PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

We will give you a review of the VR headset for PS5, and PlayStation VR2, which will be released on February 22nd.

Following the hardware overview and setup, this time about the actual usability that I tried with the launch title "Horizon Call of The Mountain", which is also included in the bundled version.

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

"Horizon Call of The Mountain" is a first-person VR game that traverses the mountains of the "Horizon" world and fights giant mechanical beasts. It is a title where you can check the interface using eye tracking, which is the biggest technical topic of PS VR2, and the effect of foveate rendering that raises the graphic performance.

(Note: There are no serious spoilers about the progress of the story, but I will touch on the outline of the game and the development of the early stages. If you want to play completely without prior information, including the elements that have been officially released, skip to the summary at the bottom. please.)

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

"Horizon Call of the Mountain" is a spin-off work of the open-world RPG "Horizon" series, which has now become a signature work for PlayStation.

A thousand years after the collapse of modern civilization due to a mysterious catastrophe, the world is dominated by strange machine beasts, and human beings survive by forming a tribal society.

What gained popularity was the scene of the North American continent, where the ruins of old civilizations such as rotting skyscrapers were covered with wild nature and t

he vivid visuals of mechanical beasts known as "Machines" that rampage across the water, land, and air. In the main story Horizon, the action of hunting dinosaurs and large mammal-type mechanical beasts with bows and spears, various traps and tools, and the story of approaching the truth of the catastrophe around the earth a thousand years later was also very attractive.

This work "Horizon Call of the Mountain" has become a highly immersive first-person VR, and the presence and power of these mechanical beasts are overwhelming. If you look up from your feet, you can actually feel the gigantic size of the machine beast "Tall Neck", which was one of the highlights in the main story, with a total height of 10 meters.

The player is Reias, a warrior of the "Shadow Carja tribe" who was hostile to the main character Alloy, and a mountain climbing master. He is given a mission to atone for his sins, and he will challenge the steep terrain and fight machine beasts using bows and items.

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

If you play the main part of the series, you will have the pleasure of encountering familiar mechanical beasts and characters again from a subjective point of view, as if the world of Horizon has been recreated in an elaborate theme park.

(Serious spoiler: Aloy face-to-face in HD VR, insanely beautiful and cute)

# Faithful to the manners of subjective VR action + fresh elements

Regarding the basic operation, it is a culmination of subjective VR games that faithfully incorporates the "manners" of VR games that were established in the flowering Quest generation with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

With the PS VR2 Sense controller, the player's hands and fingers are reflected in the VR world as they are, and you can grab things, climb, and use tools with your hands.

While obediently introducing classics such as locomotion options that prevent sickness, grabbing and climbing, and placing many objects that can be interacted with by physics simulation, there were also fresh attempts. (I won't mention it because it's a surprising device in the game).

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

The operation of the bow and arrow used by the main character is also familiar in VR, you can grab the bow by putting your hand over your shoulder behind your back, and you can grab the arrow by doing the same movement with your other hand. Make an actual pairing and pulling motion, then release your finger.

(Like a real bow, the trajectory is determined by the direction in which the arrow is pointed, the amount of pulling, and gravity, but there is also an option to enable aim assist where the line of sight is focused .)

Regarding direction change, you can choose to physically turn around yourself, or you can choose to move the camera (or rather, the whole world moves) by snapping the camera at a certain angle with the stick operation.

It's easier to play while seated, or change direction with a stick if you're used to VR, but at least for a while, it's much more immersive to play standing or room-scale with the player physically turning around. is.

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

In addition to moving with the stick, you can also choose a joke-like method of moving forward by waving your left and right hands like a run (select "gesture" in the preset at the start of the game).

I thought it was silly, but when I tried it, my brain was tricked by the movements of my body and it became fun. It seems that if you force yourself to smile, it will make you feel happy, and when you play alone, you tend to come back to yourself, but when you take turns playing while watching the subjective video on the TV, this is definitely the case. can be enjoyed.

Some operation tips.

