Welcome one and all to this year’s exciting instalment of the Ian’s VR Corner Top Ten list where I’ll be going over my ten favourite PSVR games of 2019. As per usual, the following list is completely my opinion and it only features games that I myself have played, so if I’ve missed out one of your favourites, chances are it’s either because I thought it was a bit bobbins, or that I just didn’t have time to give it a go. Either way, please do share the love for your favourite PSVR games of 2019 in the comments below and hopefully, together, we can inspire others to try them out too.
You can check out the video version of this list just below these words where you can watch footage of each game featured or, if reading is more your thing, you’ll find my entire top ten list just under that.
10 – Ghost Giant
Anyone who has watched the Ghost Giant episode of Ian’s VR Corner will know that I had a fair few issues with the game’s motion controls, or more specifically, the fiddliness of picking things up that were just a little too far out of reach. Thankfully, there’s a lot more to Ghost Giant than just its control scheme and I was able to push past those faults and appreciate the emotionally charged story at its core.
In terms of production values, Ghost Giant is way up there and it actually shares a lot of similarities with Moss, one of my favourite games of 2018. The level of detail in Ghost Giant is incredible and the paper-craft dioramas that make up the levels look stunning in VR. It almost feels like you’re sat, centre stage in your very own Tim Burton movie, able to reach in and touch and interact with every inch of the world.
I didn’t just enjoy playing around and exploring these ultra detailed, model villages though, I was also enthralled by the life and personality of the characters that were expertly animated and voice acted. If you can look past the unwieldy interactions caused by the less than accurate Move controllers you’ll find a beating heart which is full of sweetness and sadness and there lies a story that will stick with you for a long, long time.
9 – Everybody’s Golf VR
Someone famous once said that golf is a good walk spoiled, so it’s probably a good job then that Everybody’s Golf VR is a completely stationary experience. By cutting out all those boring strolls it means the game and its players can concentrate on pure, unadulterated virtual golfing across three gorgeous, 18 hole courses.
As the name would suggest, Everybody’s Golf is indeed for everybody. That means seasoned golfers will instantly be able to enjoy batting their balls around while newcomers can make use of an incredibly intuitive in-game interface to practice swings and judge the power and angle of each shot before going all in for a hole in one. The tracking of the Move controller is pretty much spot on with Everybody’s Golf VR and I didn’t notice any kind of drift or inaccuracy at all. Holding a single Move controller with two hands like you would the grip on a club feels just like you’re holding the real thing and this adds a lovely sense of immersion to the already relaxed vibe of the game.
While Everybody’s Golf VR is slightly watered down compared to other games from the series, especially when it comes to the lack of multiplayer, it does feel like a perfect fit for PSVR and it’s an ideal starting point for any golf enthusiasts out there who may be nervous about trying VR for the first time.
8 – Falcon Age
It’s hard not to fall in love with Falcon Age after mere minutes of playing it and a lot of that has to do with your cute as hell companion, whom I decided to name, Pudding. Pudding is a falcon that you raise from a squeaking ball of feathers into a fully grown, mech murdering bird of prey and it’s pretty safe to say that caring for Pudding is probably the closest I’ve probably come to treating a VR animal as if it were a real-life living being.
Falcon Age is a rather compact open-world affair in which you stick it to awful robotic industrialists one act of sabotage and rebellion at a time. You head out into this world with a neat whip-baton thing in one hand and Pudding on your other, and you can send pudding to attack things, collect things, yank things about and then hold them up while you give them a good shoeing.
Just having Pudding there on your fist makes you think about it on a very emotional level. Seeing Pudding get hungry was enough to make me want to learn the rudiments of the cooking system, but pulling spikes out of her after a fight genuinely made me furious in a way a dog owner might be if someone mistreated their beloved pooch while they were out on a walk. This is a game about nurturing, about trust, about friendship and loyalty and about having an awesome Falcon friend who’ll do your bidding and smash evil robots for you. I love you, Pudding.
