The PlayStation VR2 (PSVR2) is certainly an impressive piece of virtual reality hardware. Lightweight, easy to configure, and stylish (in that impossible utopian future kind of way). But VR isn’t just about the hardware, of course, it’s about the actual experiences you can have on it. In the PSVR2’s case, that’s games.
While VR has been kicking around for a few years, when it comes to must-have experiences that veer close to ‘killer apps’ – games so good they make you want to run out and get one – there are only perhaps a handful of titles that we can really consider classics; games that you want to go back to again, and again.
Having followed contemporary VR gaming for some time, and having now spent quite a bit of time with the PSVR2 and its initial launch window lineup, we’ve compiled a list of must-own games for the device. If you’ve been paying attention to the VR for a while, you will notice quite a few familiar names – for better or worse.
If you already have a VR device – like the Oculus Quest or even the original PSVR – and already have access to a number of these games listed, that’s definitely something to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing a PSVR2 headset at all. While the technology is impressive, and leaps and bounds ahead of the aforementioned devices, many of the inherent experiences will be familiar to you.
In fact, at the time of writing, there are still a few essential VR games that do not have PSVR2 versions, and since the headset doesn’t support backward compatibility, the absence of classics like Beat Saber and Superhot VR is sorely felt.
That said, if you already have a PS5 ready to go, and want to dive into the best VR experiences of the last few years, read on.
12 must-own games for PlayStation VR 2
A first-person squash game meets Breakout, C-Smash VRS is a reimagining of the 2001 Sega arcade game Cosmic Smash, with an incredibly slick audio and visual treatment that recalls the heyday of late-90s futurism in the same ways as Rez Infinite (which is mentioned later on this list). And like Rez Infinite, it’s a concept that translates incredibly well to VR.
It’s enjoyable in short bursts, with a highly satisfying sensory experience, and an approachable gameplay concept that keeps your body moving, forcing you to be uninhibited. It’s the kind of VR game you’re happy to put just 30 minutes into, but are still drawn back to the next day, and it’s even better if you have room to move. Complete with a solo campaign challenge, a more relaxing ‘Zen’ mode, and online multiplayer, C-Smash VRS looks unassuming but is essential.
VR has the ability to take us to completely magical places that we could never imagine, and feel like we’re really there. On the other hand, it can take us to incredibly familiar places – say, a basement – but add just enough video game magic to make the whole thing feel very special. A magical reality, even.
Demeo is a solid multiplayer turn-based tactics game, but its X-factor comes from the fact that it replicates the feeling of sitting around with your friends and diving deep into a tabletop game – only your board is elaborately detailed, your pieces are alive, and you can physically dive deeper into the fantasy world if you so choose, blowing it up so it feels like you’re right in there with your character.
Filled with a number of Dungeons and Dragons-styled campaigns to work through, it’s a nice, chill way to spend some time in VR with friends (the game is also cross-platform compatible with non-VR versions), but the online matchmaking can also be the source of some surprisingly nice interactions too.
If you’re a fan of tabletop or turn-based tactics, Demeo is worth having for running a quick solo gauntlet, or a long campaign with friends.
Resident Evil Village
Horror games are always trepidatious recommendations as VR games. If you’re not a fan of jumping out of your seat while playing a regular video game, you sure aren’t going to have a great time in VR. But if you relish horror games, VR horror games can be great, adding an incredible new layer to already excellent experiences like Resident Evil.
While Resident Evil 7 was absolutely terrifying in VR, Resident Evil Village dials things back a tad to the more campy roots of the series. It’s not as strong of a game overall, but it is still a very entertaining romp, especially with the fidelity afforded by PSVR2. There are larger-than-life antagonists that are fun to cower under, a bit of psychological horror, a bunch of action, and plenty of moments featuring visceral, first-person gore.
If you already own Resident Evil Village, great! It’s a free upgrade and certainly worthwhile playing through again. But if not, it’s worth giving a shot if you think you can stomach it. Horror is one of the things VR does best, after all.
