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The 19 best PlayStation VR games

UPDATED: The PSVR library has some brilliant new gems

The PlayStation VR might not be as technically accomplished as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but two years and a pretty major price drop later, it’s become a hugely compelling device.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 headset is not only the most affordable way to get a meaningful VR experience, but it also has arguably the best games lineup of any VR platform right now. That’s thanks to Sony’s ability to court major developers, as well as flex its own creative muscle for must-play virtual reality experiences.

We have a load of favourites now, from shooters to racing games and plenty more in between – even a lightsaber-swinging rhythm game! If you’re looking for something fresh and fun to play with the PlayStation VR, start with these 19 picks.

Additional words by Tom Parsons

Beat Saber

You’ll never look particularly cool while playing a VR game, but damn if you won’t feel incredibly awesome while playing Beat Saber. It is, by far, the most exuberantly fun VR experience today, offering a new kind of rhythm game experience.

Essentially, the game turns your PlayStation Move motion controllers into glowing digital lightsabers, which you’ll wield to slash through beat-matched boxes that come flying into view. You’ll effortlessly slash them in half, but you’ll need to cut in the correct direction – as well as avoid physical hazards – to string together a combo and net a high score. Like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, this feels like the kind of game we’ll be playing for ages, presuming there’s enough new music en route.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission

Astro Bot Rescue Mission came seemingly out of nowhere to become the PlayStation VR’s Super Mario or Ratchet & Clank: an imaginative, absolutely joyful platform-action game that’s a total essential for the headset.

You might think that VR wouldn’t be particularly useful for a third-person 3D platform game, but Astro Bot finds clever ways to elevate the experience. For example, you’ll need to look all around—including around corners and obstacles—to get around, plus there are loads of secrets to discover. It’s utterly charming and truly something special, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any PSVR owner.

The Persistence

Eerie spaceships and horror games seem to make a terrific double-act for scaring you senseless. Alien Isolation or Dead Space are perfect examples for such claustrophobic nightmares, but PSVR title The Persistence takes this dread up another level.

WIth a virtual reality headset strapped on and hordes of mutated clones lunging right into your face, there’s enough immersion here to stop you sleeping for months. Fortunately, you’re armed with a bunch of BioShock-esque super weapons to turn your enemies into gloop, aiding you in your quest to reboot the ship and make your way back home.

Be warned though, The Persistence is brutally difficult and littered with jump scares, so only the bravest should dare hop aboard. But tough it out, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the greatest experiences that virtual reality has to offer.

Moss

A storybook-style tale about a mouse who finds herself caught up in a magical events that reach well beyond her tiny size, Moss belongs in the same rarified company as Lone Echo and Superhot VR as one of the finest virtual reality experiences you can immerse yourself in.

With a gorgeous fairytale world to bask in, some clever motion controls and a charming chaptered story that breaks up the action into bite-sized chunks, the game adds up to something totally unique.

There are collectibles scattered about in hard-to-reach corners, but really the idea here is that anyone should be able to don a PlayStation VR and find themselves smitten with what surrounds them.

Tetris Effect

Yes, it does seem a bit laughable that Tetris is considered an essential virtual reality experience, but just strap on the PlayStation VR and fire up Tetris Effect. We suspect you’ll also be convinced.

Hailing from the creator of the excellent Rez Infinite (also on this list), Tetris Effect reimagines the classic puzzler within dynamic game worlds that pulse and throb to your gameplay, even evolving and becoming all the more enrapturing over time. It’s still "just" Tetris – that is, arguably the greatest puzzle game of all time – but the surrounding detail is truly mesmerising, and that’s doubly true within the immersive space provided by VR.

Farpoint

Farpoint is the big PSVR game that a lot of early buyers have been waiting for, and thankfully, it largely lives up to the hype.

The Aim Controller helps amp up the immersion in this first-person shooter, which finds you blasting through packs of aliens on a Mars-like planet. You can play with a DualShock 4, certainly, but the extra £25 is well spent on the Aim Controller to help amplify the illusion that you’re really pumping icky spider creatures full of lead.

While the campaign can feel a little one-dimensional at times (and certainly derivative), the VR experience is ace: the game looks fantastic, and the ability to look freely in all directions really elevates play. The campaign is relatively brief, but there’s nothing quite like Farpoint on PlayStation VR, and it really does feel mighty special in spots.

Resident Evil 7

Keep your closest teddy to hand: gaming’s original scare-fest is back – and suitably terrifying in VR.

