We rate all the PS VR games from dicky tummy to blowing chunks.
It’s now completely clear to me that virtual reality makes me feel sick the majority of the time. It’s not a phase, I’m not struggling to find my VR-legs, and it doesn’t get better with time. After multiple games, and multiple years of trying out different experiences, the majority of VR makes me feel rotten after I’ve had the headset on for 10 minutes or more.
“Sometimes it knocks me out for hours and I lie around with a churning stomach. Sometimes I just sit around feeling light-headed. I realise this isn’t everyone’s experience, and I’m jealous of those that can play VR games and not feel like they want to ralph on their own shoes.”
It doesn’t matter the format or the style of game, I just can’t get used to it. It starts with a nauseous feeling, then come the cold sweats, occasional headaches and disorientation. It’s seasickness, or a bad hangover, or pain behind an eye, or travel sickness, or getting up too quickly having not eaten enough, or trying to read without your glasses, or just sitting around burping continuously like a hippo. It’s pretty unpleasant in any form.
Sometimes it knocks me out for hours and I lie around with a churning stomach. Sometimes I just sit around feeling light-headed. I realise this isn’t everyone’s experience, and I’m jealous of those that can play VR games and not feel like they want to ralph on their own shoes. I’ve hardly ever experienced motion sickness in any other game I’ve played in the 30+ years since I’ve been messing around with them. And there have been a few VR games where I haven’t felt any sickness at all – most recently, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Batman: Arkham VR – but they are in the minority. Standing or sitting, using controllers, paddles, Vive, PlayStation VR, Oculus, head-tracking or full room scale VR, it almost always results in sickness. So I’m done trying to experience it, or getting over it. VR, in any form, is not for me.
I’ve finally come to this conclusion after playing PlayStation VR for the past two weeks. It was my last hope. I wanted PS VR to be The One for me, but it’s not to be. I’ve crammed in multiple games to find those that didn’t make me feel ill, and I can count them on the fingers of one hand. So here’s a scientifically proven* list of PS VR games that made me feel the sickest of all.
The PS VR games that will make you sick
RIGS: Mechanised Combat League
The Mechanised Combat League is a future sport where mech pilots try their best not to vomit all over their lovely jumpsuits. In RIGS there are multiple options for movement and control, using analog sticks to push forward, targeting with your line of sight, using your head to turn in different directions, the shoulder buttons for dodging, a speed boost and tapping X for jump. And you do all of that while keeping track on team-mates and spitting lead at enemies in a fast-moving combat arena. Is it any wonder that even before the tutorial ends you’ll be feeling nauseous?
It’s too disorientating, too fast and too overwhelming to be anything other than a $50 stomach churner. There’s a good game in here, but it’s probably only found as a regular first-person shooter rather than VR stomach torture.
Scavengers Odyssey – VR Worlds
Straight away I can see this is going to be a problem. There’s nothing on the screen to permantly focus on. The target reticule only comes up on the HUD when there’s a target in sight – enemy, debris, or something else to interact with. At the start of the game you sit in a pod and apart from the movement of your own arms there’s nothing close to focus on. As soon as I move forward in the little insect spacecraft, my legs my head goes wobbly. As the game requires me to jump and sprint, changing my orientation as I hop around asteroids, over space debris, and into another floating spacecraft, my stomach is churning and I’ve got a light sweat on. I get to part 3 before the helmet has to come off. This is really unpleasant motion sickness. I don’t even want to put the helmet back on to switch this off.
VR Luge – VR Worlds
This short racing game sees you control a headless thrill seeker hurtling down roads using your head to steer. It kind of works and there’s a great stomach lurch when you launch over the bump of a hill, but play for more than a few sessions and your throat will soon go dry. It’s not helped by the game clumsily plonking you back on course if you go off the track. It’s jarring and uncomfortable.
Here They Lie
This spooky ghost story has two movement options, one using your head and the other the analog sticks. But to be honest neither are accurate and I found it really difficult to walk in a straight line. The game is primarily black and white and it’s fuzzy as hell, so really it’s tough trying to make out any details from only a few feet away. Thankfully it unfolds at a slow pace, but when it does ask you to run you’ll get that sea sickness feeling once again. A real shame, because this seems like one of the most intriguing games on PlayStation VR.
Not only is this one of the ugliest games on PS VR but it’s also a real eye strain. I found it hurt my eyes more than made me feel sick, but that’s not exactly the trade-off I’m looking for. The problem is that as soon as you reach high speeds the road becomes a blur while the cockpit remains sharp. I think the cockpit manages to keep you focused and not pukey, but when you’re squinting to see the road ahead, something has gone horribly wrong. Wasn’t Driveclub one of the best looking games on “normal” PS4?
PS VR games that use disorientation to good effect
Batman: Arkham VR
Gotham City is towering and claustrophobic. Peer over the balcony from the roof of GC Police HQ and you’ll feel a sense of vertigo. Now that’s how to use VR. Arkham VR also pulls trick to trap the player in space, enclosing them within shrinking walls and flipping your view to unnerving effect. Good job, Rocksteady.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Aha, a rollercoaster! Of course this is going to make your stomach churn, that’s the point. But developer Supermassive uses the ups and downs of a rickety big dipper with controlled effect, leaving the player on the right side of woozy. And with so many targets to shoot in Rush of Blood, there’s always something for the player to focus on, reducing disorientation.
Rez Infinite has a cool sense of vertigo and there are glimpses of wooziness, but it mainly manages to make you feel disconnected from your body and drifting through space without stirring up the pukes. It’s a great game on its own, and in VR it feels like it found its natural home after all these years.
* Not really, just based on the experience of one man.