the best playstation vr2 launch games

The Best PlayStation VR2 Launch Games

A guide to the early essentials for your shiny new PS VR2!

The PlayStation VR2, Sony’s next-generation VR headset, is finally upon us.

If you’ve read our glowing, comprehensive review of the PS VR2 headset, you’ll know that it’s a fantastic bit of gear that serves as a shot in the arm to the PlayStation’s VR platform with cutting-edge PS5-powered visuals and increased immersion thanks to innovative features like haptic feedback and eye tracking.

We know many will be diving into the world of PS VR2 from a variety of previous experience, whether you had the original PlayStation VR, you’ve used other VR headsets like the Quest 2, or you’ve got a PS5 and this is your first foray into VR. With that in mind, and after having tested dozens of them ourselves, we wanted to call out what we feel are the essential launch titles for the PlayStation VR2 to help you build a great library early on and really get the most of out the experience.

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While we played and absolutely loved games like Horizon Call of the Mountain (you can read our full review of that here), there are actually still a handful of  titles that we haven’t been able to access just yet such as the free PS VR2-exclusive updates for Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village, so this list will gradually grow over time as we get to check those out – all the more reason to keep coming back!

The Best PlayStation VR2 Launch Titles

Horizon Call of the Mountain

The flagship title for the PlayStation VR2 and absolutely one that shouldn’t be missed. Call of the Mountain translates Horizon’s exploration, puzzles and fierce machine combat effortlessly into VR form with easily the most astonishing visuals I’ve seen inside a virtual reality headset and makes great use of the unique PS VR2 features like eye tracking and finger detection.

Along with a thrilling, eight-hour campaign there’s a neat bonus Machine Safari mode, optional challenges to tackle, collectibles to find and plenty of unique and often silly interactables strewn throughout to make this well worth playing again and again.

We gave the game an 8.5/10 in our review, saying “Horizon Call of the Mountain is exactly the killer app that the PlayStation VR2 needed to really sell the promise of its hardware and feature set, even with a couple of stumbles. Clever VR spins on the series’ staple gameplay systems, a compelling campaign, ridiculous production values, decent replay value and a genuine sense of wonder make it essential playing for absolutely anyone picking up Sony’s next-generation VR headset.”

Get it from the PlayStation Store here.

Moss/Moss Book II

Two action-platformer classics have been given a fresh facelift with Moss and Moss: Book II on the PlayStation VR2.

The already excellent duo of games are made even better on the new hardware, with hugely improved controls over the original PS VR version, adaptive trigger support, haptics that really make you feel like you’re in the world alongside the tiny mouse hero, gorgeous 4K visuals and more. I especially appreciate the eye tracking feature which highlights objects that you’re looking at if they happen to be important, and Quill will actively pay attention to where your gaze is so she can intuitively react and give you guidance if you’re stuck – it feels truly special to be staring at a puzzle and have your mouse companion genuinely take notice of where your attention is.

Get both from the PlayStation Store here.

Kayak VR: Mirage

This is a pleasant surprise among the launch library for the PlaySation VR2, an incredibly peaceful and drop-dead gorgeous kayaking sim that takes players through a number of stunning locations like Antarctica, Costa Rica and even Kings Canyon in Australia.

Leisurely paddling around these locales, through some of the most impressive water I’ve seen in any game let alone a console VR experience, is a wonderfully zen experience that can also be a very serious kayaking simulation complete with race times to set and compete with friends if you really want it to. Otherwise it’s a great first VR title to show friends and newcomers, giving them something fairly tranquil, comfortable and easy-going while also showing them just what the PlayStation VR2 is capable of from a visual perspective.

Get it from the PlayStation Store here.

Gran Turismo 7

I never thought I’d be counting the likes of Gran Turismo 7 among my favourite VR games, having barely touched a proper racing sim in my life and generally having no interest in them. From the moment I dove into one of the (admittedly already cool) Music Rallies and experienced screaming along the Tokyo Expressway in a Honda S800 ’66 I was hooked, though. Not only do all of the car interiors look absolutely incredible in the PS VR2 headset, but I’m convinced I actually drive significantly better in the simulated view than any other first or third-person camera on a standard telly.

Now, if we could just get a patch that allows me to play using the Sense Controllers, Mario Kart-style this could wind up being my go-to VR experience.

