Hands on: Project Morpheus review

Sony's VR headset promises a whole new world, and it's coming next year

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The latest version is far better than the older one. Once the few kinks are fixed, this could be the answer to every gamer's dream.

For

  • Very immersive
  • HD display is nice and crisp
  • Compliments existing PlayStation hardware
  • Comfortable

Against

  • Some rough visuals
  • Motion tracking occasionally disconnects
  • Requires separate audio input

Not much has changed regarding Sony's last big announcements during GDC 2015 about Project Morpheus, but E3 2015 saw a slew of new games added to the roster.

Most of the games are in pre-alpha stages with the developers hoping to launch at the same time as Morpheus during the first part of 2016.

There's still no audio input aside from headphones you manually put on, unlike the consumer version of Oculus Rift but the sound is still crisp as ever.

Several of the games I played utilized not only the Move controllers, but a modified PlayStation Sharp Shooter gun and even a bike with sensors.

Project Morpheus

I naturally gravitated toward the bike demo, because I hadn't seen it before. Created by company VirZoom, the premise of the experience was pretty simple: sit on a bike, put on a Morpheus, pedal, get fit in the VR world. Pretty awesome, right?

There were sensors attached to a bike - which can be placed on a stationary bike or your own personal bike - that wirelessly connect to the headset. Trainers keep your non-stationary bike still so you don't go flying and will be bundled at an undisclosed price with the sensors - though I was told it would be affordable.

Project Morpheus

The demo on hand involved riding a horse which could turn into a Pegasus if you find wings and then pedaled faster. Being a horse while pedaling is jarring at first but really fun once you get the hang of it. The company will expand and let you be dragons, tanks and a bunch of other random things you wouldn't expect.

The other games involved the more conventional Move controllers but were still immensely fun and immersive.

Impulse Games wants to make a shooter with the Morpheus and what it has so far is a simple yet enjoyable game where creatures like spiders pop up to attack you. There's a lot of movement involved and you're standing the whole time while using the thumbstick on the Move navigation controller to walk around. It's not as dizzying as it sounds though which was a nice surprise.

Project Morpheus

I did however get a little nauseous playing Battle Zone, a game from Rebellion where you're in the cockpit of a spaceship shooting at aliens. Turning in virtual reality while actually being stationary wasn't a particularly pleasant experience - though I felt far worse in EVE: Valkyrie and the Oculus. But the actual game where I was zooming around shooting people was a blast.

London Heist was one of the first Morpheus games I played and really enjoyed. The mechanics of reloading and shooting were the same in the second demo from Heist except I was the passenger in a moving car. There were a lot things you could interact with like opening and closing the door - which made me feel like I was going to fall out of the car - to throwing empty cans of soda around. Shooting thugs was just as fun as I remembered and perhaps even more so because motorcycles were exploding and clips were being used up like crazy.

Project Morpheus

Super Hypercube is a game older than Project Morpheus and has been in development since 2008 but proves the VR headset is great for all sorts of games. Using a DualShock controller, you're essentially trying to fit cubes into a cutout while more cubes are added as you move through. It's almost like a horizontal, 3D Tetris with the added difficulty - and fun - of VR.

Aside from mild dizziness, the latency remained good on the other games. I couldn't detect any jitter and controllers didn't lose tracking in-game in anything I played.

Early verdict

After experiencing more games on the Morpheus, I'm more convinced we'll see it sooner rather than later in 2016. Sony already has a leg up on providing motion controllers unlike Oculus's Touch controllers which are still being developed.

The games on both platforms don't seem like they're quite ready yet and I get the sense a lot of companies are scrambling to make polished titles in time for release. However I'm confident that there will be enough titles and more released because VR is definitely the future of gaming.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.