Project Morpheus PS4 PlayStation 4 First Impressions
Image: Engadget

We've known about Project Morpheus – the PlayStation 4's proprietary virtual reality headset – for what feels like an eternity now, so we're definitely reaching that point where it's time for Sony to stop talking about the possibilities for the peripheral, and start proving why it's so important. Fortunately, the platform holder held an event in London earlier this week, and Alex Noon from Arekkz Gaming was in attendance to get some eyes-on time with the futuristic format.

Once we'd got over our raging jealousy, we decided to catch up with Alex in order to get his initial impressions on the device, which we've repurposed in full below. You'll also find complete video coverage on the Arekkz Gaming YouTube channel, which you can find through here. Speaking of which, be sure to swat that big glowing subscribe button while you're there – there's a Chocolate Hobnob in it for you if you do.

Without further ado, we'll hand you over to Alex:

The Best VR Headset I've Tried to Date

Project Morpheus PS4 Headset

At the most recent Project Morpheus event, I had the chance to go hands (and eyes) on with London Studio's London Heist and Guerrilla Cambridge's RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, and while I've had a chance to try a few other Project Morpheus titles at previous events, I feel that these two titles are really the best examples of just what VR is capable of.

I'll be honest and say that prior to trying Project Morpheus I'd always been sceptical of VR; having tried the original Oculus Rift dev kit, which was painfully uncomfortable, I assumed that Project Morpheus would be very much the same – an uncomfortable gimmick, if you will. However, the second that I put on the headset, I was proven wrong.

The Project Morpheus headset is the best VR headset that I've tried to date, and that's partly because it's so light, and also because the weight is properly distributed between the front and the back to avoid you feeling like you have a massive brick pulling your bonce down. The unit's also got this small gap – or slit – just at the bottom of the headset, so if you ever find yourself feeling motion sick or dizzy, you can simply look down and you see yourself, outside of the game world, which really helps to ground you. However, once you've had your first minute in the VR world, you won't really need to do this, because everything really starts falling into place and feeling natural.

London Heist Is Project Morpheus' Best All-Round Showcase

Starting with the London Heist, this is a great example of how both VR and motion controls can work well together. I've never really liked motion controls; whether it's Microsoft's Kinect, Nintendo's Wii Remote, or Sony's PlayStation Move controller – without a VR headset you spend most of your time waving around at a screen for a somewhat disjointed experience. Throw on a VR headset, however, and it all makes sense. Suddenly, you forget that you're waving around a coloured wand, and it instead becomes an extension of your hand; the trigger allows you to pick things up and drop things in a very real way, and paired with the ability to look around in 360-degrees, you really do feel like you're in the world.

London Heist offers three completely different experiences: the first is sitting down, in an interrogation sequence, where you encounter a pretty angry bald dude getting up in your grill – which is interesting because instinctively you attempt to lean away from him. You are then transported to a library or study where you're tasked with stealing a diamond, and at this point you're given freedom to move; you can walk around, albeit within a constrained area, but as you begin rummaging through the desks, picking up items, and peering over the edge, you forget that you're holding two PlayStation Move controllers and wearing a headset.

Fast-forward to the third part of the demo, and you're riding shotgun in a van being pursued by Russian mobsters; you can open the car door, lean out, change the radio station – everything that you'd naturally want to do in real life just works in VR, so if you get a chance to test out Morpheus, I'd say that London Heist is the best all-round showcase of how VR and motion controls can work in a game.

London Heist Project Morpheus Gameplay

Guerrilla's RIGS Is a Bit More Hardcore

RIGS: Mechanized Combat League is a lot more fast-paced, and takes a little more getting used to. As a shooter with a sporting twist, it's a much more hardcore experience, and you can tell that straight away simply by the fact that movement is handled by the DualShock 4. There's no messing around here – Guerrilla Cambridge knows that players still want a controller in hand for some of the precision that they're used to.

The game uses the controller to move, shoot, and switch between the three different specials, while all of the aiming and turning is done with the headset. As a huge fan of mech games, being able to pilot a giant mech in an arena against other players in VR is honestly a dream come true, and the game genuinely doesn't disappoint. While it takes a couple more minutes to pick up than the London Heist, once it does click, you'll find yourself sprinting around the arena like you've been playing the game for years. I think that that's one of the great things about VR – certain aspects that people have trouble with in games, like moving and controlling a camera simultaneously, is suddenly made so much easier, because we all know how to move our heads.

RIGS: Mechanized Combat League Project Morpheus Gameplay

Are you any more tempted by Project Morpheus after reading some first-hand impressions? What will it take to make you consider the accessory? What sort of games would you like to see supported by the device? Enter another world in the comments section below.

Will you be buying Project Morpheus at launch? (91 votes)

  1. Yes, there’s no question about it22%
  2. Possibly, but it depends on the price35%
  3. I'd like to see more games before I decide13%
  4. I’m open to it, but would like to try it out first20%
  5. No, I don’t think that VR is for me10%

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