After years of waiting, the Playstation VR2 is on the way, with premium 4K+ 120Hz OLED lenses powered by the full might of the PS5. We'll learn more about the hardware as we approach its rumored fall 2022 release, but what'll really drive PS VR2 sales isn't specs: it's Sony-exclusive PSVR2 games.
So far, we know of just one PS VR2 game: Horizon Call of the Mountain, a spinoff of third-person action-adventure game Horizon Forbidden West from two Playstation Studios developers. We also know that Sony will follow the path of the original PSVR and support "hybrid AAA" VR ports of popular games, such as Resident Evil 7 and Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. And third-party studios will likely create their own VR spinoffs of popular games, like Hitman 3 for PSVR.
Based on that info, we can already predict which of the best PS5 games could port over to VR, which PS5 franchises could easily spin off games like Call of the Mountain, and which first- or third-party studios might jump in on the action. Here is our wishlist of the PSVR2 games we want to see.
Resident Evil Village VR
This is so much of a no-brainer that if it doesn't happen, it'll mean a zombie ate the brains of all the Capcom executives. Resident Evil Village was hands-down one of the best games of 2021, with our reviewer praising its gorgeous graphics, striking set pieces, homages to classic horror movies, and a great balance between action shooting and survival horror.
Resident Evil already has a great history in VR, especially on PSVR. Resident Evil 4 VR on the Quest 2 was our favorite VR game from last year despite its dated graphics because of how it updated the classic to add motion controls and first-person shooting. Village is already tailor-made for spooky VR even with a controller, but could also be adapted to let you craft items or reload weapons yourself with touch controls — only in 4K instead of blurry HD.
Resident Evil 7 was also the killer app that made people take notice of the original PSVR. So we sure hope Sony convinces Capcom to join the VR party again this year.
Before Insomniac Games nailed Spider-Man and Miles Morales for Sony, it developed well-reviewed Oculus Rift games like Stormland and Edge of Nowhere. With this kind of pedegree, Insomniac should have no trouble mixing its VR and traditional gaming expertise into some peanut-butter-and-chocolate synthesized goodness. Spider-Man VR would give Sony a heavyweight launch title that would have Quest 2 owners as green with envy as the Green Goblin himself.
The last attempt at Spider-Man in virtual reality was a Homecoming VR demo that mostly had Spidey rooted in one spot shooting his webslingers at targets around him, along with some on-rails swinging. But VR tech has come a long way since then, and we'd have to hope Spider-Man VR would let you free roam around New York City just like the main game. Then again, the motion sickness from cavorting from building to building might be too much to bear for some.
Iron Man VR nailed the feeling of stepping into Tony Stark's shoes, despite the limited hardware. We can hope that Sony and Insomniac will let us inhabit Peter Parker (or Miles Morales) in the same way.
The Last of Us VR
Zombie action shooters like Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners and After the Fall are one of the most popular VR subgenres, and are amazing experiences even with the Quest 2's limited firepower. Now imagine that kind of game through the lens of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us in 4K VR, having you tasked with surviving its breathtaking, hellish world in a new way.
No matter what you think of the controversial ending in the second game, the mechanics, challenging human and infected enemies, and crafting-based gameplay would all work wonderfully in VR. Sneaking past a clicker would be even more terrifying than before, as would death screens where one rips the flesh from your bones. Killing enemies with your own hands (so to speak) will only make the violence feel more uncomfortable, which is the point. And just as Resident Evil 4 VR made you reload weapons and pick up loot, Last of Us VR could let you craft upgrades at workbenches or construct traps behind cover while foes approach.
The Last of Us series also isn't lacking in strong supporting characters or mentioned storylines that could feature in a spin-off, like Tommy and Joel during the 20 years before the first game. Or you could play as an original character — like a Firefly or the heroic, unfortunate Ish hinted at in the first game's collectibles — to tread new ground. A storyline set earlier on during the outbreak would make it particularly action-packed.
Astro Bot 2
This is a bit of a long-shot, given that Astro's creator, Japan Studio, has been shuttered following the release of Astro's Playroom, but Astro Bot: Rescue Mission deserves a sequel. It's a charming platformer similar to Moss where head movement controls the camera and the bots you rescue can "see" and interact with you. It proved that some third-person games work perfectly well in VR.
If Team Asobi, the studio left behind in Japan Studio's wake, still actually makes games, then a new Astro title should launch with the PS VR2. Just as Astro's Playroom introduced players to the PS5 and DualShock controller features, a new free Astro title could be a great way to teach new VR players how to use the controllers and settle into the medium.
Alternate pick: Sackboy is a similar top-down platformer that Sumo Digital could convert to VR in the same vein. It could offer fun, family multiplayer where people outside the headset join in on the TV with their own controllers, and Sackboy could also "look" at the player and ask for help in some scenarios.
This amazing FPS roguelike simulator would simultaneously not take too much work to translate into VR, while also maybe not working very well in VR.
