Resident Evil 4 VR Mode – PlayStation VR2 hands-on report

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Resident Evil 4 VR Mode – PlayStation VR2 hands-on report

The game’s opening section, parrying, and more revisited in first person.

Resident Evil 4 VR Mode invites players to dive into the world of Resident Evil 4 and directly step into Leon’s shoes to take on grueling survival missions in the ultimate immersive experience. Offered as a free DLC for the PlayStation 5 version of the game and releasing this winter, this will allow you to experience Leon’s full story campaign in VR. At last week’s Tokyo Game Show, we slipped on a PS VR2 headset, donned our Sense controllers and plunged into the dark heart of survival horror.

The demo kicked off at the game’s beginning, where players first take control of Leon. Although we’ve played this section many times before in the regular non-VR mode, the first-person view adds to the intensity of those early minutes, evoking more dread as we look around our forest surroundings, the oppressive darkness so vivid on the PS VR2 headset’s 4K HDR display. We’re hesitant to take our first steps or investigate the cow carcasses on the road, so realistic do they look.

The PlayStation VR2 Sense Controller is a major highlight for VR Mode. The controllers allow the players to wield and control Leon’s iconic knife and various arsenals by actually swinging their hands around.

The thrill of parrying an enemy attack with the knife

You can equip the knife by placing either of your hands close to the left side of your chest and pressing the controller’s L1 or R1 button. Then you can deliver an attack by swinging the hand holding the knife. If you press the controller’s L2 or R2 button while holding it, you can switch to a reverse grip.

By timing your knife swing to certain enemy attacks, you can execute a parry.  Because the size of the enemies you face in VR are so realistic and overwhelming, parrying head-on with a knife feels like an impossible task at the beginning, but if you overcome your fear and take on the challenge, you’ll find the move to be surprisingly easy to pull off. Once an enemy becomes disoriented, you can follow up with a melee attack by pressing the X button. It’s fun how a predicament can be instantly turned to your advantage. If you pay attention to the enemies’ attacks and make sure to match your knife’s trajectory to that attack, it’s easier to execute a successful parry. Once you get the hang of it, the maneuver becomes quite addicting.

Reloading evolves into a truly immersive experience with VR

Handguns are equipped on the right side of the player’s waist and can be held by bringing either hand close to the waist and pressing the L1 or R1 button. You can fire the handgun by aiming with the controller and pressing the L2 or R2 button. To reload, you’ll first need to eject the magazine by pressing the Circle or Triangle button. Next, by using your hand that’s not holding the gun, you can pull out a spare magazine from your left hip and insert the magazine by moving it close to the handgun. Then, with the same hand, you grasp the slide on top of the handgun and cock it to complete the reload.

It’s a reloading method that’ll be familiar to players of Resident Evil Village’s VR Mode on PS5. What was once a cool preset animation on a flatscreen brings additional tension (and an extra dimension) to combat encounters. Learning to perfect your ammo grab and execute a reload flawlessly is a unique aspect to VR Mode that’s worth experiencing.

As the TGS demo previewed the game’s opening sections only, enemy attacks weren’t too daunting, but the fresh experience of tackling familiar haunts in a new way meant I’m already excited to see how later scenarios feel like and play. Resident Evil 4 VR Mode may be the perfect way to revisit the remade classic when it launches later this year.

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