a family member, or even tighten up the straps of your PSVR2 Sense Controllers without turning the headset off. Most games pause automatically when you enable the passthrough, so you won’t lose any progress.
It should be noted that PSVR2 does require some light to work properly. Where the original PSVR headset struggled in bright environments, PSVR2 will simply not function in low light rooms, as the cameras can’t adequately identify your play space. This can be solved by switching on a lamp, but it’s still worth pointing out if you’re the kind of person who usually games without any ambient lighting.
Comfort and Motion Sickness
Image: Push Square
The original PSVR was not without its shortcomings, but one aspect Sony nailed were the ergonomics and comfort of the unit. This continues with PSVR2, which is a little lighter than its predecessor, and beautifully balanced in the same way. The rear adjustable strap – which uses a spring-like mechanism to tighten around your head – is generously cushioned, while the soft rubber around the lenses completely blocks out any external light. There’s even a small fan on the inside of the headset which helps keep you (and the headset) cool and exhausts any hot air back out into your room, but do keep in mind that the field of view is still somewhat limited, so you will see some darkness in your peripheral vision.
You can adjust the distance between the lenses and your face, so it’s possible to wear prescription glasses within the headset, but obviously it’s going to feel cosy if you go down this route. We tested it and it seemed like a fine way to play, but it’s perhaps no surprise you’re going to have a
more comfortable experience if you have the ability to wear contact lenses or leave your glasses off entirely.
Image: Push Square
Despite the overall improvements to resolution and image quality, motion sickness is still an issue – depending on the games you play.
Horizon Call of the Mountain, for example, includes a smorgasbord of comfort options, allowing you to enable vignettes when you’re moving, rotation snapping, and much more. Obviously, it’s down to the individual software developers to design their games in such a way that they can be enjoyed by the mass market, but there’s no question virtual reality games are more intense than traditional titles, and so they’re generally best enjoyed in short bursts.
That’s not to say you can’t marathon PSVR2 if you want to, and those who’ve been using virtual reality headsets for longer will likely have built up a good resistance to motion sickness anyway. But we did find ourselves experiencing a little eyestrain during extended sessions, which we suspect is just par for the course when your eyes are pinned against a fairly bright display just a few centimetres away. The screen door effect is minimal, and you can turn down the brightness if you find the HDR a little too overwhelming, but just be aware that some software may still make you feel queasy at times.
One other thing worth mentioning is that the cable is largely a non-issue, as we’re yet to get tangled up in it during gameplay. You can, perhaps, feel it from time to time dangling over your shoulder – but it’s not the deal-breaker it’s been painted to be. Obviously it’s inferior to the true freedom enabled by alternatives like the Meta Quest 2, but you get over four metres of cord to work with, and our biggest issue so far has been successfully reeling it up when storing the headset away.
PSVR2 Sense Controllers
Image: Push Square
While the headset itself represents a remarkable improvement over its predecessors, the new PSVR2 Sense Controllers are just as important to the overall experience. These work in tandem with the cameras on the visor to determine their location, rather than a fixed point. This means that you can safely move around your play area or even turn 360-degrees without the software losing your position, which is a stark improvement over the PS Move wands.
The controllers mirror each other, with the square and triangle buttons on the left pad and cross and circle buttons on the right pad. Around the side of the handles, where you grip it, are the L1 and R1 buttons, while there’s an analogue stick on each individual unit for more traditional locomotion; these are identical in design to the DualSense, but are a little dinkier in size. The triggers employ the same adaptive resistance technology as the PS5’s primary input method, allowing developers to program unique textures for different weapons or scenarios. And both pads feature the same excellent haptic feedback that you’ll be familiar with from the main console.
The face buttons have a noticeable clack to them, a little more like the Nintendo Switch’s Joy Cons, which we personally like. Meanwhile, the PlayStation button – which turns on each controller and brings up the home screen – fits flush to the surface of the pad, and requires a little effort to push. We’re not a huge fan of how difficult this is to press, but on the positive side it means you’re unlikely to accidentally hit it during gameplay, which would be immersion breaking.