In the pro-VR category, Deathloop seems tailor-made for the new DualSense motion controls. You'll have to aim powers and weapons properly to hit fast-moving foes, while the haptic feedback could make your different attacks feel different to use. The loop-based gameplay works well for VR because it doesn't make you stay in-headset too long. Beyond all that, the game itself blew us away.
On the other hand, this kind of fast-moving game will nauseate newer VR gamers unless they use a teleport mode, which wouldn't be fast enough to survive a furious attack from Julianna. And stealth gamers can prove difficult to pull off in virtual reality, so it may be easier to stumble into deadly situations without realizing it. But we can hope that seasoned VR fans would enjoy a hybrid VR version of it if Arkane decides to port it.
Naughty Dog's other popular franchise might be more of a stretch to work in VR, given its characters' death-defying acrobatics. Its movie-like cinematography would cause an excess of motion sickness in VR, though it could work if it took Stride's Mirror's Edge approach to first-person parkour.
But we suggest forgoing the movie action scenes entirely. Uncharted VR should stick to the shooting, methodical climbing, and archeological puzzles, which could translate into first-person without much issue. Combine the climbing mechanics of The Climb 2 with deadly trap puzzles like in I Expect You to Die 2 and some solid shooting mechanics, and you have a winning formula.
We could easily see some lost adventure of Nathan Drake's in some new exotic locale with mercs to murder and priceless artifacts to pilfer. We already saw a successful spin-off starring Chloe and Nadine in The Lost Legacy, and could easily see another game with them, Elena, Sully, Sam, or even Cassie Drake at its helm instead.
Borderlands 3 VR
Gearbox Software didn't make many people happy with its Borderlands 2 VR port. It lacked proper motion controls, had aiming issues on some ports, lacked proper Playstation Move controller support, didn't have any of the DLC, forced you to hold two-handed weapons one-handed, and generally looked dated. Some still loved replaying the game in VR.
With Borderlands 3, the devs could redeem themselves and release a proper VR port that'll let you take full advantage of motion controls. The cel-shaded graphics may help make running around the world less nauseating for players without VR legs, and since it has a free PS5 upgrade with 120Hz support, it'll take full advantage of the PS VR2 lenses' capabilities.
Dark Pictures Anthology or Until Dawn VR
It's frankly surprising that we haven't gotten many interactive story games in virtual reality yet. Supermassive Games made an Until Dawn spinoff in 2016 called Rush of Blood that essentially took people on a haunted roller coaster with on-rails shooting. It had its moments, but lacked the charm and creativity of the horror movie-esque original game. Then there was The Inpatient, an Until Dawn prequel we actually quite liked in VR.
If we got more proper VR lived-movie experiences, surrounded by characters played by familiar actors, with jumpscares and timed decisions that lead to branching paths and terrible fates for your friends, it could make for compelling seated VR gameplay for newbies still getting used to their headsets.
Ghost of Tsushima VR (or any hack n' slash)
Swordplay and virtual reality go hand-in-hand. Look at Blade & Sorcery, Until You Fall, or either of the Star Wars VR games. Slicing and dicing your opponents as they charge you worked well when VR was more sedentary and still works now that they offer better locomotion.
That being said, any fast-paced action game like Ghost of Tsushima probably wouldn't work in first person for a multitude of reasons. If we want a VR port of Tsushima, it probably needs a more slow and methodical style of gameplay, like Demon's Souls. Still, hardcore samurai duels set in gorgeous early-feudal Japan would blow us away.
Tsushima's stealth elements wouldn't translate well to VR, but imagine having to master the game's four stances in order to successfully attack or parry, and use different techniques against sword- or spear-wielding foes. If the PS VR2 has accurate motion controls, this could showcase its accuracy in a jaw-dropping way.
The rest of our PS VR2 games wishlist
The most obvious wish we have for PS VR2 is for the new system to return all of the original PSVR games that blew us away on the old system. We're not sure if the new headset will support backwards compatibility with the Playstation camera attachment, or if the devs behind popular old games will rerelease them to work without it.
Beyond the backlog, we hope to see Playstation Studios devs releasing plenty of spin-off content, either at launch or down the line. We can hope that Media Molecule will port Dreams quickly to the new headset so gamers can try user-generated VR content from their peers for free. Maybe SIE San Diego Studio could make a VR version of MLB The Show, or Housemarque could make Returnal even more horrifying in VR.
We'll also hope for original VR content that doesn't stick to Sony's core franchises. SIE London Studio released the well-reviewed VR shooter Blood & Truth in 2019, and will likely have something else in the cards for the 2022 PS VR2 launch window.
Lastly, we have to look ahead at upcoming PS5 games due out in 2022 for inspiration. Ghostwire: Tokyo, Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2, or Dying Light 2 are all first-person titles that could easily translate into VR in some form.
Plenty of VR fanatics and PS5 owners will buy the PS VR2 regardless of the launch games. But to maintain sales past that point, Sony needs to quickly build up its library to compete with the hundreds of games on the Quest Store. Considering how many great Oculus Quest 2 games the standalone headset has, Sony is starting at a disadvantage. One that only some well-known AAA VR games can overcome.
Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.
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