Kayak VR: Mirage
The perfect game to follow Resident Evil Village is Kayak, which is simply a beautiful game that revolves around kayaking through absolutely gorgeous natural environments. One of my favourite things about video games is the sense of real-world virtual tourism they offer, and Kayak does this in an exceptional way. The atmosphere is incredible.
I’m too much of a chicken to ever go solo kayaking in Antarctica for real, but the fact that I can sit down after a long day to do just that – this is what VR was made for.
There’s also a competitive component to Kayak for those who want to compete in frantic paddling races, but really, Kayak is simply a great game on hand for when you just want to take yourself somewhere completely different and relax, listening to the gentle ripple of water and staring in awe at how beautiful our planet can be.
As evidenced by Kayak, not all good VR experiences need to be intense sensory assaults. Puzzling Places gets a special mention on this list because it’s one of the few games that really just lets you relax with VR. It’s a calming 3D jigsaw game where puzzles are realistic miniatures of interesting architecture from around the world.
Calming, ambient soundscapes, a relaxed vibe, and satisfying puzzles with pieces that are fun to manipulate – it’s the perfect game to just plop down on a big comfy chair with, and reset your mind. It’s incredibly chill, simple as that.
Moss and Moss: Book 2
Some of the most downright pleasant experiences in VR are the ones that don’t put you directly in the shoes of another individual, but frame you as the all-seeing omnipresent force in a world much smaller than yours. Astro Bot Rescue Mission was one of the standouts on the original PSVR, but Moss and Moss: Book 2 also followed close behind.
If you haven’t tried these adorable games, you must! It features the cutest little mouse hero you’ve ever seen, as you help him through fantasy dioramas, fighting enemies, and solving environmental puzzles. It’s a lightweight and satisfying adventure, made all the more charming by the way Quill, the mouse hero in question, interacts and responds to you. It’ll warm your heart.
Horizon: Call of the Mountain
As someone who has played a lot of different VR titles, Horizon: Call of the Mountain doesn’t do a lot that hasn’t been seen in other VR adventure games before. There’s some excellent-feeling archery action, some entertaining object manipulation, and climbing. Lots of climbing. Perhaps too much climbing.
But what Horizon does do well is put all of those things together in an incredibly cohesive, refined, and attractive package. Something that VR gaming in general has been missing are those awe-inspiring, tentpole blockbuster games that just feel like rollercoaster rides. Half-Life Alyx is definitely the shining example for PC VR headsets, and Horizon: Call of the Mountain is the closest thing to it on PSVR2. The bright, colourful, lush environments are just lovely to be in, and a great visual showcase for what the PSVR2 hardware is capable of.
If you have a PSVR2, it’s definitely worth playing through at least once. And it’s a great showcase for any VR newcomers. Just look at that moss!
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky is already a wonder of a game. An infinite, procedurally generated galaxy for you to explore and discover. It has seamless planetary exploration and spacefaring with friends, or solo. Base-building, mechs, dogfighting, and countless other features are mind-boggling to think about, with a developer that seems dead-set on continuing to expand the game beyond what anyone could feasibly expect.
Having jumped in and out of No Man’s Sky over its five-year existence, I’ve had the best time with it in VR. Because the game has a large focus on resource gathering, menu-based crafting, and long walks, being able to do that with your hands via motion controls makes a lot of the more menial aspects of the game a lot faster and easier to manage. It lets you get to the good stuff – like going anywhere you want in your starfighter, and building your home in the galaxy – much more quickly.
Something about the majesty of brand-new space environments is far more impressive and humbling when you feel like you’re actually in it, too, despite the game’s cartoonish art direction. For every minor rough edge in the VR version of the game, the experience of feeling like you actually exist in an endless galaxy, where you can just get up and go absolutely anywhere, is certainly something special.