Image: Push Square
Both of the controllers are surrounded by a ring, which helps with tracking but also enables rudimentary finger tracking. Effectively, the controllers can detect when your fingers are covering specific buttons, allowing you to do simple gestures in-game like pointing with your index finger or sticking a thumb up. This isn’t perfect, and just repositioning your fingers can cause “flickering” in some games, as your digital digits fidget about while the software tries to figure out what you’re actually doing in real-life. But it’s a nice touch and another demonstration of how far the technology has advanced.
The only downside is that, with battery life limited to about four to five hours, you’re probably going to find yourself charging the PSVR2 Sense Controllers every couple of gaming sessions. And because you need to charge each unit independently, you almost need to plan ahead. We’d recommend you invest in Sony’s official charging dock if you intend to play a lot; the alternative would be to splash out on a USB plug socket and use the charging cables included with both the PS5 and the headset to charge the two controllers simultaneously.
It should be added that, while all of the games we’ve tested thus far have required the PSVR2 Sense Controllers, some virtual reality releases can also be played with the DualSense. The upcoming update for
Gran Turismo 7, for example, can be played using the traditional PS5 pad or a steering wheel. This provides developers with the flexibility to use more traditional control schemes if they choose to, but the emphasis will clearly be on the motion controllers. PSVR2 Review: Games
We’ve already established that Sony’s built by far the most advanced virtual reality headset on the market with PSVR2, but it wouldn’t count for much without games to play. While you’ll find full reviews for almost all titles across
in the lead up to launch and beyond, we wanted to specifically highlight some key releases in this section of our PSVR2 review, with a view to illustrating how they specifically leverage the unique features and functionality of the hardware. Push Square
PSVR2’s tentpole title from Firesprite and Guerrilla Games, spin-off Horizon Call of the Mountain is likely the first release many will play. The game – designed from the ground-up exclusively for the next-gen headset – is a true visual tour-de-force, demonstrating what’s possible when you pair virtual reality with Sony’s powerful PS5 console.
A platformer, rather than an open world RPG like its more traditional counterparts, you’ll play as a new protagonist named Ryas, who’s billed as a master climber within the franchise’s fiction. And exceptional use of the PSVR2 Sense Controllers will make you feel this way, too, as you reach for ledges and gradually unlock a toolkit of climbing equipment, ranging from pickaxes through to grappling hooks and beyond. Despite being a surprisingly physical experience, the campaign is paced nicely, often pausing to allow you to soak up immaculate vistas, which seemingly sprawl for miles.
While the level design is largely linear, the game is populated with highly interactive objects, like musical instruments you can fiddle with or even a paintbrush you can use to embrace your inner-artist. The combat, which restricts you to a circle to help you keep track of the game’s giant enemies, is a bit of a lowlight – but the emphasis is far and away on the platforming, which is astoundingly visceral given some of the heights you’ll reach.
A remarkable sense of scale, from both the synthetic animals you encounter right down to the little clusters of moss you’ll spot growing on top of walls you’re navigating, make this a truly jaw-dropping experience at times. Meanwhile, use of all the PSVR2’s functions, from the haptic feedback within the headset itself through to the 3D audio mix, help sell the overall immersion of the experience to impressive effect.
Let’s not beat around the bush: Gran Turismo 7 is
extraordinary with PSVR2. The game’s menus remain unchanged, and are presented on a simulated screen in Cinematic Mode, but the whole experience comes alive when you’re behind the wheel. It needs to be underlined that this is the entire game, with very few perceptible compromises, presented with pin-sharp picture quality in virtual reality.
You can play with either the DualSense controller or a compatible steering wheel, and the experience is unrivalled. Being able to physically perceive the depth of corners massively adds to the realism of the gameplay, while the sense of speed in some of the release’s high-end vehicles beggars belief. This is a true next-gen experience, and if it’s a taste of what we can expect from PSVR2 in the future, then we’re practically salivating at the prospect.
A fairly simple
Guitar Hero-inspired rhythm game, Drums Rock is surprisingly one of the best demonstrations of the haptic feedback in the PSVR2 Sense Controllers. This game allows you to multiply your score by tossing your drumsticks around and clacking them together between notes, and our mind has been blown by how realistic it feels hitting the sticks together.
