If you’re new to the world of PlayStation VR as a result of the holiday,
here is some free software worth checking out, and some that isn’t. In looking at these free PlayStation VR games, I avoided demos for larger games and the couple of video platforms that are available as those are just avenues to paid content.
The games (or in some cases, experiences) you will find below are standalone, ideally in place by Sony to show off what your PlayStation VR can do, but some are barely worth the time it takes to download. Of course, with that being said, all of these come with the caveat that they are free, so you certainly don’t have to take my word for it.
The Last Guardian VR Demo
I love the universe Fumito Ueda created between Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian, and the opportunity to be quite literally inside of it and interact with Trico up close was an offer I was eager to take Sony up on. In the demo you see through the eyes of the boy as you get a sense of Trico’s scale and what it might be like to ride on his back. You also get to play through the collapsing bridge sequence that was used to re-introduce The Last Guardian to the world at E3 from the first-person perspective.
Is it worth downloading? Unfortunately, The Last Guardian VR Demo is incredibly shallow and short. About the most interesting thing is getting a chance to be face-to-face with Trico, but it just feels goofy to see the boy’s floating arms in front of you and zip around to pre-determined locations in the environment. I was excited for new Last Guardian content, but I left the demo underwhelmed, oddly both thankful and disappointed by its length.
Cyber Danganronpa VR The Class Trial Demo
This demo gives you the chance to take part in a Danganronpa trial from the first-person perspective as you try to solve to a quick mystery and get to experience one of the game’s imnpressive death sequences from a new perspective.
Is it worth downloading? A longtime fan of Danganronpa will undoubtedly get more out of this experience than me. I am familiar with the themes and concept of the series, but I didn’t know any of the characters (outside of the game’s mascot, Monokuma) and as a result, I felt like I was just witness to an intense argument that I had no familiarity with. And then I died.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Virtual Reality Experience
As a means to help promote the Blu-ray release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, this quick VR demo gives you the chance to briefly be Spider-Man. You get to put on the Spider-Man mask, admire yourself in a mirror, shoot some webs, and then look at Vulture from a distance before you are treated to a reminder that Spider-Man: Homecoming is out on Blu-ray, you do have the ability to buy it, and everyone involved would very much appreciate it if you did.
Is it worth downloading? This feels like a quick promotional thing made for a Blu-ray release of a popular film, which, to be fair, is exactly what this is. You only web-swing twice, which seems like the main draw of VR Spider-Man, and shooting webs just feels kind of lame.
Joshua Bell VR Experience
Everyone knows Joshua Bell, right? The violinist? Or maybe pianist? Well in any case, imagine if you could be in the same room as him while he played violin and/or piano.
Is it worth downloading? This is not a video game. It’s a VR video where you get to witness first-hand a recording with a talented violinist and pianist, one of whom is Joshua Bell (I assume). I enjoy watching talented musicians play, but the Joshua Bell VR Experience is very limited. You can only rotate your head, and when you look behind you, it turns into a creepy men in a darkened room behind glass simulator.
Gary the Gull
In Gary the Gull you get to interact (sort of) with a talkative seagull who is super into whatever you have in your cooler.
Is it worth downloading? This falls into the short film category of VR experiences and while I was amused when Gary tried to distract me so I would look the other way, I was left with a profound sense of, “Okay, what was the point of that?” after the experience was over. I guess you could play again if you wanted and not look away when Gary tries to distract you?
If you ever wanted to sit on a beach without all that being outside nonsense getting in your way, then you should check out AnywhereVR.
Is it worth downloading? I was fully prepared to write-off AnywhereVR when I started playing it. You’re just sitting on a beach after all, but I actually ended up liking it a surprising amount after setting it all up and spending some time with it. It comes with two beaches for free and then you can add more beaches and locations thanks to the myriad overpriced add-ons, but even without those, this is one I would recommend checking out.
VR works really well when you can just sit and admire, and that is what AnywhereVR is all about. It is developed by Dimps, a studio known predominantly for anime games like Dragon Ball Xenoverse. Along with the beach atmosphere, you can also play a collection of puzzle games that are super-imposed on the environment and log in to twitter to see the occasional tweet fly through the air. It’s simple, weird, and relaxing, and something you should definitely add to your PlayStation VR library.
Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare Jackal Assault VR Experience
I know it feels like a lifetime ago, but there was a time when the Call of Duty series actually took place in the future. Jackal Assault is free to download even without owning Infinite Warfare, and it briefly puts you in the cockpit of a ship during an intense space battle.
Is it worth downloading? Jackal Assault is a scaled-back version of Call of Duty with its typically sky-high production values taking a hit either as a result of the technical limitations of VR, or because it is just meant to be a free, short experience. The flying feels good (I especially liked locking onto enemies with head-tracking), but the explosions look cheap and with so many NPCs shooting and yelling, I didn’t feel like I was having much of an impact on the battle. It was just sort of happening and I was looking at it.
Air Force Special Ops: Nightfall
Air Force Special Ops: Nightfall was made with the help of the United States Air Force. It is undeniably meant to be a recruitment tool and even has text like, “We need people who can do this! Let’s see if you’ve got what it takes,” on its PlayStation Store description. In the game, you go through a series of high altitude jumps, doing your best to land in the correct locations.
Is it worth downloading? The surprising thing about Nightfall is it feels like a fully-featured game. Unlike most of the other experiences here, which are short one-offs that are done before they even feel like they’ve started, Nightfall has an assortment of levels and challenges. Plus, skydiving in VR is a cool experience! It reminded me of skydiving in Pilotwings 64, which is meant to be a compliment. I haven’t played Pilotwings 64 in years, and I am sure it is awful by today’s standards, but back in 1996, jumping out of a plane in 3D was a revelation, and I got some of those same feelings here. It is definitely a game worth checking out.
For a ninth, bonus impression of a sort-of free VR experience, head here for more on Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: VR Mission. It’s not entirely free because it does require a PlayStation 4 copy of the original Star Wars Battlefront.