Another gasp-inducing surprise of PlayStation’s E3 2016 press conference, the pant-wetting trailer gave plenty of journalists nightmares – and it turns out that was all just a teaser for the terror of Resident Evil 7.

A tight field of view, plodding movement speed and a game world packed full of incidental (and gross) detail leave you constantly on edge, wondering if the next enemy is going to appear in front, above, below or behind you.

What’s more, while the Baker plantation might not be as sprawling in Res 7 as the original game’s Spencer mansion, it feels plenty big enough when its crazed residents are pursuing you in VR.

In first person, every room feels constrictive, with overflowing detritus and ruined furniture blocking your path. Sure, the deliberately clunky controls feel restrictive when you’re trying to dodge attacks, but at all other times the VR experience – including a cleverly thought-through input system where the right stick turns you in 30-degree intervals as you freely look around – is incredibly immersive, and utterly scary.

Also ReadFarpoint review

Wipeout: Omega Collection

If there’s any VR game that might turn your stomach a bit, it’s certainly Wipeout: Omega Collection. And if there’s any such game that’s totally worth it – yep, it’s still Wipeout.

The Omega Collection brings together Wipeout HD and the Fury expansion from PlayStation 3, along with the Vita’s Wipeout 2048, and gives them all a fresh coat of polish. It also gives them full VR support, letting you play through every bit of the anti-gravity racer from inside the cockpit of your rapid, flying ride.

It’s absolutely dazzling although admittedly a bit dizzying too; you might want to play with the available settings to fine-tune the camera movement and minimise the motion sickness. Still, the feeling of zipping around these winding tracks and finally experiencing this legendary franchise from an immersive new perspective is honestly mind-blowing.

RIGS: Mechanised Combat League

RIGS is a first-person, mech-based mixture of deathmatch and future-sport that’s exclusive to PSVR. It’s also a great showcase for Sony’s headset, thanks to chunky, colourful art and frenetic multiplayer battles.

In RIGS, 6-8 players are split into two teams, before selecting and strapping into a mech, and launching into the arena.

Your task in the main game mode, Power Slam, is to score ‘goals’ by leaping through a ring at the top of the arena – but to earn that right you first need to score enough points by shooting the opposing team’s mechs and collecting the tokens they drop.

Controls are basically standard FPS-style, but you aim and turn using your head. It sounds weird, but it soon feels surprisingly natural – although some people find VR more nauseous than others, so you might have to ease yourself in.

The speed, fluidity, heft and height of RIGS – the brilliantly vertigo-inducing ejections (which occur when your mech’s destroyed) – make it one of the highlights of the early lineup.

Gran Turismo Sport

Sony’s Gran Turismo is a long-running series steeped in tradition, and in some ways, Gran Turismo Sport feels a bit too set in its ways compared to newer, livelier racers. But pop on the PlayStation VR headset and it’s clear that the game has at least one eye towards the future.

Gran Turismo Sport‘s first-person, in-cockpit races are an absolute blast, letting you jet through the tracks in head-to-head battles while freely examining the terrain through your helmet. We quickly realised that we were looking at the virtual mirrors to gage our lead as if we were sitting behind the wheel of a real car, and that kind of natural immersion does so much to elevate the experience. You can’t play everything in VR, but what’s here truly impresses.

Eve: Valkyrie

A first-person, dogfighting spin-off from the huge (and hugely complicated) Eve Online MMO, Valkyrie is essentially all of your Battlestar Galactica fantasy made real.

By ‘real’ we obviously mean ‘virtual’ – not that your brain bothers making that distinction as you, in your nimble little starship, are fired into glorious outer space. And it really is glorious: rather than boring blackness, Valkyrie’s battles take place just above the atmosphere of beautiful planets, or right in the middle of huge fleets of ships.

Valkyrie’s graphics on PS VR are undeniably downgraded from Oculus Rift but, crucially, it contains all of the same content and plays identically – thin: super fast, fluid and fun. In fact, this is the first game that both Rift and PS VR players can play together via online multiplayer.

The game is still officially in development and the overall package can feel a little disjointed, with the single-player story still begging for expansion. Still, the multiplayer should keep you occupied for a long time and developer CCP seems very committed to future development, with a number of updates already having gone live since the game’s earlier Oculus launch.

Thumper

We’ve played rhythm games of all shapes and sizes over the years, but Thumper is downright intimidating – it promises "rhythm violence," and that’s exactly what you get.

