Oculus Rift Games 2016 – 2017 Review

photo of Oculus Rift VR headset

The retail version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset finally got here in 2016, after multiple development packages and a number of years of work. Ever since, the excellent Oculus Touch motion controllers have been added to the Rift as a single $598 package, slashing $100 each from the original price of both the headset and the controllers. The Oculus Rift stays practical and immersive, if you have a computer that can manage it. With the addition of the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift is more attractive than the now almost identically priced HTC Vive, though the Sony PlayStation VR is our Editors’ Choice for its ease of use and even lower price.Oculus Rift Games 2016

Before we start, simply a note that you can find the headset on its own for around $499, though we strongly recommend getting it with the Oculus Touch controllers. The controllers are offered by themselves for $99.

 

What You Need

Main requirements for the Rift$ 399.00 at Amazon are almost similar to the requirements for the HTC Vive. Oculus recommends an Intel i5-4590 or much better CPU, an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better video card, a minimum of 8GB of RAM, an HDMI 1.3 output, 3 USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port. Among those ports is for the additional sensing unit of the Oculus Touch controller, and you can establish the Rift itself with just 2 USB 3.0 ports: one for the headset and one for the external sensing unit. I tested it using the Origin EON17-X, which has a Core i7 6700K CPU overclocked to 4.5 GHz, an 8GB GeForce GTX 980M graphics card, and 16GB of RAM.

 

Oculus Rift Design

The Oculus Rift headset is basic and understated. It’s a plain black rectangular visor with rounded edges and little visual flair. The front panel is entirely flat, marked just with an Oculus logo. The sides of the visor are similarly flat, and connect to arms that pivot a little up and down and connect to the three-strap harness for securing the gadget on your head.

A strap extends from each arm around the sides of your head, with a third strap extending from the top of the visor over the top of your head, conference at a cushioned triangle in the back. The straps are held in place with hook-and-loop fasteners, and can be easily changed. A set of on-ear headphones rest on the arms, able to individually pivot and flip up and down to appropriately fit on your ears.

By itself, the headset is fairly light and comfortable. You can use glasses with the Rift, however it will make the fit a bit tighter. I utilized my glasses when testing the headset, which assisted make sure that I saw crisp and precise visuals. But it likewise made putting the Rift on and taking it off a bit awkward, and depending on the size of your frames, they might harm your capability to wear the headset for extended periods of time.

The headset connects to your PC directly through a prolonged cable television that splits off near the end into HDMI and USB 3.0 connectors. The cable television winds down the left strap before running clear of the headset. It’s a little bit more awkward than the over-the-top-of-the-head cable of the HTC Vive, and I discovered myself struggling to find a comfortable position where the cable television didn’t sit distractingly on my shoulder. However it’s not almost as big a concern in usage as the HTC Vive’s cable, given that the Vive is created to work when you’re walking a set area.

The Rift by itself uses a single external sensor, a black cylinder that rests on a nine-inch-tall metal desktop stand. The sensor can tilt up and down, and should be put where it can preserve a clear view of the headset when in usage. A 2nd, identical sensing unit tracks the Oculus Touch controllers, and the two sensing units work in tandem to enhance tracking for all the gadgets and cover a larger location than the fixed position just one sensing unit permits.

When you’re up and running, a 2,160-by-1,200 OLED panel is used to produce a 1,080-by-1,200 picture for each eye, separated by the lenses in the headset (just like the Vive). The lenses can be adjusted utilizing a little lever on the best underside of the visor. More on the visual themselves in a bit.

 

Controls

The Oculus Touch motion controllers originally released as an optional addition, however have actually because been contributed to the $598 Rift bundle. They aren’t the only control choices included in the box, however. The Oculus Remote is a small, rounded bar with a big, circular navigation pad and Back, Menu, and Up/Down buttons. The remote helpfully includes a lanyard to keep it attached to your wrist when you’re using the Rift. The Rift likewise consists of an Xbox One cordless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows with which you can utilize it, which is handy for VR video games that use standard, non-motion-based control schemes.

With the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift’s controls reach parity with the HTC Vive’s, which has actually included movement controls out of package because its launch. We enter into more detail in our review of the Oculus Touch, however it’s an extremely comfortable, natural-feeling control scheme with responsive physical components like analog sticks and face buttons in addition to motion tracking.Oculus Rift Games 2016

 

Setup

Establishing the Rift is simple. You have to download the Oculus setup software application on your PC, which will then walk you through the reasonably couple of actions needed to get going. Initially, plug the headset and sensing units into your computer system, utilizing an HDMI and three USB 3.0 ports. Second, sync the remote by pulling out the battery tab and pressing a button. Lastly (and additionally), plug the Xbox One receiver into a USB 2.0 port and set the gamepad with it. When these steps are complete, you can slip the headset on and jump into the Oculus software application.

At this moment in the setup procedure, you can play any software application readily available on the Oculus Store, but you can go even more with fairly little trouble. By setting the Oculus software application to load apps from unknown sources, you can get the headset to work with SteamVR, much like the HTC Vive utilizes. The launch of Oculus Touch suggests you can now use all SteamVR video games that support motion controls with the Rift. They sign up as HTC Vive motion controllers when you set them up for Steam, and work flawlessly with Vive-compatible video games.

