If you're thinking about playing a video game in virtual reality, what do you imagine it will be like? Sony's London Studio has tried to answer this question with PlayStation VR Worlds, a game essentially made up of five completely separate virtual reality experiences that aim to give gamers a taste of how cool virtual reality gaming could eventually become.
The idea of "VR Worlds" might give you the idea that you've lucked out and are being treated to five full-length games packed into one, but if you think that, you're going to be sorely disappointed, as the VR experience is really just five mini demos packed into one game and priced only about £10-£15 cheaper than a regular PS4 game with a fully-formed plot, structure and climax.
The five experiences are Ocean Descent, Danger Ball, London Heist, Scavenger's Odyssey and VR Luge, and of the five, London Heist was our favourite, since it's the only experience that feels like it's attempting to replicate a proper interactive game and showcase why Sony's six-year-old Move controllers are not obsolete.
London Heist is an adventure about East End Cockney gangsters trying to steal a precious diamond and get away with the crime without getting killed by rival gangs. Beautifully animated and with simple, easy-to-pick-up controls, the experience features several cut scenes and two boss battles.
Always wanted to have a shoot-out and physically reload your handgun while trying to avoid dying? Now you can, while trying to escape from danger after stealing the diamond, before racing against the clock to kill as many assassin motorists on a London motorway before they wipe you out.
The Move controllers function great and are very responsive, making it instantaneous for you to use the controllers to reload your gun, aim and fire, before reloading again a moment later, and it's easy to become completely immersed in the game with the comfortable PlayStation VR headset, which blocks out everything in your physical environment.
But London Heist was over much too soon, which is a shame, because we could have played it for hours. None of the other four VR experiences required the use of the Move controllers at all. In VR Luge, where you assimilate a professional luge rider who for some bizarre reason decides to take a ride on the wild side and hurtle down a mountain road amidst unsuspecting motorists rather than an actual luge ice track, all you do is move your head from side to side to control the sled.
And it's the same for Danger Ball – a VR game which is essentially Pong meets Disney's Tron: Legacy. You're in a sci-fi tournament arena that looks like it's straight out of "the Games", and you have to stay alive by returning the ball to the other size, while trying to annihilate the computer program's paddle by whacking the ball at it repeatedly.
This gameplay is all done by moving your head, so the action is captured by the VR headset, and after a few rounds, it quickly gets old, not to mention tiring for your neck muscles. Plus you can't play it with your friends.
Scavenger's Odyssey is probably the next best experience of the lot, as it also features some sort of plot – you're in a mecha suit and you have to blast your way out of a hangar and explore planets while shooting at alien eggs before they spawn deadly hatchlings, and for this you use the regular PS4 controller.
And finally, if you like underwater documentaries, you'll probably enjoy Ocean Descent, in which you do absolutely nothing at all, but merely sit and enjoy the view. Which I guess could be fun for some people, but can be pretty frustrating as you keep feeling like you're meant to do something.
PlayStation VR Worlds is a great idea, but essentially it's just a bunch of completely separate tech demos that have been chucked together and branded as a game. There's a lot of promise in the concepts explored, but none of them have really been fleshed out properly. If you were wanting to demo PSVR to an event visitor, it's great, but this is a pricey novelty to play at home.