In fact, the sensory experience in this game is superb across the board. While it never really pushes the PS5’s power with its visuals, the title is incredibly tactile; even though you’re effectively drumming thin air, it feels like you have snares and toms laid out in front of you. This is promising because one issue with past virtual reality headsets has been the disconnect between your actions in-game and the lack of physical feedback they incur, but Drums Rock nails it in an unexpected way.
While you’ll find a lot of high octane arcade games in PSVR2’s launch lineup, Kayak VR: Mirage is comfortable letting you unwind. While the game does feature pulsating time trial modes, its core content gives you the freedom to explore on open waters. Whether you’re perched among the idyllic ice caves of Antarctica or paddling alongside dolphins in Costa Rica, this is the kind of game where you can just pick a spot and drink in the views.
Of course, the actual kayaking is the key mechanic here, and this simply wouldn’t be possible without the improved tracking of the PSVR2 Sense Controllers. There are simulation and arcade options, with the latter being a little more lenient. You’re still going to need to make accurate strokes if you want to get anywhere, though, and it takes genuine practice and skill to get your watercraft moving in the direction you want it to.
In many ways, Moss – and its sequel – are the perfect games to appreciate the improvements of PSVR2, because they both already performed exceptionally well on Sony’s original headset. The difference is stark, though: the results border on remaster, evident from the opening scene of the first game where you’re standing in a giant cathedral, thumbing through a large antique book which sets up the plot.
Once you’re in the game, the release’s diorama scenes look sumptuous. You’re able to lean in and observe protagonist Quill and the world around her in outstanding detail, and the headset will even vibrate during select moments, like when a large bird flies overhead. While the original controlled adequately with the DualShock 4, the PSVR2 Sense Controllers provide a more accurate control method, which makes physically reaching into the world that touch more responsive.
Beat Saber really put virtual reality on the map with its unique rhythm gameplay, and PSVR subsequently became the home of several outstanding music games. Pistol Whip continued this trend with its movie-inspired, gun-fu gameplay – it’s effectively John Wick, with the twist that you need to time your bullets to the beat.
Playing with PSVR2 adds a bit of glitz to the entire experience, which brings the game’s vivid landscapes to life. One neat feature we noticed is that as you bob-and-weave between bullets Keanu Reeves-style, you’ll physically feel the projectiles whiz past your face, thanks to the haptic feedback built into the headset itself.
An older virtual reality experience, originally released on Meta Quest, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge somewhat shows its age. Make no mistake, the game is deeply interactive – providing you with a variety of tools, including a jet-pack – but the game design is a little awkward, and it’s not always clear what the release wants from you or where it wants you to go. While it’s impressive how interactive the adventure is, it doesn’t feel as well-honed as Horizon Call of the Mountain, which is building on a couple more years of virtual reality gameplay iteration.
Despite this, the developer has done a lot of work to tune the experience specifically for PSVR2, and this means all of the in-game instruments feel unique through the PSVR2 Sense Controllers due to smart use of haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers. The combat sequences are also pulsating, as the enhanced fidelity of Sony’s next-gen headset makes you feel like you’re truly engaged in skirmishes with intergalactic grunts.
PSVR2 Review: User Interface and Cinematic Mode
While you’ll be spending most of your time with PSVR2 playing virtual reality games, Sony has made some small and smart adjustments to the PS5’s user interface to make it sing when you have the headset on – and this extends to the return of Cinematic Mode, which allows you to play traditional games on a simulated television screen. We’ll discuss both of these aspects in this section of our PSVR2 review.
Image: Push Square
Outside of the initial setup procedure, which teaches you how to properly wear the PSVR2 headset and also helps you to setup temporary and permanent play areas, there’s very little that’s different about the PS5’s user interface in virtual reality. However, the platform holder has made some intelligent adjustments that tune the experience for greater comfort when you’re wearing the device.
