As you may already know, Minecraft recently launched an update to fully support VR playing. We in this blog were really excited to see it and test it out, we have done that so know we are happy to share out Minecraft PSVR Impressions.
Minecraft has captivated an insane audience for a number of reasons, one of them being its immersive world. The game beckons you to jump in and you instantly never want to leave. You can do what you want, whichever way you want to. You’d be right to think that a game like Minecraft would work incredibly well in VR and you’d be quite right. In fact, Mojang’s baby and immersive technologies are a match made in heaven…just, not on PlayStation VR.
The ability to play Minecraft on PlayStation 4 with PSVR came recently as a free update to the game, if you don’t have a setup for running Minecraft in VR make sure to check out our quick guide to build one. It was an exciting prospect considering how well the game works on a headset like the Oculus Rift. Sadly, several limitations of Sony’s VR offering along with some questionable decisions in the controls department make this a less than ideal way to both survive and create in your favorite blocky world.
I’ll preface this by saying I’ve played my PSVR relatively extensively. One of my favorite games to immerse myself in is No Man’s Sky, which has been able to take a lot of the platform’s limitations and turn them into an incredible VR experience, especially with the control options.
Needless to say, I don’t feel sick playing in virtual reality.
With Minecraft, from the moment I put on my headset and entered a new world, I started getting motion sickness. This happened primarily because of two things: the field of view and the controls. Compared to a game like NMS, the field of view in Minecraft’s PSVR mode feels a lot more restrictive. It forced me to turn my head a lot regardless of what I was doing, something I didn’t quite want to do due to the awkward control scheme.
You see, Minecraft VR doesn’t support Move controllers, which disappointed me quite a bit but that’s not the bedrock of my issues. I’ve played VR games with DS4 before and it worked well enough. Here, forcing the gamepad is both a missed opportunity and a mismatch of concepts. In order to steer yourself around the world, you have to use both your head and right analogue stick. As you turn your head to follow the camera, your view snaps into place, making movements more like a spasm rather than motion. The rest of the options, such as turning the analogue stick in a wheel motion (what even is this?) didn’t fare any better.
The only time I had fun controlling myself in PSVR Minecraft was when I was mining and crafting while standing still. This is what makes No Man’s Sky’s offering so much better as it offers the ability to teleport when you want to move. This paradigm would have fit Minecraft a lot more, at least from my perspective.
That isn’t to say it’s all bad.
Living Room Mode
Minecraft in PSVR has a Living Room Mode. Similarly to watching a movie or Netflix in VR, you’re playing the game as though you’re in a virtual room with a virtual screen inside it. As an experience, it worked surprisingly well. The room itself is made up of Minecraft block materials. It made playing the game feel more like an escape and since it’s like playing the game on your regular screen, the controls work perfectly.
It’s a nice touch to include if you want a change of scenery from your regular Minecrafting but it’s not likely to be your main way of playing the game. Definitely not the sole reason to pick up a headset either if you don’t own one.
There are multiple platforms to play Minecraft already, from PC to console but I’m not going to lie. I wanted this to work ever since the announcement was made that Minecraft on PS4 would be getting VR support. As most people surely did, I expected Move controller support and some cool ways to interact with the world. Instead, the experience is a stripped-down version of the one you get by playing on Oculus on PC.
There’s a lot of praise to be thrown at the devs for including plenty of settings options for controls and UI depth. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make the experience feel comfortable, let alone engaging.