• Unboxing the Valve Index! Take a look inside the complete Valve Index kit.
  • Valve Index Extended Hands On Preview
    valve index

    This weekend in our living room my family played with Valve Index, Rift S, HP Reverb and two Oculus Quests. We worked out three small play spaces where we wouldn’t hit one another and played paintball and dodgeball matches together in Rec Room for the first time ever.

    Once the kids were in bed, my wife and I went zombie-hunting in Arizona Sunshine co-op. We swapped back and forth between Rift S and Index.

    Index quickly became known as “the good one” and both my wife and I came to use the Rift S reluctantly next to Index, like the Lenovo-made HMD was an off-brand game controller.

    Valve is asking reviewers to hold off on final verdicts of its Index VR system until June 28 “as a large number of updates will be made between now and then.” The company’s stereo passthrough is not active either and Valve is targeting a late summer release for that feature. Right now, then, Valve is asking only for previews of the hardware as it can be seen with the wide range of SteamVR apps, including a few built with early support for the Index wearable controllers.

    Visual Comfort

    The Valve Index optics include the widest sweet spot and most comfortable fitting of any VR headset I’ve used. In shooters, I can glance at baddies out of the corner of my eye and gun them down without feeling compelled to turn and face them directly. I just point my eyes instead. Without trying this for yourself it will be hard to fully understand how the Valve Index optics help increase comfort by enabling this subtle sense of freedom.

    The sleek black box the full $1,000 Index kit comes in is a nesting doll for smaller boxes. It includes two SteamVR Tracking base stations “assembled in the USA” along with two Index controllers and the Index head-mounted display, both made in China. There are mounts for the stations and a soft spacer that fits into the strap for a tighter fit on smaller heads. As I described when Valve first invited us to check out the headset last month, the headset’s fitting is fine tuned with several adjustments. There’s the IPD slider on the bottom to position the optics directly in front of your eyes and a dial on the side to adjust the distance of the lenses to your eyes. There’s the strap on top and a dial on back too.

    The concentric rings of the fresnel lenses can still be seen at the outside, and they still catch light on occasion from the display, visible as so-called god rays. But they are dramatically reduced compared to pre-2019 VR headsets. Though the screen door effect is reduced in all 2019 VR headsets, and Reverb has an edge when it comes to raw pixel count, I find the Index optics and fitting provide the smoothest and most comfortable experience by an order of magnitude.

    Touring TheBlu again, four full years after I first saw it in an early Vive developer kit, and it is

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  • Tabletop Gods Review: A Quirky And Relaxed VR RTS
    tabletop gods featured image

    Tabletop Gods is a quirky little strategy game that offers a lot of fun for those who are happy to take a more relaxed approach to the genre. Check here for our full review!

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  • Choose Your Own Path Book Series Lone Wolf Coming to Mobile AR It's expected to arrive by early 2020 at the latest.
  • Trover Saves The Universe Review: A Hilarious Action Adventure
    Trover Saves The Universe Review: A Hilarious Action Adventure

    Trover Saves the Universe is an endearing, silly, and often fun game to play even if it's really only the humor that keeps it going. Read our review!

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  • Review: Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted It’s like being inside a Chucky movie...
  • Promising VR Adventure Game Zed Releases Next Month
    zed screenshot palace

    Zed, a long in-development VR title and, curiously, one of the first games to be published by Myst developer, Cyan, is releasing in the very near future.

    Cyan recently confirmed the game will arrive on Steam on 4 June. For those not keeping count, that’s just a little more than a month away.

    Zed is a curious little game, first funded via Kickstarter back in 2016. It’s a puzzle game in which players embody an artist that suffers from dementia. You explore past memories via dreams, attempting to piece back together cherished images and moments. Though it’s not developed by Cyan directly, it very much looks like a game made in its spirit

    Back in February, we reported that the game had been picked up by Cyan and it would now support VR. Cyan of course has its own history with VR, having released gorgeous adventure game, Obduction, a few years back. Earlier this year it passed its own Kickstarter campaign for another VR game, Firmament.

    We went hands-on with Zed last month. It’s shaping up nicely. “The puzzle solving and gameplay isn’t too complex, but the narrative, art design, and feel of the game are all incredible,” we said. “It’s not easy to take a subject matter like dementia and make it into something that people want to explore, but ZED seems to do just that.”

    Let’s hope it follows through this June. Zed will support the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Fingers crossed PSVR and Quest versions are also on the cards.

    Tagged with: adventure, Zed

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  • NetEase Games Plan Summer Beta Test for VR Sandbox Nostos The Beta will include support for Oculus Rift
  • Crooked Waters Sets Sail in June With Major Update There will be a free Steam weekend coinciding with the launch.
  • PSVR 2 Won’t Launch Alongside PS5, Sony Suggests
    PSVR 2 Won’t Launch Alongside PS5, Sony Suggests

    The last few months have really ramped up the speculation on the PSVR 2 front. First, Sony confirmed it was making a next-generation console that would support VR. Then, just last week, its head of R&D detailed what he expects to see in next-generation headsets. But we shouldn’t hold our breath for a true reveal anytime soon.

