Rez may have started life on the Dreamcast all the way back in 2001, but veteran Tetsuya Mizuguchi's synaesthesia shooter has finally found its true home on PlayStation VR. Despite being released on dozens of platforms over the past decade-and-a-half – including, of course, the PlayStation 2 – it feels like those versions were mere dress rehearsals. Y'see, Rez Infinite is not only the definitive edition of a cult classic – it's also the first must-own virtual reality game.
Now you can certainly play this without looking like the long-lost third member of Daft Punk, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you did. The game looks great on a television, with spruced-up textures bringing fresh visual flare to this turn-of-the-century title – but allow its wireframe worlds to engulf you, and it's a different beast entirely. Crank up your headphones and let the beat pulse through you, and you'll border on an out-of-body experience.
Too much? Probably, but the point is that this title is able to elicit trance-like experiences. The gameplay itself is basic but brilliant; you move a cursor using the left analogue stick (or your noggin in VR), and hold the X button to lock-in the recipients of your heat-seeking missiles. Enemies move in waves, surrounding your metamorphosing main character, and forcing you to take them out in groups rather than individually. Oh, and every action that you take adds to the soundscape.
It's just an incredible all-around sensory experience: the controller pulsates, the visuals pulsate, the sound pulsates – and you'll be gleefully bobbing your head along in harmony. No more is this true during the boss fights, which occupy multiple stages, and range from a voxel-based human sprinting across a graphic equaliser all the way through to a giant octopus-esque creature with dangerous tendrils. The spectacle is unbelievable – again, especially with PlayStation VR.
But nowhere better does the new medium shine than in the all-new Area X environment, which is a kind of modern day reimagining of the Rez experience where you can fly freely rather than follow a set-path, and gaze upon the gorgeous chaos that's unfolding in front of you. It's a genius addition, and it gives us hope that Rez may finally get that full-scale sequel that it's always deserved – or at the very least some kind of spiritual successor from developer Enhance Games.
But in the here and now, there are few better titles that demonstrate PlayStation VR's ability to offer true escapism. While the action's intense, we never encountered any issues with nausea – this game just works, and no matter what else is going on in the real world, it takes you to somewhere different. The threadbare narrative may be a little over-the-top – culminating in the existential acid trip that is Area 5 – but it doesn't really matter, because this game's fiction is all about the way it makes you feel.
Magnificent many years after its original release, Rez Infinite finally feels at home on PlayStation VR – and virtual reality has got its first killer app. A sensational sensory overload, this sublime shooter may be short-lived, but you'll be hard pushed to find an experience more deserving of your attention this year.