You’ll guide a speedy space beetle along a track and tap a button to activate icons you pass over, bounce off of hard turns to maintain momentum, and send massive energy shots off ahead to destroy the giant, metallic, floating head in the sky. It’s intense.

And you can play it on a flat TV screen certainly; hell, it’s even on the Nintendo Switch. But the game takes on a whole ‘nother level of intensity in VR, as you’re surrounded by the dazzling sight and feel every hit and explosion as they occur. We didn’t know rhythm violence was a thing before Thumper, but now we’re super into it.

Where to buy Thumper VR

Superhot VR

Superhot boasts one of the most tantalising shooter concepts we’ve heard in ages: everything in the world, including enemies and fired bullets, only moves when you move. Paired with the minimal aesthetic and Matrix-like sensation of slow-mo bullets, the end result is super cool indeed.

And Superhot VR brings that experience to your headset, distilling the core game down to a series of quick-hit challenges where you’ll shoot gleaming red foes, dodge bullets, toss items, and survive amidst the fracas. While simpler than the original Superhot, the VR edition smartly streamlines the core elements for a brand new, headset-ready experience.

Rez Infinite

Rez Infinite drew a big reaction at Sony’s second annual PlayStation Experience expo, as the classic Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 rhythm-action game – later brought to Xbox 360 – was reborn on PlayStation 4 with optional VR support.

Remastered for PS VR, the reimagined Rez is a thing of beauty. If you’ve only ever played the original, playing Infinite will fell like one of those movie scenes where the grainy, sepia filter swipes away to reveal sweet, saturated 4K.

At it’s heart, Rez remains simple, addictive fun. Moving on rails through wire-frame worlds of surreal, technicolour infinity, every one of your actions creates glorious cascades of sound and light, as you aim and shoot at floating beasts and objects – great and small – using your head.

It’s sharper and brighter than ever before and it’s all rendered in 120fps VR. While you won’t be playing for days, it’s definitely worth it to experience the sort of psychedelic interaction VR was made for.

Download Rez Infinite here from the PlayStation Store

Statik

Many of the games on this list are chock full of action, but if you’re looking for something to tease and please your brain, then Statik might do the trick.

This original PSVR puzzler makes incredibly clever use of the first-person perspective, yet works within the limitations of the hardware. In short, your virtual hands are locked inside a crazy-looking puzzle box, which you can rotate freely by moving the DualShock 4. You’ll have to use the gamepad’s buttons to figure out the solutions that ultimately unlock the box, but then you pass out in this surreal institute and wake up with yet another box atop your mitts.

It’s a little freaky, and yet the sensation is utterly brilliant. If you’ve played the Room games on iOS or Android, then you have an idea of what to expect here – but when it’s your virtual hands that are locked up, it feels totally unique.

Where to buy Statik

Dirt Rally VR

Sony’s own Driveclub VR wasn’t all that hot, but Dirt Rally VR is the real deal. That’s no surprise: the core Dirt Rally game was already excellent on flat screens, and unlocking VR across the entire game is as simple as paying £10 for a DLC pack.

You’ll see a graphical hit in VR, even on the PlayStation 4 Pro, but the added immersion can be pretty spellbinding. From your cockpit view, you’ll take the tight turns using the directions fed from your co-driver, and if you have a buddy handy, he or she can take that role and try to give you the right instructions by pressing buttons and swiping the DualShock 4’s touchpad.

Zipping around turns can put a pit in your stomach at times, but even so, this one put a big grin on our faces. Hopefully Dirt 4 has its own VR action before too long, but for now, Dirt Rally VR more than impresses.

Gory detailsResident Evil 7 – reviewed

Job Simulator

Want to show off your new VR to someone who doesn’t really play games? This is the game to use.

The concept is this: the year is 2050 and robots now do all of the blue collar work. To learn what it was like to do a job, humans enter a simulator and are given an interractive history lesson by JobBot. Yes, this is really, really silly stuff.

It’s all about using the PlayStation Move controllers (it’ll also be available on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) to interract with your environment – whether that’s completing the tasks that JobBot gives you (photocopying some work, making a sandwich, etc), or just messing around with all of the objects around you. There are four jobs to do, including office worker, diner chef and mechanic, and each one is as hilarious as the last.

Download Job Simulator here from the PlayStation Store

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

VR might shut you off from the outside world, but it doesn’t have to be a completely solitary experience. In fact, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes might be the most hilarious example yet of how to put that awkward scenario to brilliant use.