    Following last week’s report, Cnet followed up with Sony’s Dominic Mallinson. They covered a lot of the same ground, but Mallinson did say he didn’t expect PSVR 2 to launch alongside PS5. “There’s no reason for us to coincide it with a new console,” he explained. “From the point of view of the consumer, to be bombarded with many many things — oh, you have to buy this, you have to buy that — is a message that we don’t want to send. In some ways, it’s good to have a little breathing space between those things.”

    We’re not surprised to hear this. The original PSVR launched in late 2016, three years after the arrival of the PS4 itself. We do know Sony’s next console isn’t releasing this year, but it is expected in 2020. We still wouldn’t expect Sony to wait another three years after that to launch PSVR 2; the original headset will be a relic by that point, but should we expect it in 2021 or 2022?

    The wait might seem unbearable in mid-2019, but the longer Sony waits the better PSVR 2 can be. In his talk at Collision 2019 last week, Mallinson outlined several areas of improvement such as resolution, field of view and even eye-tracking. Upgrading and adding these features will no doubt be expensive. Getting them down to a price that’s right for consumers will be Sony’s key to success.

    Tagged with: PS5, PSVR 2, sony

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  • Review: Blood & Truth So you wanna be a gangster...then look no further.
  • Blood & Truth Review: Another Roaring Exclusive For PSVR
    Blood & Truth Review: Another Roaring Exclusive For PSVR

    I could tell Blood & Truth was special when I realized I had been playing for a solid half hour and hadn’t shot a gun or killed a thug that entire time but remained entirely invested. This is the kind of game that you’ll pick up out of interest for its big set piece actions scenes, satisfying gunplay, and knack for making you feel like the star of your own action movie, but you’ll end up staying for the charming characters.

    Blood & Truth is the latest big-budget PSVR exclusive and this time it’s coming directly from Sony’s own London Studio. They’re pouring a serious amount of work and money into this title, adding up to what might be the most sizable investment into a single new IP we’ve seen in VR yet. Luckily, it pays off.

    In Blood & Truth you play as Ryan Marks, the ex-military son of a massive international family business full of shady deals, backroom politics, and dangerous messes. You’re called back home after the death of your father and have to fend off a rival businessman from trying to overtake what your family has built.

    The drama between the Marks family and the rival business venture didn’t do a whole lot for me truth be told, but the characters themselves were fantastic. Everything from the facial animations and voice acting felt incredibly genuine and earnest. One of my biggest pet peeves with cinematic VR games such as this is when the characters go out of their way to look you in the eyes constantly to try and make you feel present — which incidentally does the opposite — but in Blood & Truth everyone responds just as much to one another as they do you.

    Every now and then I’d catch my sister stealing a quick sly look at me to make a face in response to your vulgar brother, or I’d notice my mother’s worried gaze as we discussed the dangerous details of our upcoming heist. It felt more genuine than most relationships I’ve had with digital characters and I was hungry for more.

    Most of the first half of the narrative is told through a series of flashbacks in an interrogation room, but eventually events start to catch up to the present day. London Studio have done a remarkable job of packing this with every type of set piece you’d expect to see in a Hollywood-caliber summer blockbuster, but this time you get to act it out in VR.

    Gunplay feels really, really good — at least as long as the PS Move controllers are cooperating. You spend a large chunk of Blood & Truth holding your arms up in the air to point at digital enemies in VR, so after a while the classic PSVR drifting issues eventually arise. Aiming requires lots of precision, so it’s frustrating to say the least when you miss headshots because of inferior light-based motion controllers.

    You’ve got two hip holster slots and two back shoulder slots so you never feel restricted with

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  • Fairy Tale Puzzler Luna Gets a PlayStation VR Release Date Funomena's relaxing title will arrive next month.
  • Garden Of The Sea Is The New Game From Budget Cuts Dev Neat Corp
    Garden of the Sea

    Neat Corporation, the developer of 2018 VR stealth extravaganza, Budget Cuts, is back. Its next game, however, is something very different.

    The team’s second VR title is called Garden of the Sea. It’s like a VR version of Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, mixed with a dash of Pokemon. You start off on an idyllic little island, populated with adorable creatures. You’re free to set off and explore the world around you, but you can also grow crops and craft items that will in turn help you discover more of the game.

    It’s a game about relaxation, discovery and connection. There are no robots hunting you here (at least from what we’ve seen), no throwable knives and certainly no office cubicles.

    Neat is staying tight-lipped about the project for now. If you want to find out more then be sure to check out Upload’s E3 VR Showcase at 9am PT/12pm ET/5pm BT on June 10. We’ll be revealing the game in full, complete with exclusive footage and a rundown from the team at Neat itself. The actual game is coming soon… very soon indeed.

    As we said earlier, Neat’s best known for its debut VR game, Budget Cuts, which began life as one of the original demos for the HTC Vive. The game’s teleportation system and physical movement helped set a template for a lot of VR game design to come and put the developer on the map.

    Oh, and if you’re a fan of Neat Corp and Budget Cuts in general then you might have other reasons to watch the showcase. Just saying!

    Tagged with: Garden of the Sea, Neat Corporation

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  • Reclaim! Brings Four-Player Arena Shooting To Location-Based VR
    Reclaim! Brings Four-Player Arena Shooting To Location-Based VR

    Minority Media is hoping to tap into an exciting PvP VR shooting experience that translates a classic arena shooter style with new LBE game Reclaim.

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