And if you have friends who also have VR headsets, No Man’s Sky also supports cross-platform multiplayer, making it a wonderful place to simply hang out as you build a second, sci-fi life.
Gran Turismo 7
Even if you’re not a big motorsports person, you may find there’s something inherently satisfying about the simple act of cruising in a nice car through nice locales, while maybe listening to some nice tunes on the radio. The best simulation-style racing games, in my opinion, let you just revel in that. Gran Turismo 7 is one of them.
Situate yourself directly behind the steering wheel of the car, and you can appreciate the incredible detail of the interiors, and almost imagine your elbow sticking out the side window.
But with PSVR2, this kind of Gran Turismo 7 experience is taken to incredible new heights. The freedom to simply look around freely is not only liberating, it honestly helps you become better at the game. Never have I been so happy to glance at my rear-view and side mirrors so easily, or check my blind spots before I merge in front of another vehicle. The 3D nature of VR, combined with the DualSense’s nuanced haptic feedback, also helps dramatically in judging the spacial distance between you, the road, and other cars.
Even if you’re only a casual appreciator of cars and racing games, this is certainly one of the most impressive experiences of PSVR2. It’s the closest simulation of reality you can get.
Pistol Whip is one of the all-time great VR games. A truly intense mix of rhythm game, physical exercise game, and shooting gallery, it gets your blood pumping quickly, and makes you feel like a John Wick-like superhero in just a matter of minutes.
A neon-infused arcade-style game with several incredible stages, each level in Pistol Whip is an on-rails journey through a different environment, where you steadily charge through a gauntlet of gun-toting enemies. With a pistol (or two) in hand, you need to shoot them before they can shoot you, all while physically ducking, dodging, and weaving the slow-moving bullets they fire.
The trick to doing well and truly feeling in the moment, however, is making sure that you shoot accurately, and to the beat of the music. And when all the elements come together, it’s quite possibly the most satisfying, adrenaline-pumping experience in VR. And the soundtrack? Full of energising bangers.
Since its initial launch in 2019, the game has added a slew of excellent content, including numerous gameplay modifiers, several new stages, and even a few narrative campaigns. The Western-themed Smoke & Thunder is a personal favourite, which comes complete with six-shooters and more great music tracks.
Pistol Whip is an absolute must-have for PSVR2. It’s one of the games that makes the resurgence of VR feel worthwhile.
This duo of titles from Enhance have been must-have titles for every VR device they’ve graced, and the same is true of the PSVR2.
If there’s any part of you that’s doubting the existence of Tetris Effect on this list, then you clearly have not experienced it in VR. It’s a transcendent experience where every move you make, every button you press, and every line you make has a ripple effect into the soundscape, the visual cacophony of its stages, and the haptic feedback you get. It’s an incredible, all-encompassing sensory experience that is pure magic. Simple as that. Oh – and Tetris is one of the greatest games of all time.
Rez Infinite has long been lauded for very similar reasons. A game originating on the Sega Dreamcast, its timelessness and continued ability to impress today speaks volumes about how astute its ideas were over 20 years ago. An on-rails shoot-em-up game, it’s the closest analog to those far-fetched, 1980s ideas about flying through cyberspace that exists in games. When it was updated for modern VR devices, developer Enhance created a new stage, Area X, which is an incredible, free-flying level that is viscerally liberating to fly through. It’s sublime.
Special mention must also be given to the new eye-tracking aiming features added to Rez Infinite for the PSVR2 version of the game. It’s a seemingly minor addition, but eye-tracking is a complete game-changer for how you interface with Rez. Aim just by looking? I can’t recommend it highly enough.
If you own previous versions of these games on PS4, you’ll need to pay a small fee to upgrade to the PS5/PSVR2 versions, but both are definitely worth it. Eye-tracking for Rez aside, the higher-definition visuals and enhanced haptic feedback through the DualSense controller and the PSVR2 headset itself are worth the price of entry.
We’ll aim to keep this list updated and current as more PSVR2 titles become released.