  • Since there are many climbing scenes if you are standing or seated, your outstretched hand will approach the boundary, and the boundary line and red ring warning display will appear in the air, greatly reducing the sense of presence. Even if the game doesn't move, it's easier to do if you set the area slightly wider on a room-scale.
  • If you play sitting down, use a chair. When you sit on the floor, you may not be physically able to reach to pick up items that have fallen to the ground. In that case, stand up once, calibrate with the menu button, and then crouch down OK
  • Accessibility has an item "extending the reach of the arm when climbing". It's a strange feeling that the virtual hand extends ahead of your own hand.
  • Turning with a gesture is like grabbing and turning the world with your arms (or turning your body with the power of your arms). The stick is still more natural, so I basically changed the direction with my feet, and the stick felt good as an aid.

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

# Minor fish is also powerful. Feeling good in battle is alive and well

The game progress is somewhat linear. Except for some scenes, it's not as one-way as a rail shooter, but it's not the type where free-roam roams in a vast open world and fills in countless side quests like the main story. It's a stand all-action adventure, but it feels more like a series of experiences and attractions.

However, you can freely roam the environment, and you can enjoy elements such as missions, quests, item crafting, and battles with large mechanical beasts that are the star of the series.

The battle is somewhat unique, and when you reach a certain battle scene, a movable range is set, and you can shoot arrows while going around and avoiding left and right within it. It feels like an arcade game in a way.

(If you select evasion with gestures, you'll have to use your arms for both bow and evasion, so it's confusing, so after trying it a few times, I ended up using stick evasion.)

The element of aiming and destroying enemy parts, which is familiar in the battle of the Horizon series, is still alive. Especially noticeable in the sequel Forbidden West, easily destroy enemy armor and parts! You can enjoy the feeling of being broken.

In the main part of the series, the hero hunter Aloy was strong, and the mechanical beasts, which were almost the same size as humans, were generally small fish and had a balance that could be defeated with a random button press. However, when it appears right in front of your eyes and nose from the perspective of VR, and if you turn your hostility toward us, even the mechanical beast "Watcher", who was a small fish among small fish, will become a powerful enemy that makes you want to apologize for your disrespect.

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

# Top-notch graphics and advanced foveate rendering

The natural environment and the society after 1,000 years, which were attractive alongside the mechanical beasts in the main series, are also wonderfully done, showing off the PS VR2's drawing ability. From rocks and moss while climbing, to the huge mountain range that you can turn around and the atmosphere of the river flowing below, immersing yourself in "that world" and looking around is an experience that will take your breath away.

Horizon Call of the Mountain also introduces Foveated Rendering, which uses the they-tracking function of PS VR2 to create high-definition images near the point of interest and roughen the surroundings to reduce the load.

When you look at the pictures actually captured during the game, you may think that the graphics are sweet and blurry, but that's the effect of foveate rendering. No matter where you look while playing, you can see the highest definition.

Conversely, it is also a technology that reveals where you were paying attention when you took a screenshot, so when various kinds of games (roundabout expressions) come out in the future, you will be able to look the other person's eyes firmly in the shared screenshot. You may need to take action. (Depending on the game, you may be asked "Where are you looking?")

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

Foveate rendering is nearly imperceptible while playing, and eye tracking is enabled by default for menu selections as well.

There are examples of items that can be selected by eye level on PCs and other companies' headsets, and I had the impression that it would be a cumbersome gimmick unless it was incorporated with high precision and skill. get used to the touch screen where you tap the buttons directly with your finger, you may find it tedious to reach for the mouse on a non-touch device and move the pointer to click. Once I got used to the "button", I felt like I could make a selection just by looking at the menu on the PS5 console, and I thought, "I'm already focusing with my eyes, why do I have to move the focus again with the stick? " I shudder at myself that I feel.

# Usability of PS VR2

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

What is noteworthy about the image is that the panel itself is vivid and easy to The color development is also beautiful, and HDR-compatible organic EL is not dated.

The resolution is a dramatic improvement if you dare to compare it to the first generation. However, 4K is 2K x 2K per eye, so it's not particularly expensive compared to popular price VR headsets from other companies. Depending on the content displayed, the lattice effect and graininess are still to some extent if you try to theme it.

The optical system is a Fresnel lens with fine grooves. The sweet spot is relatively narrow, and especially for applications the ere fine print is viewed, it is necessary to make fine adjustments to ensure that even the corners of the field of vision are visible without distortion or blurring after wearing.

