I finally received my Vive about 5 days ago and have been playing with it since. I thought I would make a small post about it to update the tech blog a bit but I wanted some days to go by so I could
give an honest and nuanced review of it.
First, the box is HUGE. You can really see the effort and quality they put into building this set. Everything from power connectors to the controllers to the headset itself screams build quality and
design. Even the box looks ace. Setting up the Vive was anything but effortless. I had to update the firmware on pretty much each lighthouse unit and controller, then I couldnt get the device to work with the HDMI
output (it showed a black screen at all times), After an ahour of troubleshooting I assumed that this is because I already have an HDMI Screen connected (my main display is a 40 inch 4K panel) which causes some issues. my friend had the same issue but it was related to his GPU rather than the HDMI port. Anyway, I saw that there was a Mini Displayport port on the hub and gave it a shot, and voila, problem solved.
Finally I could load up Steam VR and let the fun begin. I ran the SteamVR tutorial/setup and was immediately taken into another dimension (bear in mind that I owned the DK2). As soon as you can feel and see the
VIve controllers in your hand and realize that there is no latency to these bad boys you get goose bumps. It did not take long before the controllers are a natural extension of yourself and I was blowing up balloons and pushing them away within moments. The feeling of being able to walk around and bow down to inspect the surroundings is completely mind blowing. On more than one occasion I was thinking that I had gotten my hands on some Alien Tech and was amazed that we have gotten this far in the VR development.
What is still noticeable is the SDE (Screen Door Effect, basically you can see the small pixels, like being really close to a computer monitor), especially when displaying white colors (not as bad as the DK2).
However, this becomes a small issue once you are in a game and room scale immersiveness takes over. The colors are good and overall it is a huge improvement over previous HMD displays. With the SDE still
in the picture, I would say looking at movies or using it as a display for your desktop is out of the question, probably a generation or two away before we are quite there.
The first game I played was AudioShield. A game where you hit blue or red orbs that travel towards you with the beat of a song (of your choosing), There is only one word for this game: BRILLIANT. The simplicity, creativity and uniqueness behind this game is what makes it stand out. What an amazing title to showcase the
capabilities of VR. I have played around 6 hours of Audioshield in total and all I can say is that it gets more and more addictive.
The second game I played was Fantastic Contraption, a wonderful piece of software where you get challenged to build contraptions (you dont say?) in order to overcome a challenge. Here the Vive Controllers shine brightly and show off their capabilities brilliantly. It felt so natural to pick up an item, manipulate it, spin it around and fit it
to where I wanted it to go. I really recommend this title to anyone wanting to showcase the Vive to their friend, it makes use of room scale VR and the controllers perfectly.
Third I tried some different demos, such as TheBlu, which is an underwater demo where you encounter a whale in one of the experiences. The sense of scale was amazing! Not recommended for those that have phobia of the ocean!
Finally I tried out the Tilt Brush app that recently Google acquired. Amazingly creative app which lets you draw in room scale 3D. Lets you download others creations and experience them. This will certainly be a game changer when it comes to art!
To sum up this review, All I can say is that VR is here and it is here to stay. If you have a chance to try VR out, do not hesitate. And if you are lucky enough to get your hands on the Vive, go for it, it is worth every single penny. Only thing bad is the price about this product, at around 9500 SEK it is going to take some time before every gamer can afford to have one in his/her home. But it seems like the AAA titles are on the way for both the Oculus and Vive, the units have sold tremendous amounts in a very short time so the future is bright for all of us.