As “total immersion” in video games is a long way off as gaming is about as immersive as watching am interactive Steven Seagal movie. Fun and entertaining but you’re still sat on a couch with a controller. There is still that fine line of detachment from reality and not reality in gaming. Now while there have been many attempts to make this line even thinner from motion controls that while an interesting idea has more pitfalls than the San Andreas plot.
Among which is the fact you need the living room space of Hampshire for it to operate and majority of the day to day games basically can’t be arsed to stand up and move about like a twat.
Now the latest tech that could make that line even blurier is VR or “Virtual Reality”. So, me and a bunch of the XNVR posse headed over to Gunwharf Quays for the VR1 festival to play a whole bunch of VR games and experiences, and the one which I’ll be talking about to the surprise of nobody* is a racing game, Project Cars 2.
*If you have been keeping up on XNVR, I’m the self-installed racing genre correspondent
Now, before we delve into the meat of this, i have written a written review and a video on the game if you are new and needs some catching up. In short much more improved on the first game with more cars and tracks and disciplines to race in and better AI and good looking but really made for the sim racers still though i would say is more approachable on a pad compared to the last game.
Now back to VR talk, we were also given the use of steering wheels and pedals and racing seat which I may have fan-girled a bit. And after some faffing about we were all in GT3 cars around Silverstone for 30 laps hooked up in VR. The start was very messy as cars were going all over the place and after some light contact pulled away at a rate of knots by the simple art of keeping it on the grey stuff and consistency. (expecting a “fuck you” from the editor for that).
Editors note; Fuc- actually, nevermind.
Anyhow smug moment over, so as I pulled a massive gap over the other I started to play around with the settings and firstly VR really only works in cockpit mode. Because in all the other camera modes it was odd/unnatural and rather pointless. When in cockpit mode it was like paradise for me as sitting in the driver’s seat with a wheel in my hands and pedal at my feet, it felt normal for me and the most comfortable.
I just kept driving and driving and as everyone else dropped out and with Silverstone all to myself really could have kept going to the end of the race and some. One thing to note was in the VR equipment we used at the event (Samsung VR Headsets) it wasn’t running the graphics at the highest i know what the game runs at on a screen, coherent still but did look a bit rough around some edges. As VR as a gaming tool for the masses is still relatively young it can be forgiven for that.
So conclusion time, VR and with Racing games goes together like crackers and cheese or president and impeachment, and I hope that VR continues to grow especially on Xbox as PC and Playstation have their VR and games to support it.
Games like Forza could really benefit from VR support, and titles such as the F1 games could really do with VR support. While other games may require some changes to make the VR experience more comfortable and less likely to look at the contents of your dinner as you throw up. Racing games are much more comfortable and easier to adjust to. I’ll would maintain you would need a wheel setup to be really fully immersed and get the maximum from it. But with a pad it would still be pretty amazing still without having a setup like what racing teams would use that cost more enough that selling your children for medical experiment would seem like a viable option*
*We at XNVR highly do not recommend selling your children for medical experiments , just save up like normal people.