E3 2016: PlayStation VR Recap – The Ports

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

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PS VR | oprainfall

Sony’s E3 presentation has now come and gone, but a lot information dropped last night, especially in regards to VR. Since the company is planning to have 50 games available at the launch of October 13 of this year, I figured now would be a good time to do a recap of the games that were featured for PS VR at the press conference. Since there is a decent amount of titles that were announced, I split this up into two articles: one that focuses on new titles that were announced  and one that focuses on titles that are receiving VR ports (this article). So, strap your bulky goggles on and let’s do this again!

Bound

If this game looks somewhat familiar, it’s because it was announced by the experimental Santa Monica Studios (Datura, Linger in Shadows) last December. However, it wasn’t until the pre-show for the Sony E3 showcase until Bound was shown to have a PS VR port that’s going to be developed by Plastic Studios. The vanilla game itself looks fascinating with the ability to traverse and explore your surroundings as a masked ballerina. I can’t think of any other game that will let you use dance moves to get through the platforming sections of the game. The vagueness and metaphor found in certain ‘high art’ will definitely be on display in Bound, and I’m guessing this will cause a lot of people to either love it or leave it. On the VR end, you will not be seeing through the eyes of the ballerina (I’m sure all those turns would make a lot of people throw up) but from a ‘unique third-person camera makes it easy to experience full 360-degree immersion.’ It could turn out to be a disaster, but I’m interested to see a VR game where your eyes are just used as replacements for the protagonist’s.

The normal PS4 version of Bound releases on August 16 of this year whereas the virtual reality port will release with the peripheral mid-October.

Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience

It seems like FFXV was everywhere in the last few days, and I guess it was a matter of time before it jumped on the VR train, as well. I’m sad that they didn’t call it FFXVR, however. While the trailer mostly showcased the game proper, a small segment at the end was dedicated to the new experience. It’s really hard to say if this is going to be a port, a new mode for FFXV, or a DLC add-on. What is clear is that you will be playing as Prompto rather than Noctis, and you’ll be using his signature revolver. It’s cool to see the sharpshooter teleporting to different locations to help the gang take down the behemoth, but you never see him walking or running anywhere. It’s possible that this these will be an on-rail shooter where you can choose the spot you want to warp to for more opportunity for strategy and interaction. And whether it’s used for humor or not, a viewable Cindy Aurum feature might be part of the package as well. This VR experience does seem to have the energy and camaraderie that FFXV is known for so it could turn out to be a fun port.

Resident Evil VII Biohazard

I don’t want to talk too much about this title too much since William already covered it in his article. Basically, the trailer was a surprise to all of us and a rather nice one in my opinion. It’s hard to take a lot away from the clip as well since it’s unclear how much of it represents actual gameplay; luckily the demo dropped yesterday and it was easy to see from playing it how it might work for VR. It’s probably sacrilege to say this, but it feels a lot like P.T. with a lot of walking around a creepy house and interacting with things when prompted to do so. This could easily transfer to VR and that in turn could up the tension. Again, it’s unclear if this is actually what REVII is going to play/look like in the end or if it’s just another Playable Teaser situation. And who knows if the VR experience will be a direct port of the main game. Only time will shed some light on the darkness surrounding this title.

And that sums up the six VR games showcased in Sony’s E3 presentation. If you haven’t already, you can read about the other three in the first part of this article. The offerings seem to be a mixed bag of safe franchise ‘experiences,’ familiar shooters, and even a little bit of experimental options to shake things up. A lot of these titles are light on details (Batman Arkham VR and REVII in particular), so it should be interesting to see how they shape up over the next few months. As for the ports, all three seem to want to add more to what the games are offerings; whether it’s a more immersive camera in Bound or playing as a different character in a completely different way in FFXVR (this really needs to become the title).

E3 is not over yet, and I’m sure we’ll get even more virtual reality titles in the days to come. If I find enough, I might do another VR recap that goes beyond just the Sony press convention. Until then, keep your eyes out of the goggles and peeled to your computer screen.

About Leif Conti-Groome

Leif Conti-Groome is a writer/playwright/video game journalist whose work has appeared on websites such as NextGen Player, Video Game Geek and DriveinTales. His poem Ritual won the 2015 Broadside Contest organized by the Bear Review. While he grew up playing titles such as Final Fantasy VI and Super Double Dragon, he doesn’t really have a preference for genre these days except for Country; that’s a game genre right? Leif’s attention has been more focused on the burgeoning communities of niche Japanese titles, eSports and speedruns. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada and makes a living as a copywriter.




  • Mr0303

    Regular games with VR components may be a nice way to convince core gamers to give PSVR a shot.