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PlayStation VR Reviews: Kitchen & London Heist for Project Morpheus

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Project Morpheus is the codename for Sony’s new virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Update: Sony has officially named it PlayStation VR.
★ Currently in the prototype phase, PlayStation VR was most recently available to demo in Toronto’s Fan Expo 2015.
London Heist is one of the most popular games to come out of PlayStation VR. Think GTA meets Lock Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.
★ You don’t know absolute fear until you’ve witnessed the utterly terrifying demo for Kitchen.

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Last weekend, Fan Expo gamers were lined up in anticipation to test out Sony’s ultra secret virtual reality prototype, codenamed Project Morpheus. Guests were treated to four unique, five minute demos showcasing the headset’s advanced 3D technology and sleek design.

If you’re still catching up on the explosive world of virtual headsets, you’re in for a treat. 3D gaming technology is moving at an exciting pace as companies from all corners of technology are competing to wrap a pair of screens on your head. While Oculus Rift (recently bought up by Facebook for a solid $2 billion), HTC, Samsung and a handful of smart indie projects continue to make headway, Sony’s PlayStation VR and its growing lineup of high quality games are turning heads, literally.

Sony’s PlayStation VR

  • The headset includes an OLED screen running at 1920×1080, which is 960×1080 per eye.
  • Games can run as high as 120 frames per second. Which I like to call, beyond reality.
  • Colours? How about a RGB subpixel matrix for superior resolution.
  • Six degrees of freedom (6DOF) allows for full 3D rotations and enhanced realism.
  • Output to TV for your friends to watch while you’re bobbing around like a cork in water.

Sony sent myself, along with a troupe of bloggers, to experience Project Morpheus first hand. Actually, both hands. Head, too. I had two games specifically on my radar to try out: gun-toting London Heist and the creepiest-yet-inconspicuously-titled Kitchen. Unfortunately I was barred from taking photos of the actual gameplay, so you’ll have to stick to my play-by-play commentary.

Demo spoilers ahead.

Kitchen for Project Morpheus

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I’ve done a bit of VR with Oculus Rift; just simple and innocent things like standing in a white room in front of a desk. Yawn. Nothing too overly immersive. However, I had no idea what I was in for when I secured the comfortable Project Morpheus headset and drowned out the sounds of Fan Expo from the Sony headphones. No idea.

Kitchen is a horror simulator that guest stars you as the unfortunate victim, captured and bound. I sat on a rustic dining chair in a desolate kitchen (in real life, I was sitting in a much more comfortable Sony-branded leather chair), hands tied together and unable to move (in real life, my hands were sweatily gripping the PS4 controller). In front of me is a video camera, recording my every move, and a man covered in blood laying on the floor next to me.

Yeah, I’m already kind of freaking out at this point.

After pushing the camera tripod down with my hands bound, the man covered in blood awakens. He appears friendly, reinforcing some positivity as he attempts to free me. Virtual reality can be a bit weird when characters walk up to you and get close to your face. He’s obviously not really there, but he’s totally right there. Your natural senses start to alarm that something’s wrong.

But, as most horror genre films and video games go, the moment of freedom is usually interrupted by a crazy, psychotic Ringu devil-woman with frazzled hair, pale skin, and the look of death who stabs our little make-believe friend to smithereens. Well that sucks. I have blood all over me, this rather impolite fem-goblin is pulling off a sinister evil laugh quite well, and I still don’t have my hands free.

Oops, she just stabbed me in my left knee with her kitchen knife. For a brief moment, I wonder if that’s my real leg.

As the torture scene continues, I start to repeat the same sentence in my head. This isn’t real. This isn’t real. Boy does VR ever rule.

By the time I took my headset off and gave an embarrassing wave to the crowd of people that experienced my excessive mid-game swearing around small Fan Expo children. I staggered about getting a grip of reality. That was the most interactive gaming experience I’ve had, ever. It would be utterly impossible to replicate the fear and immersion on a TV or mobile screen. And while P.T. will still be one of the scariest games to ever creepily touch a Sony console (despite temporarily), there’s nothing you could possibly do in 2D that 3D couldn’t do better. Assuming you don’t have to walk around with an analog stick – there’s just nothing virtual about that.

So I shook off the heebee-jeebee’s and took a plunge into something a little more fast paced.

London Heist for Project Morpheus

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London Heist. It’s fast, it’s exciting, and it’s one of those games you could mindless play for hours on end. It’s a shooter that puts a PS Move controller into each hand, allowing you to use the trigger finger to interact with things and fire shots from the Uzi.

I’m in a getaway car on a freeway; the driver is mouthing off about something which I can’t fully understand because I’m too busy opening the glove compartment and tossing pop cans around. Suddenly, speedbikes and vans full of submachine guns start firing and, with the help of the driver, we knock the windshield completely off and ready to get into it.

My right hand: an Uzi. My left hand: an infinite bag of ammo. Kill or be killed, said the doctor!

Shooting in London Heist (and on Project Morpheus) is much like how you expected drivebys in Grand Theft Auto to be like. Aim, fire, and after enough bullets, things explode. Inside the headset, I felt this massive world around me, skyscrapers and buildings zip by as I snipe guys on bikes who couldn’t aim to save their life. This game is definitely something that anyone can pick up and play.

The reload hand started off tricky. Most noobs start off by staring downwards towards the ammo bag as bullets fly past your face. Reloading eventually becomes second nature. As you’re facing left, unloading bullets from the Uzi in your right hand, your left hand is naturally grabbing for ammo and slamming it to reload. You quickly fall into the role of gunman because well, you start to feel the reality in it.

The demo ends as a van pulls up in front of you, revealing the boss man and his fully loaded mini-gun. Which by all counts, reduces your chances to survive to an unanimous 0%. I fully expect to play this game a lot next year.

Have you tried out Project Morpheus? Or are you dying to get your hands in it? Share and comment below!

PlayStation VR is expected to release in 2016.

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