Oculus Rift Review – Updated 2017
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past few years, undoubtly you would have heard of the Oculus Rift. It was one of the earliest commercially available headsets on the market. Widely popular within the VR community, it showed a lot of potential before its release to be used in conjunction with a high-end PC. Acting as another screen for the user to use, immersing them into the game. Some of the reasons we are writing this Oculus Rift review. It features many positive aspects with an extensive library during launch and continued release afterward. Despite all its high points, the Oculus Rift has some negative aspects about it. Some are Oculus Rift issues while others are problems all VR systems share.
While one of the more popular and strongest virtual reality systems available, it comes at a high price. Costing upwards of £500 ($626) for a brand new, base headset with no additions, its large price point can make it a scary starting option for anyone considering to dive into VR. As for pre-owned, from reliable sources, you are still looking at a price point of roughly £450 ($564). While not needed, the Oculus Touch is something that is highly recommended for gamers looking to play VR games rather than games with a VR option. Getting the Oculus Touch will set you back another £189 ($237) if bought separately.
The requirements to use VR strongly depend on the VR system you are using. For PlayStation 4 VR, you are required to have a PlayStation 4, Pro is optional, whilst something like a Samsung Gear VR requires you to have an appropriate VR ready Samsung phone. Oculus Rift is one of the strongest VR systems available performance wise. This performance not only comes with its high price tag but its high requirements.
To operate the Oculus Rift, you need to have it connected to a PC, we assume you have one as you are reading our oculus rift review right now! This PC will be the hardware that performs most of the hard work, preparing the game and visuals to be displayed onto the Oculus. Due to this, the PC needed to run the game must be built to an extremely high spec with 2 graphics cards, one for each screen in the Oculus headset. With a high price point to buy the base system and an expensive PC needed to run it. The Oculus is not for consumers with a small budget or someone looking to try out VR for the first time.
Aesthetically, the Oculus Rift is a very well designed piece of equipment. Elegant and well crafted, nothing on the headset seems unneeded or brutish or uncomfortable. Its sleek black design makes it look like one of the best virtual reality headsets on the market, especially compared to other headsets like Google Cardboard which looks undeniably cheap. As for comfort, the Oculus Rift shows that the money spent on it was money well spent. Despite all the tech inside the mini powerhouse, it feels light, very light. In your hands, the headset feels as though it is reasonably balanced and when worn, it feels light initially. But, after prolonged usage, you start to feel the weight take effect.
Most of the weight is located at the front of the headset that rests on your nose. After long sessions, this weight will begin to tire your neck as you subconsciously keep your face lifted up. As for the initial comfort, the foam located around the face section of the VR headset stop it from rubbing. As for the foam the back of the headset, it makes wearing and using the headset a much more comfortable affair for the shorter periods of use. When used for a long time, the weight will become an issue and the foam around the eye will make you want to take a break from being from the headset. For the fitting, the straps used to fasten the VR headset to your face is a double edge sword.
To lose and the headset will move around when on your face, ruining the immersion and the overall experience. As for the other end of the scale, it is hard to have the straps to the right because it is going to be wrapped around your head. That being said, it is somewhat uncomfortable. Not to the point where you need to readjust the VR headset to be looser but enough for you to notice, especially after longer sessions of usage.
Being one of the most expensive options available in the VR market, a lot is to be expected of the Oculus Rift VR headset. When used with a high-end PC, the Oculus Rift provides a great experience. Frame tearing is a very rare occurrence if noticed at all and with a PC running part of the software. The games run smoothly and to a great visual level and the sensor does a great job of tracking your head movements so you feel like you are in the game with little to no lag. The main issue though is that the Oculus Rift does not track your hand movements unless you are using the Oculus Touch controllers.
Being so immersed into a game only to be reminded you are still only playing a game in a chair when you use the controller in your hand can be a constant annoyance. Seeing something come towards you when feeling like you in the game, the natural instinct would be to raise your hand to prepare for a catch or impact, but having to use the controller makes it feel like a step back. This is where the use of Oculus Touch controllers would be useful, giving you the options to use your hands as you would in the situation.
The games available on the Oculus Rift suffer from the same issues that plague some of the other headsets. Which is one of the main things we have mentioned in this Oculus Rift Review. While some games feel revolutionary, or a great example of what is achievable on the Oculus Rift, some other games simply feel like VR was an afterthought, simply tagged on for a few extra cells. Not every game goes over the top with deep gameplay, some are the initial experiments of developers playing with the capabilities of what is achievable while others are a showcase of early ideas on mechanics.
Regardless, the library available on Oculus Rift is well varied, offering simplistic games for the younger audience, to fun, joking games like job simulator for those wanting to experience what can be done when a developer has created a game with VR in mind to games that focus on using VR to enhance what was already there like Emily Wants To Play, forcing the player out of their safety net of, it’s only a game, I can see the monitor. Being forced to play the game from ‘inside’ the scene gives horror games a whole new level of terror that was only the best thought out and designed games could achieve.