For example, when you push the PlayStation button, you’ll bring up a floating version of the Control Centre, as you’d expect. But unlike on the console, where this is presented as a static string of options, it’s actually displayed as a rotating list of icons in virtual reality, allowing the interface to remain stationary in the centre of your vision. While this is a minor tweak, we think it’s a smart one, as it allows you to access all of the information you need, without having to physically look around for it.
A new Activity Card has also been added, which includes global PSVR2 settings. From here you can change the brightness of the screen, or even recalibrate the eye-tracking feature. Everything is easily accessible, and you’ll never be pushing more than a few buttons to get to where you need to be. It’s all completely consistent with the existing PS5 interface, too, meaning you don’t have to relearn how to do anything. And as the PSVR2 Sense Controllers have physical buttons and analogue sticks, you can navigate all of the options exactly the same as you would with a DualSense, too.
All of the core, fundamental functionality of the PS5 is present and correct in virtual reality, including the ability to create screenshots, access
Game Help where supported, and join parties. We haven’t tested it at the time of writing, but PSVR2 has a built-in microphone you can use for voice chat in online games, and if you own a PS5 HD Camera, you can add your camera feed to videos – allowing you to immortalise your reactions to major gameplay moments. PS Plus Cinematic Mode
Image: Push Square
While your main reason for purchasing PSVR2 should be for virtual reality games, Sony has once again added a Cinematic Mode, which allows you to play traditional games on a simulated television screen. You can adjust the size of this screen using the Activity Card mentioned above, but at its biggest we’re talking well over a hundred inches, suspended in a black void. (There’s no theatre-style environment or anything like that.)
The resolution does take a hit if you’re used to playing on a 4K television, but it’s much improved compared to the original PSVR, and we’re confident saying the output is at least 1080p. As a result, visuals are sharp, and the text on menus and in subtitles is generally crisp and clear. The colours are also vibrant owing to the headset’s use of a HDR screen, and frame rates feel blisteringly fast thanks to the panel’s impressive refresh rate.
We can't illustrate the scale here, but Jumping Flash!'s primitive polygons look incredible on a giant cinema screen — Image: Push Square
We spent a bit of time playing
Genshin Impact and Horizon Forbidden West with the simulated screen at its largest, and we found it to be a pretty good experience. We did encounter a little bit of drift over time, and had to recalibrate our position by holding the Options button. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need to wear headphones plugged into the PSVR2 headset while using Cinematic Mode, as no audio will output through your television or traditional speaker setup.
Personally, it’s not how we’d choose to consume non-VR content, as we like the added clarity of our 4K television. Furthermore, while we found the PSVR2 generally quite comfortable to wear, it’s obviously not as comfortable as having nothing attached to your face at all. Nevertheless, with the passthrough feature allowing you to reconnect with the real world when you need to, and with the overall improved image quality compared to the original PSVR, this is a viable way to play.
We should add that, at the time of writing, there’s currently no way to play 3D Blu-rays or 360 degree videos on the PSVR2 headset. However, we’ve found the image quality in Cinematic Mode to be spectacular during Blu-ray movies – and we’ve also enjoyed the quality of content on a couple of streaming services, including Crunchy Roll and Netflix.
PSVR2 Review: Is It Worth It?
Rest assured, this is the hardest selfie we've ever had to take — Image: Push Square
PSVR2 is incredible, and so it’s hard not to feel a shred of sympathy for Sony giving the timing of the device’s release. Obviously, this is an organisation turning over billions of dollars, so we won’t shed too many tears – but for the talented engineering team that’s spent seven years refining the firm’s original virtual reality headset, this product feels like it’s potentially launching at the wrong moment. And that’s a shame, because despite its eye-watering price tag, this truly next-gen effort is not overpriced.
PSVR2 improves on all of the flaws of its predecessor, while still retaining the positives, like how comfortable it is to wear. The Japanese giant’s done an outstanding job streamlining the setup procedure and overhauling its input methods, incorporating many of the headline features from the DualSense to provide an unprecedentedly visceral experience. In addition to all of that, it’s also incorporated truly innovative features, like eye-tracking, which not only promise to unlock new gameplay possibilities – but also improve the overall visual fidelity of supported software titles.