Star Wars Battlefront offers up a special Rogue One X-Wing mission using the PSVR system. It is one of several titles that offer up a special VR level in addition to their core 2D gameplay. As bonus levels, these PSVR experiences aren’t going to be the main selling point of a game. However, they are a nice way for PSVR owners to experience a small part of their game in a virtual reality mode. The Rogue One X-Wing VR mission is a great little showcase of what a VR game can do.
The most well-known PSVR bonus is the Rogue One tie-in to Star Wars Battlefront. Gamers can put on their VR helmet and join a flight mission in their own X-Wing. The story surrounds a “routine” mission through an asteroid field which soon turns into a protect-the-transport activity, culminating in a pitched battle with tie fighters and a star destroyer. The level starts out with a blank “hangar” containing your X-Wing and R2 navigator, you can move (hop) around and look at the ship from most angles, a couple players hung out in the hanger for quite awhile before even starting the level. One you climb in and launch your ship you’re taken to an armada assembly location and then join with your squadron before jumping off to your mission. As mentioned, the mission starts with some asteroid dodging before starting up a combat mission against several tie-fighters and a capital ship. The mission is extremely forgiving, spawning the player whenever their ship is destroyed. However, the mission has a few “achievements” available, several of them are quite challenging.
The VR aspect of the game works very well. Players remain seated while flying their ship, but can look all around at the visuals including their handy navigator behind them. The PSVR system allows a player to “reset” the default perspective by holding down the option button. One time my perspective started out standing but I sat down on a chair before getting into the ship. I soon found myself staring at about the level of the pilot seat – barely able to see out. I now know how Anakin felt, although I don’t see why he didn’t need some good phone books to serve as a booster seat. (Fixing the perspective was simply pressing a button, of course.) I found tracking the fast-moving Tie Fighters in 3D somewhat difficult. I’m not sure if it was the number of enemies, the game, or my abilities but I found it best to simply focus on whichever ship was in my front arc of fire at the time. In the final combat, I did try to fly “upside down” just to see if I could but either the game’s or my own tendency would kick in and I’d soon end up flying “upright” (relative to the capital ship.)
I recommend the VR level for VR neophytes. The game is rather guided, forgiving, and presents a player with plenty of fun things to see in 3D. The game’s perspective (flying inside a ship’s cockpit) lends a bit of “realism” but it also gives players a sort of home-base perspective. I’ve found players most likely to become queasy while playing games that have lots of moving 3D images while a player stays motionless. Since a player’s cockpit environment remains stationary throughout the mission, and only “exterior” things move, it limits the queasiness factor of VR.
Of all the “extra levels” I’ve tried so far, this remains my favorite. The Star Wars license, the space images (and the stabilizing factor of a cockpit surrounding) make it one of my go-to experiences for showing off my PSVR hardware. None of these levels would be worth a full game purchase, but if you have Star Wars Battlefront and a PSVR this is a must-play experience. Definitely an experience one would hope inspires a full game at a later date.