Finally, the Oculus Rift is here. You can have it in your home and no more reading and watching videos about a “developer kit” or “prototype”. After four long years, Oculus has finally released the Oculus Rift for consumers to enjoy video gaming in a new perspective which is immersing the users in the virtual gaming world in virtual reality. It’s tough to convey how the virtual reality experience is, because this is the real deal that virtual reality brings. It’s amazing how the Oculus Rift can make you feel if you are falling while you are just sitting. Following is the review of the Oculus Rift along with everything it brings to the table:
Oculus Rift Review – The Future of VR
Opening the box of the Oculus Rift reveals:
- The Oculus Rift headset itself.
- Wireless Xbox One controller.
- IR Sensor on a stand.
- Remote control for the Oculus Rift.
- Lucky’s Tale
Oculus Rift Hardware
At first, the Oculus Rift looks very futuristic. Considering its price, it should have been heavy but it’s not. It feels really light and the materials on the headset do not feel flimsy at all. The headset, when mounted on a user’s head, is supported by three velcro straps which are easily adjustable and the viewfinder has foam on its edges for providing comfort. The IR sensor, which detects head movement, is pretty simple with a long stand with an IR sensor on its top and it sits quietly on your desk. The remote control is pretty minimalistic and only provides functions like adjusting the volume for the headphones on the Oculus Rift and navigating menus in the menu which shows up inside the Oculus Rift.
Setting up the Oculus Rift was pretty easy. If you have a high-end PC to run the Oculus Rift, then you are good to go. The headset needs to be connected to a USB 3.0 port and HDMI port on the video card, the sensor needs to be plugged into another USB 3.0 port and placed opposite to the user on the desk. The Oculus Rift requires the Windows application to work and new device drivers which was also not difficult. Putting on the Oculus Rift headset took some time because the velcro straps needed to be adjusted to fit. Keeping the straps too tight can lead to headache. After a while wearing and adjusting the headset was no problem at all.
The built-in headphones on the Oculus Rift are great and they fill in the void left by the absence of headphones like this on the HTC Vive. These headphones can swing up if you don’t want to use them or if you are putting on or taking off the headset. The sound clarity and bass of the headphones on the Oculus Rift is excellent and provides the correct sound experience for a VR headset. You can also remove these headphones and use your own if you like.
The Oculus Rift has two eyepieces and behind those eye pieces are two OLED displays with 1080×1200 resolution for each. The eyepieces are adjustable to focus on the screens for clear and comfortable viewing. Once the eyepieces are set, all video and text look sharp and detailed.
Oculus Rift Software
The Oculus Rift requires a Windows application though which you can purchase and download Oculus Rift supported games and apps. Just like the Steam client, which I prefer for all sort of PC gaming. Each game or application page contains screenshots, description and VR comfort level which basically tells you if a game needs movement or not.
When you put on the headset, it automatically launches an interactive version of the Oculus store inside the headset. The menu can be controlled through the remote control provided with the headset and you can also jump to the main menu while playing a game just like jumping to the menu on the PS4 or Xbox One.
The best thing about the software of the Oculus Rift, is that when you take off the headset while playing a game, the proximity sensor in the headset detects this movement and it can automatically pause the game and turn off the displays. This is a good thing because it saves the OLED displays from getting damaged due to being on for long periods of time.
The games that launched with the Oculus Rift consists of mostly the ones which were launched for the Samsung Gear VR which are very simple and can get repetitive and boring. The big games like Project Cars and Eve: Valkyrie were pretty nice since they have more immersive gameplay and are really well optimized for the Oculus Rift. Moving around in the virtual worlds really does make you feel that you are a part of the game. The video app can show 360 videos or movies in your hard drive like in a theatre but the experience when watching a video isn’t as good as playing a game since the videos are shown right at your face and gets uncomfortable.
Oculus Rift Pros
Being the first one in its generation of consumer grade virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift is an excellent device. The build quality is excellent and does not feel uncomfortable when wearing the headset for longer periods of time.
Installing the headset is very simple and you’ll be playing games in no time.
The Oculus Rift is fully capable of immersing the user in a virtual world in the supported games and apps and is the next best accessory for delivering entertainment in a way which was only in theory back in the 90s.
The Oculus store is the best ecosystem for delivering games and apps but I would really say that it should have been made compatible with Steam, but at the moment it’s not a big deal.
Oculus Rift Cons
I’m not saying that introducing virtual reality to consumers is a bad thing, but the mere fact that VR for entertainment seems too over hyped makes me think if any sort of VR headset just for gaming is really necessary. Let me explain this with a few observations I made about the Oculus Rift:
First, there is the price. The Oculus Rift alone costs about $600 and needs a very high-end gaming PC just to use it which will cost between $1000 and $1200, if you don’t have a gaming PC. If you do have a gaming PC, still the price of the Oculus Rift is too much just for an accessory to play games a bit differently.
Second, you can see the screen-door effect sometimes since the OLED displays are very near the eyepieces and the image also seems very blurry on the sides at times. Using the Oculus Rift is difficult for people who wear glasses, if they can take them off while using it that’s fine, otherwise it can become very difficult to use with glasses.
Games which require a lot of movement and also have sequences with a lot of action might lead to motion sickness for some people.
Oculus Rift Final Verdict
The Oculus Rift has proven itself to be a big part of gaming history even though it still needs a lot of improvement. There are no motion controls as of yet so the immersive quality about the Oculus Rift is not here yet completely. The dream of the future is here now. The Oculus Rift is very enjoyable but it’s not the thing which you should own right away, because of the price and there are more virtual reality headsets coming later this year. We you you enjoyed Oculus Rift review by TwentyNext, keep coming for more.