Resident Evil Village

I already knew I was poised to love playing through the latest mainline Resident Evil entry in VR after it was my very first PS VR2 experience at last year’s Tokyo Game Show. Being able to finally play through from the start, that sentiment hasn’t changed a bit. There are some oddities here and there when it comes to bits that don’t translate as well to VR – cutscenes being the main culprit – but overall it’s a transformative way to play the game and Capcom has gone to lengths to add new VR-centric wrinkles to gameplay. Whether you’ve already seen everything the game had to offer or you’re brand new and looking for a particularly atmospheric and spooky horror jaunt this is essential playing.

Oh, and House Beneviento is somehow even more traumatising than before.

No Man’s Sky

I didn’t much get around No Man’s Sky on the original PS VR, mostly owing to how compromised the experience felt in comparison to the standard game. Fast forward a few years and numerous, game-changing updates and pair it with far more capable hardware however and it’s a different story. Interacting with the weird and wonderful worlds in this vast universe through the PS VR2 and Sense Controllers is an absolute delight and feels like its own iteration of the game rather than a watered-down version, with some great haptic feedback features and plenty of VR-enabled interactions.

Pistol Whip

This game, much like every tune in its stacked and eclectic soundtrack, is a banger.

There’s a reason this game has been super popular on other VR platforms, including the original PlayStation VR. It’s basically John Wick in VR but with a hit of psychedelics and set to thumping EDM tracks that give the action a rhythmic twist. The beauty of Pistol Whip, aside from its actual beauty, is the enormous skill ceiling and customisability that means first-timers can jump in and have a good time while sticking with it and “getting good” can yield very satisfying results.

If you enjoyed Pistol Whip on the original PS VR, you’re going to fall in love with it all over again here thanks to the massively-superior Sense Controllers, immersive haptic feedback and wicked 3D audio that all come together to put you in the best mood for capping virtual baddies. It’s a bloody thrill.

Get it from the PlayStation Store here.

Thumper

What can I possibly say about Thumper (other than they need to update their PlayStation VR trailer)? This game makes me uncomfortable in all the best ways, lending absolute credence to its tagline of “rhythm hell.”

For the uninitiated, Thumper casts you as a kind of chrome beetle racing along preset paths through twisted spaces, hitting simple button prompts along with cues on the track which in turn create a rhythmic soundscape that’s less the typical rhythm game boppy fare and more downright unsettling and oppressive. It’s quite basic on the surface but the nuances in gameplay and presentation really elevate it into something special.

On the PlayStation VR2, not only does the game look stylish as all hell with the 4K OLED displays bringing it to razor-sharp life in a whole new way, but the sensations brought on by haptic feedback in both the Sense controllers and the headset itself go a long way to really sucking you into this unnerving experience. The thundering vibrations through my skull whenever I hit a particular beat never got old, nor did the overall sensation of whooshing through the game’s otherworldly environments at screaming speeds.

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Cosmonious High

From the studio behind Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator, Cosmonious High is a colourful and hilarious adventure game that continues those games’ penchant for physicality and unique VR interactivity to great effect.

Casting you as a lightly-customisable… being of some kind… on their first day at an interstellar high school. On arriving, the school’s AI system goes on the fritz and it falls on you and your newfound friends to remedy things. You’ll attend “classes” and complete various puzzle-like objectives to see the story through to the end, but ultimately it’s all about playing with the game’s physics and systems and causing utter chaos along the way, mixing unique powers and all kinds of interactable objects with a ton of freedom to experiment.

Despite the addition of haptics in the headset and the improved presentation, if you’ve checked this one out on something like the Quest in the past you probably don’t need to rush to play it again, but if you’re new to the game and/or loved Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator this is another winner.

Get it from the PlayStation Store here.

Drums Rock

This one really surprised me. On the surface it looks like a fairly basic Guitar Hero-esque drumming game in VR – which is a great if obvious concept – with nothing overly special to make it stand out. In practice, that does mostly ring true as well, with a tame tracklist of covers and fairly basic selection of modes, but once you’re actually on the virtual drummers’ stool and banging away in an effort to destroy rows of incoming demons it proves to be a ton of fun.

The PlayStation VR2 also makes fantastic use of the unique eye tracking feature with a genius twist. If you’re feeling particularly confident in your ability to drum along to a track, you can activate an extra score multiplier just by playing with your eyes closed. I’ll admit I’ve tried and failed to pull it off more times than I’d like, but it’s a brilliantly goofy feature that makes a great case for playing this game on this hardware.

Get it from the PlayStation Store here.

Tetris Effect: Connected

I’ll be honest, although I adore Tetris Effect and had a blast with it both in regular “flat” gameplay and on the original PS VR, I wasn’t expecting anything overly exciting from its PS VR2 port.

