Seasons greetings one and all! Welcome to the final ever instalment of my Top Ten PSVR games lists for Ian’s VR Corner. Since about 2018, I’ve been creating Christmas Top Ten lists for my favourite PSVR games of the year but this year's is going to be a bit different because this is the year that the PSVR died. Sort of.
Due to the impending launch of the PSVR 2 very few PSVR games of note were released this year so, in the video above, I say goodbye to Sony’s old faithful headset by listing off my Top Ten favourite PSVR games of all time. Stretching from the headset's launch in 2016 right up until now, the following list contains the top ten titles that have brought me the most joy over the years. Obviously this is completely my opinion so, if I’ve missed out on your favourite PSVR game ever, please do share the love for it in the comments below.
10 - Blood and Truth
It’s pretty safe to say that I had an amazing time with Blood and Truth. After first playing it at a preview event and initially being sceptical about the on rails nature of the gameplay, it ended up being one of my favourite titles on the PSVR, and for good reason.
Whilst initially I saw it as a downside, the lack of player freedom actually allowed the developers to deliver a fast paced, tightly directed James Bond simulator. In Blood and Truth you’re the star of your very own action movie and in it, you can catch and throw back live grenades, dual wield pistols and generally live out all of those action movie fantasies that you never thought would come true.
There’s an excellent supporting cast who’re brought to life by some top notch voice acting and motion capture and this serves to give you a real connection to the characters in some of the slower paced scenes, while each action set piece is just varied enough to make you constantly gasp out loud with the thrill of it all.
The gunplay is excellent too and while that on-rails nature of the gameplay could be seen as a turn off for some, it keeps the pace rattling along and allows the developers to do some really clever and unexpected things with VR. If you own a PSVR and you still haven’t tried this out, you’re doing yourself a disservice and that’s the bloody truth of it.
9 - Tetris Effect
If you’ve ever played it on the flat screen, you’ll know that Tetsuya Mizaguchi's reworking of the greatest game of all time is pretty special without the need for VR.
By folding light and sound into the mixture alongside those familiar falling blocks and some brisk rule-changes, Tetris Effect creates a mesmerising kaleidoscope of intensely satisfying gameplay and some thoroughly absorbing presentation.
Try out the same levels in VR though and the game becomes something entirely different: a strange and deeply emotional experience that’s as exciting as it is meditative. As you move through darkness and colour searching for the perfect score, beads ripple on the wind, whales coalesce out of sparks and mankind travels from desert caravans to the surface of the moon, all to an incredible musical score that’ll transport your brain to a higher plane of existence.
Tetris Effect is simple to play yet tough to master thanks to the huge amount of levels and challenges on offer, but this means you’ll really get absorbed by the positivity, wholesomeness and a total majesty of the purest puzzler imaginable.
8 - Superhot VR
If you’ve never heard of Superhot before, chances are you’ve either just been born or you're a time traveller from the distant past who has never even played a video game before. To say that Superhot is a gaming phenomenon is an understatement and even after playing it multiple times in flat, experiencing its uniquely original gameplay concept in VR still feels like an unbeatable rush.
Time, you see, only moves when you do. So when you move to reach for weapons, throw broken bottles or just chamber a fresh round, you also control the pace at which the panoramic violence erupts around you. It's astonishing really how a game whose short levels and breathless pace already thrusts you right into the heart of the action manages to feel even more immersive in VR, but on top of that, the game's white-box environments and shattering crystal bodies look wonderful in the private theatre of a headset.
There’s a reason why Superhot VR is always one of the best selling VR games in the stores, no matter what platform you’re playing on, and that’s quite simply because it's Super. Hot. Super. Hot.
7 - No Man’s Sky Beyond
No Man’s Sky Beyond is almost the perfect VR game. It’s infinite, it’s incredibly immersive and thanks to the unbelievable frequency of gameplay-packed updates since the VR version first released, I could quite easily spend a large portion of my life just pootling around the galaxy digging through planets for valuable minerals like some kind of space age mole man.
