The New Standard for Console VR

Sony is the only console manufacturer to have developed dedicated virtual reality hardware. While the original PSVR had a decent install base and game library, it was more of a proof of concept than introducing new technology. But there’s a lot to be excited about in PSVR 2, including a massive increase in resolution and a boost in processing power. Not to mention some smart design revisions.

Since PSVR 2 is a wired-only system designed solely for use with the PlayStation 5, you’ll need both the headset, which retails for $549.99, and a PS5 that is between $399.99 for the Digital Edition and $499.99 for the disc-based version. It’s a significant barrier to entry, but in return you get an exceptionally powerful virtual reality facility.

Image by GameSkinny

The PSVR 2 has a resolution of 2000 x 2040 per eye, four times the 960 x 1080 of the previous generation PlayStation VR; Field of View increased from 100 to 110 degrees. This puts the PSVR 2 right ahead of Meta Quest 2 (1832 x 1920) and Valve Index (1600 x 1440) in terms of image sharpness.

The first-gen PSVR required the PlayStation Camera to track your movement, while the PSVR 2 opts for an inside-out approach. Four cameras mounted on the front of the headset track the environment around you. Not only does this mean you have one less device to set up, it also allows you to track the space around you in more detail.

During your initial setup, the simple guided tour guides you in looking at your surroundings while the headset maps the room you’re in. It’s a simple yet extremely effective way to define your play area.

It also means that a simple press of a button sends the camera feed to your display so you can easily see your surroundings. Overall it works very well, but depends on the ambient light. During the day or in well-lit rooms, I found it to be near perfect. At night I found I had to turn on extra lights in the room; Otherwise, I was pulled out of games and warned that the headset had “seeing” issues.

fit and comfort

Image via Sony

The headset feels solid in your hand. Its white and black theme matches the standard PS5 look, and its neutral tones help it blend into almost any entertainment system. The overall look is sort of “modestly modern”, which belies the powerful hardware underneath.

Putting on the PSVR2 headset is very similar to its predecessor. An adjustable, quick-release headband provides general placement of the device on your head. A tension adjustment knob is a nice touch to ensure the fit is snug but not a headache.

The scope (the sight portion that sits in front of your eyes) slides in and out with the push of a button, blocking light with a soft, rubber-like extension. A dial that adjusts distances on the lenses is a new addition, rounding out a quick and easy step-by-step process.

I was surprised at the weight of the device. With an approximate weight of 560g, it’s actually heavier than the Meta Quest 2 despite not having an internal battery. The PSVR 2 also lacks the soft padding of the Quest 2, feeling more like a thin rubber gasket over hard plastic. Combined with the extra weight, the PSVR 2 is noticeably less comfortable, but not enough to put me off wanting to play.


Image by GameSkinny

The VR2 Sense controllers match the headset’s black and white color scheme perfectly. They’re housed in plastic that’s both smooth enough for comfort and grippy enough not to easily fly out of sweaty hands; Straps also prevent the controllers from flying off and into your TV.

As for the inputs, the face buttons are split between the two hand units, with circle and cross on the right and triangle and square on the left. One PlayStation button, one thumbstick and one trigger button each.

Technically, the VR2 Sense controllers are a massive upgrade over the repurposed Move controllers Sony used on its previous-gen VR device. The addition of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers adds a surprising level of tactile immersion.

Play Horizon: Call of the Mountain, I could dip my hand in a flowing stream, and just the right amount of vibration imparted that change in resistance. I was equally impressed by the excellent tracking; It always felt like the placement and angle of my hands translated correctly in-game, which is no small feat.

Sound quality and headphones

Immersive sound is an important part of a believable VR experience, and the PSVR 2 handles that well with a few connectivity options. The headset has a standard 3.5mm jack and comes with some decent earbud-style headphones that snap in. Wireless is also an option, as is Sony’s own Pulse 3D offering.

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Audio quality is generally strong. Sounds come out crisp and clear, with no obvious compression artifacts or distortion from the PSVR 2’s onboard digital-to-analog converter (DAC). It does a quality job of tracking audio as you turn your head and pan left and right, as I tested it by spinning in place. A built-in microphone is also a nice perk.

Using a third-party headset was a bit of a patchy experience. I was able to plug in a pair of wired Logitech G Pro headphones and they fit well. However, the larger cups on my Sennheiser Game Zero set overlapped the headband. Try as I might, I could not find a position that fit comfortably and properly aligned with my ears. It’s not a deal breaker, but it may be an issue for some who prefer larger headphone options.

playing style

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None of the impressive technology matters if the gaming experience isn’t cutting edge. Thankfully, the PSVR 2 plays great.

The very first thing I played was Horizon: Call of the Mountain. After a quick configuration to ensure I was using an appropriate control scheme, I was thrown into a lush jungle. The high resolution of the headset immediately made the difference. There was no screen-door effect, and my unusually discerning eye saw detailed, sharp textures everywhere. The color quality was exceptional. The greens all around were rich and vibrant thanks to the HDR OLED display.

The tracking was also excellent. I would be looking at a mountaintop, and the view would pan at just the right speed to make me feel comfortable. As I climbed around rock faces, I found myself leaning or turning my head to get a better view of grab bars. I’ve never free climbed a mountain while running away from robotic dinosaurs, but those moments made me feel like I was actually doing it.

Even conversations with characters felt natural as NPCs and I all turned to whoever was speaking, just like in a normal conversation. The feeling that everything was the result of cameras and calculations disappeared, which is the best that technology can do.

Next I jumped in NFL Pro Era. Snapping shots with the shotgun was easy, and once I got the hang of it, I found timing and delivering passes to my wide receivers was fun. Looking at my bracelet to see playcalls was a nice touch, and the way the headset and controllers vibrated when I grabbed a sack was really effective for communicating big hits.

Eventually I got into space travel Nobody’s heaven. The VR interface looks largely the same as the original PSVR version, but the added graphical fidelity was immediately apparent. Motion was fluid, colors were vibrant, and it was a delight to approach an unfamiliar planet from the fully rendered cockpit of my spacecraft. As I entered the atmosphere, I began to orbit the planet at high speed. There were still a few pop-ins, but it was removed and subtle; it wasn’t enough to interrupt my immersion.

PlayStation VR2 Review – The Verdict

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  • Fantastic picture quality.
  • Good 3D audio.
  • Haptic feedback is very immersive.


  • Less comfortable than other VR headsets.
  • Erratic performance in moderately light environments.
  • High cost to get started when you factor in the PS5 required.

The PlayStation VR2 is an extremely impressive VR option. It’s powerful, easy to set up and use, and works great. The image quality in particular is excellent, as is the tracking. The haptics in the controllers add a surprisingly immersive element.

While the PSVR 2’s 4.5-meter USB-C connection is a big step up from the original PSVR’s tangled cables and smaller accessory boxes, unlike competing VR devices like the wireless Meta Quest 2, you’re still connected. There are also some minor issues in terms of comfort, although results will vary by user and which third-party headphones work well with the kit is TBD.

The price is high, especially when you factor in the cost of the PS5 you need, but as things stand this is one of the best VR systems available and a great way to immerse yourself in your favorite games. It remains to be seen how much developers will support this next generation of virtual reality, but there’s no doubt that PSVR 2 is a great piece of hardware that has clearly only scratched the surface of its potential.

[Note: The reviewer purchased the PS VR2 headset used for this review. Featured image via Sony.]

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