Turns out, not only was I wrong about there being nothing new to get excited about, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway – Tetris Effect is still awesome. Getting zen as hell playing Tetris against gorgeous backdrops that envelop you with trippy visuals and a symphony of 3D sound never gets old, and it’s even better with the feedback of each landing Tetrimino or the whoosh and rumble as you transition scenes. And, much like the above feature in Drums Rock, closing and opening your eyes also adds a little spice to the mix.

Get it from the PlayStation Store here.

Rez Infinite

Much like Tetris Effect, Rez Infinite on the PS VR2 is more or less the same as it was on the previous PS VR, but it’s still an absolute classic that serves as a must-play if you’re somehow yet to experience it.

I absolutely love that this Dreamcast/PS2 oddity has managed to endure via the VR space, which really feels like the home it always should have had. The gorgeous visuals in the PS VR2’s 4K HDR displays add an incredible amount to the strangely-inviting and hypnotic retro cyberscape presentation and the physical feeling of each pulsing beat and chained hit is just immaculate.

If you’re jumping into the PlayStation VR2 with the aim to feel like you’ve taken something potent and gone on the most wonderful trip imaginable, this is the game to do that.

Get it from the PlayStation Store here.

After The Fall

My first and only experience with After the Fall prior to the PlayStation VR2 was via a very quick Quest 2 demo in a packed Gamescom show floor, so although I enjoyed what I played I was very keen to get properly stuck into it at home and potentially get together with friends for some online zombie-slaying action.

While I haven’t been able to dabble in multiplayer just yet, I can definitely say that the PS VR2 experience is far superior to the Quest version, with a wider field-of-view making environmental awareness a lot easier and the headset’s excellent ability to block out light combined with HDR displays making everything look moody as hell. Plus, all the requisite haptic feedback in both the Sense controllers and headset itself, as well as the 3D audio, really adding to the feeling of being set upon by zombies while you blindly fire away and feel every shot through the adaptive triggers.

Well, blindly fire. You’re probably meant to make an effort to aim most of the time, I think.

Song in the Smoke: Rekindled

When Song in the Smoke first launched on older VR platforms, it was a dense and engaging take on the typical “survival sim” with some great VR-centric design and a great sense of atmosphere. It wasn’t the most attractive game on headsets like the Quest or the original PS VR though, a fact that the PlayStation VR2’s “Rekindled” iteration fixes through a laundry list of upgrades and improvements.

There’s a massive bump up in visual quality for starters, with far more detailed geometry, texture detail and effects. It all runs incredibly smooth too, using eye tracking and foveated rendering to give you a sharp view of whatever you’re looking at without wasting resources on areas out of your focus. Added haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and all of the other great PS VR2 features are here as well, and the studio at 17-bit is giving existing PS VR players all of this as a free update despite all of the extra work done.

Synth Riders

I somehow missed Synth Riders on other VR headsets but I’m stoked that I’ve managed to get around it on the PS VR2. It’d be easy to write this off as another Beat Saber-like VR rhythm game but there’s something special about this one. For starters, it’s a feast for the senses and makes Saber look clinical by comparison, especially when it comes to tracks that have unique experiences to go along with them. It plays incredibly well on the PS5/VR2 as well with rock-solid performance and fantastic tracking meaning my wild flailing never felt inaccurately-received, just inaccurately-performed.

It also comes alongside the launch of the new Gorillaz Music Pack which contains some banger songs to get your groove on to if you decide to pick it up.

Unplugged: Air Guitar

I’d previously dabbled in Unplugged on the Meta Quest 2, where full hand tracking was its primary gimmick for a long while before controller inputs eventually became supported. The PlayStation VR2 version unfortunately doesn’t contain any hand tracking functionality, but it plays just as well with the Sense Controllers and benefits from being a bit more tactile and accurate than the spotty finger detection of the Quest 2 version.

With the fun of Guitar Hero long absent in the world of “regular” gaming, it’s great to see it alive and well in VR, and rocking a virtual guitar is a surprisingly tactile and immersive bit of fun thanks to the haptic tech inside the Sense Controllers.

Ragnarock

It might seem like VR platforms are saturated with rhythm games, even the still-new PlayStation VR2, but there’s a good reason for that – they feel great to play. Among the crowded library of rhythm experiences on the PS VR2 though, Ragnarock definitely stands out as a winner. It’s rather simple, tasking players to bang four drums with two giant hammers along to a bunch of Viking Rock-adjacent tracks (including no less than four Alestorm songs), sending their ship further forward with every correct note, but that simplicity keeps it intoxicating for hours on end.

For everything else you need to know about the PlayStation VR2, head here.

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