The experience of exploring the universe in No Man's Sky in VR is every bit as jaw dropping and massive as you could have hoped for, especially if you’re able to play it on the PS5 where updates to the visuals mean it’s nowhere near as blurry as it can seem on the PS4.
The sense of discovery and scale in VR is amazing to behold here and the ability to fly around from planet to planet and galaxy to galaxy while being encased in the game is incomparable to anything else I've played in VR. This is a straight up, never-ending VR escapade and depending on your patience for the survival genre, you could easily end up spending countless hours exploring brand new planet after brand new planet.
No Man's Sky is an amazing achievement and I'd recommend it to anyone with a PSVR headset, if only to get a taste of what your VR adventures could be like in the future before the game finally gets a launch day update to work on the PSVR 2.
6 - Hitman VR
Hitman VR is easily one of the most immersive PSVR games that I've had the pleasure to insert my face into and even though the PC version was a huge disappointment, Sony’s headset is without a doubt the perfect place to experience Agent 47’s over the top assassinations.
The fabulously detailed environments look gorgeous in VR and during my multiple playthroughs, I often spent just as much time sightseeing as I did seeing targets through the sights of my guns. There’s just so much game on offer here, and that’s before you factor in the ability to be able to play through the entirety of Hitman’s 1, 2 and all the DLC levels in VR as well, as long as you have them in your library of course.
But, even if you do only own Hitman 3, this is still one of the meatiest games available for the headset and every minute spent exploring its devious sandbox levels is an absolute joy. These playgrounds are meticulously crafted virtual worlds that feel both alive and lived in and to have achieved all this, even with the graphical limitations of the PSVR, is quite the accomplishment.
5 - Moss
Moss is by far and away one of the best looking titles available for the PSVR. The game is set in a stunningly realised storybook world that’s brought to life by the kind of polish that can only be achieved when its creators have poured their hearts and souls into the project.
Our plucky heroine Quill is the highlight, of course, exquisitely animated and full of personality despite her tiny size, but she’s not the only star of the show. Moss makes you a part of the game too by casting you as your very own character called The Reader. As this ghostly presence you not only have direct control over Quill, but you can also reach into the game world to push, pull and interact with objects. Or you could just stare lovingly at your own reflection in babbling brooks. These interactions give you a believable connection with the game world and help you form a bond with Quill in a way that just isn’t possible with traditional video games.
Moss is best played from a seated position but it encourages you to lean forward and explore the environment, as if you were inspecting a magical model village. This helps you spot hidden routes and collectables but more importantly it makes the world feel solid and real.
Moss truly feels like a Studio Ghibli film come to life and it’ll be an adventure you want to share with everyone you know.
4 - Beat Saber
Beat Saber may not be my number one PSVR game, but it’s almost certainly the number one VR game in the entire world and that’s got just as much to do with its simplicity as it does with how insanely cool it feels to play.
To watch Beat Saber in action even for a second is to know how to play it. There's a scrolling runway of coloured beats. There's a coloured lightsaber in each of your hands and there’s that childhood dream of being a badass Jedi to propel your arms into action. Give into the chug and drive of the soundtrack, rhythm-match your swipes, duck and dodge around the obstacles until all the energy in you is completely drained and you’ll still want to come back for more.
Beat Saber is a shirt-drenching, furniture wrecking treat, it’s one of the most kinetic and engaging VR games out there and it deserves a place on your console's harddrive for all of eternity. And not just because it’s amazing, mind, but also because it’s an Oculus exclusive now, which sadly means this VR gem may take a long time to get ported to PSVR 2.
3 - Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 7 in VR ruined the traditional horror game for me. Since playing through the entire game on my PSVR back in 2017, no scary flat games have been able to give me that incredible feeling of being in actual, physical danger like Resi 7 VR.