While the Rift now has motion controls, it does not rather support the exact same whole-room VR as the Vive. You can utilize it while sitting, standing, or within a location defined by the two sensing units included with the Rift and Touch. It supports a smaller sized space than the Vive’s wall-mountable sensing units do, however this is a little sacrifice; since the HTC Vive is tethered to your connected computer with a cable similar to the Rift, actually walking around with the headset on needs you to be really cautious not to journey over the dragging wire. It’s an immersion-breaker that hurts the experience of otherwise totally free movement in VR. The Rift’s head tracking, in addition to Touch controller tracking, work extremely well within the space the sensing units permit.

 

The Oculus Experience

The Rift shares the same resolution and refresh rate as the Vive, and as such the experience is very comparable between the 2. Like the Vive, the Rift produces a crisp photo with smooth movement and head tracking. In screening, the 3D impact of the stereoscopic images really gave me the sense that the virtual items I was looking at were in fact in front of me. Eventually, the Rift headset is a display screen, so smoothness and graphical fidelity will depend upon the power of your computer and sophistication of the software. In regards to hardware, though, the Rift produces a compelling virtual experience for the eyes.

I played a couple of VR titles offered on the Oculus shop, consisting of EVE: Valkyrie, Farlands, and Lucky’s Tale. I likewise attempted Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games and Virtual Desktop, released through SteamVR

EVE: Valkyrie is the star of the launch titles for the Oculus Rift. It’s an online, multiplayer area dogfighting video game sent in the EVE universe. You play a cloned pilot who runs sorties with your squad versus other, similar squads. It boils down to the space variation of group deathmatch in any first-person shooter, but it’s an interesting and relatively deep flight game.

The format is best for using the Rift while sitting. The view puts you in the cockpit of your selected space fighter, and you can easily look around it while remaining in place. The game itself is managed with the Xbox One gamepad, piloting the ship with the dual analog sticks and shooting with the triggers. Basically, the VR aspect of the video game is unnecessary; the experience is in fact much like playing a dogfighting video game on a normal monitor, just with the ability to look easily around your cockpit (which does not offer any significant tactical benefit). Nevertheless, the immersiveness the Rift provides in completely engulfing you in this cockpit viewpoint actually makes the game feel more appealing and tense.

It isn’t a complicated economic MMO like EVE itself, and the design of combat is a bit arcade-like in how ships fly and fire, but it’s pleasurable to fly around in space, shooting at people while they contend you. It feels like one of the most total video games made specifically with VR in mind.

Farlands is a xenobiological play area. You play a scientist on an alien world, searching for brand-new life types. You can scan different animals by staring at them, and improve your understanding of them by feeding them foods they desire. It has a very mellow quality, searching for alien animals and viewing them consume to gradually and steadily unlock brand-new environments to explore. While the idea seems perfect for movement controls, it was easy to have fun with a traditional gamepad, using a reticle in the center of your view to highlight things and move around.Oculus Rift Games 2016

Lucky’s Tale is a basic cartoony third-person platformer where you control a cartoon fox as he runs through different levels attempting to rescue his pet pig. It’s a distinctive experience that does not truly need VR at all. Using the Rift in a video game like this lets you look around easily from your above-the-action perspective. However, you can’t readily move the camera to obtain a better view of a given position relative to the character you’re managing, which proved to be very frustrating when trying to get Lucky to gather lines of coins embeded in specific arcs in 3D area; without the capability to pan around Lucky, I couldn’t quickly align my dives.

Our evaluation of the Oculus Touch goes into detail of what Oculus Rift games that support Touch resemble, however to summarize the experience, the optional Touch controllers make things like spray-painting walls, aiming weapons, and using telekinetic powers feel very natural.

 

SteamVR

I ran Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games (ATMMHG) on SteamVR to see if the Rift could manage it as efficiently as the Vive does. While SteamVR isn’t really the Rift’s native platform, it displayed the interface and loaded the video game completely, and I found it was simply as smooth and immersive as it is on the Vive (though, like with Lucky’s Tale, the real value of playing said third-person platformer in VR is still doubtful).

I likewise tried Virtual Desktop, a program that predicts your computer’s screen in front of you in virtual area. It was just as practical and intriguing as it was with the HTC Vive, revealing my monitor as a giant, curved screen around me. The software application can also produce a flat screen, as well as show your desktop view as a tv installed on the wall of a home theater. It’s a convenient way to make VR beneficial, even without VR-specific software. If you want to enjoy a video and it’s not available on a customer for the Oculus Rift or on SteamVR, you can just fill it with Virtual Desktop.

The only downside is the resolution of the screen. Because the Rift reveals a 1,080-by-1,200 photo to each eye, and the virtual screen looks like a floating item, it’s in fact smaller than the headset’s per-eye resolution. That means text can appear blurred and rough unless you find a sweet spot from which to take a look at the screen, and reading can trigger eye stress. That said, enjoying video on Hulu and Netflix is extremely cool.

 

Final Thoughts

The Oculus Rift conveniently produces an immersive, crisp virtual reality experience that will continue to improve with the development of new software application, which has actually been gradually coming out on both the Oculus store and SteamVR. The release of the Oculus Touch controllers and the addition of them to the $600 headset plan even more adds to the value, though the HTC Vive’s recent cut to $599 puts them on equivalent footing in price and functions. Both are technically impressive, powerful VR headsets, but our Editors’ Choice stays the PlayStation VR for its lower price and ease of use (though it only works with the PlayStation 4, instead of a PC).

If you want to try virtual reality, however you do not want to spend a minimum of $400, the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View are solid options. They’re smartphone-based VR headsets that use some of the best mobile VR experiences you can presently get for around $100. However, you need a compatible phone to utilize them.Oculus Rift Games 2016