7 – Sairento VR
You know that bit in The Matrix when Keanu Reeves goes, “I know Kung Fu!”? Well I had a few moments of realisation just like that during my first hands-on session with the PSVR port of Sairento VR. Don’t go into Sairento VR expecting to be a badass from the off though. There’s an incredibly steep learning curve here and there’s a lot of things you’ll need to learn in order to feel comfortable when navigating the levels.
In fact, this game should definitely be thought of as being on the extreme end of the comfort scale because it expects you to do double jumps, bounce off or run along walls and scale great heights. All whilst swinging swords, shooting guns and triggering super cool slow mo super powers. The first couple of levels really ease you into things, but by the third, the action is relentless and enemies come at you rapidly, shooting and hitting you from all angles.
This onslaught can be terribly frustrating at first but it forces you to learn quickly and it won’t be long before you’re chaining leaps and bounds together with slow-motion headshots and slick slide kills where you split opponents in two with your blade. When everything does start to click, the combat becomes so absorbing that it’s easy to forget about the normal world that exists outside of your headset. That’s why it’s well worth putting in the hours to practice your skills because when everything is going your way and you’re flowing through the levels, Sairento VR is one hell of an experience.
6 – Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion HD Renovation
Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion HD Renovation is the first game in the world to have ever made me swear at a piece of toast and for that it instantly gets a thumbs up from me.
This VR remake of the cult classic PC horror game sees you trapped inside an ever changing maze comprised of 1000 different rooms, each one potentially home to a jump scare or two. Despite the budget look to the graphics and a rather slow start, I was surprised by just how scary Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion could be. Being stalked through the rooms by some of the games more unsettling specimens would honestly be bad enough in the flat version of the game, but in VR it’s panic inducing as you can almost feel their physical presence gaining on you as you try to escape.
That feeling of being chased never gets old either, as the rooms, locations and your pursuers keep changing in unexpected and unpredictable ways. Basically it’s like dropping acid and going to a Halloween Horror Fright Night even at Thorpe Park, except you won’t need to drop acid and there won’t be a massive queue to get in. Now hurry up and release this in the EU please, Albino Moose Games!
5 – Trover Saves the Universe
If you didn’t already know, Trover Saves the Universe is made by Squanch Games, a development studio run by Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty fame. So, if that kind of wacky, sweary, tasteless and self-referential sci-fi humour is your bag, Trover Saves the Universe will have you covered. In spit and poop, mainly…
Playing a bit like an Astrobot for adults, Trover Saves the Universe sees you galavanting around the galaxy, intruding on the often disgusting inhabitants of Alien worlds, all whilst trying to rescue your two pet dogs from the eye sockets of the evil Glorkon who is hell bent on destroying life as we know it.
There’s a fairly big game here and it basically includes everything you’d expect from a standard 3D platformer like combat, jumping, bounce pads, puzzles and item collecting. Everything in Trover has this dark and disgusting Roiland twist to it though and this leaves you constantly surprised and occasionally sickened by the events that occur. The bonkers scenarios and the imaginative characters that live within them are often either comically creepy or absurdly annoying and as such, fans of Rick and Morty are bound to be in VR heaven with Trover. For some, this constant barrage of weird humour may be a little too overwhelming and that’s totally understandable, but I played it through twice because I’m also super weird.
4 – Borderlands 2 VR
Technically Borderlands 2 VR came out in 2018, but it appeared on the Playstation store so late in December that my Top Ten list for that year had already been published. In fact, I didn’t even feature it on Ian’s VR Corner until January when I came back from my Christmas holidays so its inclusion on this list totally counts. Totally.
Far from being a short spin-off experience, Borderlands 2 VR is a complete conversion of the flat game, featuring the full 25+ hour campaign. Plus, after the release of the free Bad Ass MegaFun DLC pack in September of this year, it also includes the four add on story missions and a bunch of upgrade packs too. That’s a lotta bang for your buck indeed!