There are so many fantastic moments in there that make you feel like you’re the star of your very own horror movie, but the one that always sticks out for me was the time I saw Jack Baker smash through a wall in front of me like an unwashed T-800. The feeling of fear in my chest was immense. I’ve never felt anything like it from a flat horror game and because of that I truly believed I was living in that moment. I had achieved a level of immersion that is quite frankly unreachable for anything that’s not in VR.
But it’s not just the scares that are improved through the medium of VR, everything from the flat version of Resident Evil 7 is elevated by the addition of VR. From simple things like the way the fantastic audio design brings your surroundings to horrific life with it’s creepy skittery insect-y sound effects through to the impressively detailed environments that could now be inspected in close up detail, it all came together to make the Baker Family compound one of the most believable virtual spaces I’ve ever explored.
Resident Evil 7 in VR is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, but if you want to see just how realistic VR can look and feel without plumping for a mega PC VR rig, this is one of the best ways to do it.
2 - The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
There have been many times during the past 10 years of watching The Walking Dead TV show where I've thought to myself, "Wow. What a stupid decision, you deserved to get eaten for that, you fool".
That's part of the fun of zombie shows though I guess. Not the wanting people to get eaten bit, mind, I'm talking about imagining how you’d act if you were in that character's shoes and what you'd be willing to do in order to survive. I've played through scenarios like this many times across multiple zombie-based video games, so I'd like to think I've got a good idea of how things would go if I got caught up in a real life zombie apocalypse. But The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is probably the first game I’ve ever played that truly delivers an authentic and believable feeling of surviving in the aftermath of an undead uprising.
From the way your bladed weapons stick in the skulls of the zombies so you can feel the grip of the bone as you forcefully yank them back out, through to the miniature open world levels that reward you for stealth and scavenging, this is by far the most immersive and believable VR game I’ve played on PSVR to date. It’s a masterclass in those little details that make VR so special, and this alongside the unpredictability of the game world means that, even though there is a central narrative, each time you play it, the story will be your own.
The controls are fantastic, it looks gorgeous, there’s plenty of comfort and control options available to suit all needs and there’s a huge game in there that you’ll be able to completely lose yourself in for hours at a time.
The zombie apocalypse has never been so believable, or so much fun, so if you haven’t traded in your PSVR headset in anticipation for the release of the PSVR 2, it’d be an utter sin not to give this one a go.1 - Astrobot Rescue Mission
And so, my final, best ever game on the PSVR has to be Astrobot Rescue Mission. It was a close call between the top three for me because I do love a VR horror game, but in terms of just VR magic and joy, nothing can touch Astrobot Rescue Mission.
It really is the most Nintendo-like thing on the entire platform and it is the pinnacle of PSVR games, not just because it looks and sounds incredible, but also down to the fact that it constantly reinvents what a 3D platformer can be, delighting the player time and time again with moments of pure magic that just cannot be replicated in traditional, flat games.
Each unique level just oozes imagination and playing through the story made me remember the days when Mario 64 blew my mind with its game-changing take on the series. Here though, it’s not just the main character who gets to experience the adventure, you’re as just as much a part of the game as Astro Bot and there’s plenty of opportunities for you to interact with the stunning levels the Japan Studio has produced.
The best thing though, apart from an absolute banger of a soundtrack of course, is that Astro Bot is brilliant no matter who you are. It’s easy to get into and comfortable enough for newcomers to enjoy, but it’s also stuffed full of surprises that’ll wow even those of us with hundreds of virtual hours under our belts.
You cannot play Astro Bot Rescue Mission and not smile from ear to ear as you do so, it’s just that charming and it should be in the library of every PSVR owner out there.
And that's your lot! I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who has watched, liked, shared or commented on an Ian’s VR Corner video in the past, it is as ever immensely appreciated and I do hope to see you all next year for all the incredible PSVR 2 excitement that’s on the way!
If this list is the first you’ve seen of my VR coverage by the way, Ian’s VR Corner happens every Sunday on our YouTube channel so head on over and subscribe for loads of PSVR 2 coverage in 2023. Oh and of course, do have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful New Year!