On the other hand, thanks to the PS5's VR drawing ability, anti-aliasing works well at the rendering level, and the jaggedness and pixelation of the edges are considerably less. From the number of pixels and the type of optical system, the final perceived image quality is at a high level as a popular price VR headset in 2023.

# Should you buy Horizon Call of the Mountain?

Although it's a spin-off of the series, it's not just a fan, but a comprehensive showcase of PS VR2's graphics and functions, and as an exclusive title.

To be honest, before playing, I thought, "There is a bundled version, isn't it? Aren't you the one who sells the full price separately and also prepares a relatively expensive bundled version?", in reality, there is a solid amount playtime, a consistent story, and quests. , A game with catharsis. It is a work that is surprisingly serious and does the royal road of a full-fledged subjective VR action adventure.

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

Even if you have not played the main part of the series, you will not be left behind unless you understand the main character Aloy, especially the complicated human relationships and circumstances, and you should be able to fully enjoy it as a science fiction work with a unique world view. . Rather, I'm even envious of being able to play the main story in a state where the resolution has been raised in VR.

# Summary. Whether PS VR 2 is "ant" or not

While it is true that there are people who say that there is no longer a wired connection, games that are not oriented toward AR or mixed reality applications that assume movement over a wide area, but rather room-scale games that reflect large movements of the body rather than movement. Considering that it is a specialized product, and considering that in reality it is mainly for standing and seated on the spot, the cable is not so much a hindrance that it significantly reduces the value of the game. In fact, wired models are common among PC VR headsets in the 100,000 yen (742 Dollars) or 200,000 yen (1484 Dollars)range that sell high image quality and high performance.

To enjoy PS VR2, it is necessary to first obtain a PS5 main unit, which has stalled in popularity, and the price of 70,000 yen (520 Dollars) or more is a hurdle that cannot be expected to spread like a "winner takes all'', Even if it becomes sluggish in scale, it is thought that it will occupy a certain percentage as the first PS VR as a VR device with a small absolute number and separate platforms.

From a multi-platform game developer's point of view, there's no reason not to support it alongside SteamVR and Quest, and the fact that most of the "40+ launch lineups" are multi-works speaks for itself.

If it's a multi-title, Quest 2 or 3 is fine, it's a stand-alone and I don't care about the image quality, and it's an insight, but as represented by Horizon Call of the Mountain, it's the predecessor PS that can play multi and has an of monopolies. It's a feature from VR.

The first-generation PS VR was an old product in the rapidly changing VR world, and recently it was no longer in the air. , but there were also highly rated exclusive titles like ASTRO BOT: RESCUE MISSION. (“Iron Man VR”… has been multiplayer since its developer was bought by Meta).

Furthermore, if we expand not only VR games but also titles that support "VR mode", there are still many PlayStation platforms on policy, and unless Sony makes a policy change, there should be more games that cannot be played on other companies' platforms.

(Conversely, from the point of view of VR, which seems to be unplayable on PS VR, social and metaverse apps, rather than games, are part of the PlayStation ecosystem and should not be open to open services. , There are also rating restrictions, and even user-created mods for games have been shut out, so unless Sony makes a major policy change, we can't expect much (basically a game console).

PSVR2 Review: Horizon Call of The Mountain and the Cost-Effectiveness Question

In terms of price, "130,000 yen (960 Dollars) combined with PS5!" is not. In the end, the absolute value is "high ! " by the standards of mainstream home video game consoles, and the experience and cost-effectiveness are "abnormal high-cost performance!"

To put it bluntly, how happy I am to buy a PS VR2 from the point of view of enjoying VR games, will depend on how much Sony will continue to be motivated to VR in the future, and on exclusive titles like Horizon now. Depends on how serious you are about third-party support.

At a conservative price of 70,000 yen (520 Dollars), this will drive out other companies' VR and capture the market at once! All games will be in VR! It's not something that shows a super forward-leaning attitude, and I imagine that it's going to maintain its presence without overdoing it while keeping in mind the VR side, and keeping in mind the benefits of Meta and other companies' excitement, but that's the case. For at least the next few years, VR in games will remain mainstream, and we will be able to enjoy many titles, including multi-platforms. It is an attractive next step for gamers who have chosen it.

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