As someone who suffers from the occasional anxiety attack, I thought I knew what anxiety was until I played Phasmophobia. I can’t even imagine what playing Phasmophobia is like with a VR headset.
Yes, I’m not playing Phasmophobia with a VR headset. I never saw the need to drop hundreds of dollars on fledgling technology without any real tangible progress. No, I was part of the group of people with a “wait-and-see” attitude when it came to VR. We are a group of people hoping to see if VR will go beyond clunky-looking gameplay.
Unfortunately, that means we get to miss out on an experience unlike any other: Phasmophobia. But is Phasmophobia fun without VR?
I downloaded the game and booted it up on Steam after finding out you don’t need a VR headset to play Phasmophobia. The game is relatively straight-forward. It’s still in its early-access stage, which means there’s plenty of bugs to enjoy, so don’t download the game if you expect it to be a polished masterpiece. I only imagine how the full game will play after its full release.
When you start the game, you go through a short training game where you get used to the controls. I didn’t know what I was doing when I was in the training truck because there was no way to look at the controls through the in-game settings. I backed out to look at the settings on the main menu. In hindsight, I should have followed the tutorial because it tells you what the controls are after entering the house. It’s kind of a silly way of learning the controls because you have to know some degree of control in order to get out of the back of the truck and into the house. Completing the training game isn’t necessary to start joining matchmaking lobbies. I found this out when I left the game to check the settings.
I jumped into the first open game I saw when I opened the matchmaking screen. It was full of other people who didn’t know how to play the game either, so it was a match made in heaven. However, it’s obvious I was the only one in the group who didn’t have a VR headset. Everyone else was able to stack items and clunkily swing their arms while sliding across the floor. Meanwhile, my mouse and my keyboard made my character look like the only person on the screen who wasn’t flopping around like a slinky.
When I entered the game with some VR players, it was obvious who had a VR headset on and who didn’t. The ones who did had a “hoop” around their body (which is supposed to be a belt, apparently). It looked like a lot of fun watching them stack can of spraypaint in the lobby or pick up random items in the house and throwing them around. Playing with a VR headset definitely looks like controlled chaos. However, what I wasn’t envious of was the fact that they sounded like they completely threw their VR headset off whenever anything spooked them. That’s not something I would do with a piece of equipment worth an entire video game console.
The only thing I was missing out was the extra creepiness factor of feeling immersed in the maps.
Phasmophobia has made me strongly consider getting a VR headset. However, I may wait until the full release of the game. For now, I’ll have to settle for the 70% of immersion I’m getting without one. Phasmophobia is still fun without a VR headset.
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