I had a lot of fun when Borderlands 2 VR first came out, but when Aim controller support was added in another update, the game just got better. Being able to hold, admire and shoot any of the bazillion guns that are available to you in VR while holding the aim controller just adds to the immersion and it makes shooting all those Bullymongs and bandits feel super satisfying. Borderlands 2 VR is an incredibly well produced title that looks beautiful in 3D so it’s well worth revisiting if you’ve played the game before in flat version. If this is your first trip to Pandora however, this is a must buy that’ll keep you busy for ages. WUB, WUB, WUB!
3 – Ace Combat 7
I’m absolutely terrified of flying in real life but flying in VR? Well that is a completely different story, especially when it comes to Ace Combat 7’s VR levels. There may only be three unique missions available in the VR portion of the game but when they’re this gorgeous, this exhilarating and this immersive, you’ll find plenty of excuses to replay them. I mean, I certainly did!
There’s just so much to love here, from the ultra detailed, interactive inheritors of the cockpits and the adrenaline pumping intensity of the VR dog-fights, through to the way that water droplets roll across your aircraft’s canopy as you leave thick cloud cover and burst out into the sunlight and thunder your way towards yours foes.
The sense of speed, power and of just ‘being there in the moment’ is truly exceptional here, so it’s a damn shame that Ace Combat 7’s biggest fault is that only a small portion of the game is playable in VR. Please, Bandai Namco, give us a full VR campaign and I promise you, I’ll buy it twice! Ace Combat 7 may have come out right at the start of 2019 but I still think about its VR missions regularly and I pull out my HOTAS and strap myself into my jumpseat whenever I get the chance.
2 – No Man’s Sky Beyond
No Man’s Sky Beyond is almost the perfect VR game. It’s infinite, it’s incredibly immersive and if it wasn’t for the low resolution of the visuals, 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 but the ever present blur does kill the magnificence a bit. All those stunning vistas and the mysterious alien flora and fauna that you may remember from the flat version now look like indistinct smudges on the horizon and this works towards dampening that awesome sense of discovery that made the exploration so compelling.
Get past that though as you’ll find that the rest of the game is an absolute joy to play. The sense of scale in VR is amazing 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 adventure and depending on your patience for the survival genre, you could easily end up spending countless hours exploring brand new world after brand new world. No Man’s Sky Beyond is an amazing achievement and I’d recommend it to anyone with a VR headset, if only to get a taste of what VR adventures could be like in the future, if the platform continues to grow and expand.
1 – Blood and Truth
Right now, at the point of writing this feature, everyone in the world is getting excited about a brand new James Bond trailer. Everyone that is except me, because this year, thanks to Blood and Truth, I was James Bond.
The beauty of Blood and Truth though is that I wasn’t just James Bond, I was actually loads of things. I was a soldier in a warzone, a cockney gangster literally riding shotgun in a sports car and I was even some kind of parkour hitman, dodging machine gun fire from a helicopter as I legged it across the floors of a barely built block of flats before throwing myself through some plate glass windows as I shot enemies in the face during some glorious scenes of slow-motion gun-fu.
In Blood and Truth you are the star of your very own action movie, no more passively watching the action unfold on a flat screen, oh no. Here you’re right there in the thick of it, catching and throwing back live grenades, dual wielding pistols and generally living 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 the 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 you need this game and that’s the bloody truth of it.
And that, my lovely friends, is that! Hopefully you enjoyed this look back at my favourite PSVR games of 2019 but if I did miss any of your favourites out, do remember to tell us about them in the comments! Before I wander off to snaffle some pre-Christmas mince pies, I’d just like to say a big thank you to each and everyone of you for the continued support you’ve been giving my VR coverage. Can you believe Ian’s VR Corner has been going for over a year and a half now? Crazy!
Here’s hoping things get even more exciting for VR in 2020, whether that’s for PSVR or for the wider range of headsets, because if 2019 has proven anything at all, it’s that VR just keeps getting bigger and better and it’s definitely not going to go away any time soon! If this list is the first you’ve seen of my VR coverage by the way, Ian’s VR Corner happens every Sunday on this channel so do pop on over and subscribe for more VR videos whenever they’re uploaded. Oh and of course, do have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful new year!