Visual Downgrade Aside, Everest VR Shapes Up Well On PSVR

by Jamie Feltham • October 4th, 2017

As an early technical showcase for PC VR, we’ve long been interested in how Everest VR will hold up on the promised PlayStation VR (PSVR) port. Using satellite imagery to create a crisp, highly-detailed virtual rendition of the world’s biggest mountain, developer Solfar Studio dreamed a real assault on the senses on Rift and Vive, designed with room-scale in mind but also compatible with standing player modes. Can it scale that down into a satisfactory console experience?

Put simply, yes it can.

Everest VR shapes up pretty nicely on VR, easily adapting to the less-able 180 degree tracking system and the Move controllers (with support for the DualShock 4 for those that don’t own Moves). You use two face buttons to turn at angles and a teleporter to explore while moving on ladders and up cliffs is just as intuitive as it was on Rift and Vive. Lots of PC VR experiences have an awkward time transitioning their controls to PSVR, but this isn’t one of them.

Predictably, the biggest hit is to the visual department. Though the scale of Everest VR’s scenes remains the same, textures are noticeably blurrier than there were on PC, and character models have been stripped back too. After trying the game on PS4 I went back to the Rift version to compare the two; the intro videos on PSVR have been compressed quite a bit (to the point that I gasped when I rewatched the crystal-clear Rift versions) and texture detail has been dramatically stripped down.

It’s fortunate, then, that a lot of Everest VR involves staring at snow. While areas like Base Camp might look significantly worse, in other sequences like climbing the side of the mountain these problems are far less noticeable. Textures in the Google Earth-style God Mode are also incredibly muddy when scaled down to human size, though they look great from afar.

Overall the stripped-down presentation wasn’t too much of an issue, and I still enjoyed my ascent of the mountain. If you’ve got a Rift or Vive then that’s definitely the way to go, but the PSVR version will do you just fine.

Everest VR is available now on PSVR, Rift and Vive.

What's your reaction?
  • Ombra Alberto

    Only did I find this little engaging experience? not interesting?

    No kind of presence.
    I expected something more and interesting.

  • Sven

    Are the textures any better on a ps4 pro? I played the Apollo 11 mision on psvr, and while the cockpit was great, the muddy earth and moon textures ruined the experience. That plus I’m done with teleportation and snap turning, it’s about time to snap out of that mindset.

    • Mike Hamner

      I’m right there with u, I don’t care how awesome the game is I see teleport or snap turn anywhere in the description, its a instant no buy from me. same for skyrim. if it forces snap turning on the ds4 I’m going to sell my headset and ill be done. all just because developers wont just give us standard controls like 2d games have. they over think it. “Oh its vr, has to have vr specific controls.” “regular controls wont work” whoever came up with that line of thinking should get punched in the mouth. . sorry for the rant, I’m a passionate vr supporter and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

      • LoreII

        I give you a good news, skyrim will have full locomoton mode, same way used with resident evil 7

      • Sven

        I understand the desire to add more natural interaction with the environment by use of move controllers, which lack analog sticks. Yet the solution is right there. The DS4 is very comfortable to hold in one hand and has all the functionality of a move controller. A mixed setup, 1 move + ds4 offers the best of both worlds.

        Hold the DS4 in your right hand, then you can use the right analog stick for movement + rotation, and rotate the DS4 for strafing (altering the forward direction). That way you have your left hand free to interact with the environment.

        I’m currently playing the Solus project like that which offers smooth rotation on the DS4. To get the full functionality I had to remap L3 to R3 and tie the right move underneath the ds4. (not very comfortable) You can also put the right move next to you as it just holds the pda (hud), yet then you can’t strafe. (or move backwards since movement is only mapped to the left move button) It’s not ideal, but at least I can run around now at full speed as in any 2D game, which makes backtracking in exploration a lot less cumbersome.

        I’ll be playing Skyrim with the DS4, I wonder if it will leave move enabled at the same time as well to freely switch without needing to go into menus like The Solus project.

        • Mike Hamner

          I had considered the ds4 to be a viable alternative to the moves as well. Really, the move controllers where unnecessary. probably just a way to make them profitable. As you said, by using your ds4 controller in one hand you get the analog stick plus it functions as a motion controller so you get the move functionality but why stop there. Put one ds4 controller in each hand so you have two analog sticks and full motion control. in fact the motion control in the ds4 controller is superior to the moves as the ds4 has some kind of accelerometer in it that allows the system to track it reasonably well when the camera looses sight of it so it doesn’t flip out when you accidently turn around. the ds4 works without the camera at all to some extent after all. I believe this is the smart play for vr control on PlayStation at least in the short term. Bethesda needs to get on board with this concept for Skyrim as I believe that if Skyrim tanks in vr so does the PSVR. its that important a release. As to the move controllers, people saying that they cant have full movement control is bull. developers are simply handicapping it with crappy snap turn / teleportation control schemes. there’s enough buttons to use the square and x buttons on the left controller for forward and backward motion and turning can be done with the right controller x and O buttons. strafe can be implemented with move controller orientation. I think the key to getting a good response is to roll the response of the buttons off slightly so there is a little bit of acceleration at the beginning and end of the button press. not a lot . really not enough to be even barely noticeable. just enough to take the edge off. the turn functionality doesn’t really need to be analog because it only used for orienting your direction vs with a 2d game where its required for full look as well. in vr the headset does that so its not as important. it does nee to be smooth turn however as snap turn takes the presence out of the game and it totally breaks it.

          • Sven

            If I remember correctly you get full movement with dual move in AZ Sunshine. The buttons control rotation like you said. It took about the whole game to get used to it though, and I can’t imagine trying to cross a balance beam with on/off rotation. I do prefer precise control over body orientation/direction, as looking slightly off-axis to go forward, while compensating with strafing, is very immersion breaking to me. It’s still better than snap, where I’m moving 15+ degrees off-course down a hallway.

            I have the same problem with moving in the direction you look in (locked to head tracking). I prefer to look around while move, and just as in RL, don’t expect to veer into things when I look to the side.

            But indeed, snap turn doesn’t only break immersion, it also causes me to get disoriented, and actually makes me uncomfortable with a slight onset of motion sickness due to not being able to move straight forward. (I feel like a sail boat navigating up wind in some games) These comfort limitations are causing me discomfort.

            A DS4 controller in each hand would work for me. Sony promoted the use of a DS3 in one hand last gen as alternative to a navigation controller (which is completely useless lacking 2 buttons and zero motion control) The WiiU allows the use of 2 wii-motes as alternative to wii-mote plus nunchuck in some games. So I don’t see why effectively splitting the ds4 into two could not be a viable solution for now.

      • Gonzalo Novoa

        Yeah man, same here, agreed 100%, teleport and snap turn suck big time. It’s good to have the option for those who get sick but for the rest it totally ruins the immersion. I refuse to buy any game that doesnt support full locomotion, no matter how good it is. And regular controls work or can work perfectly like RE7 proved.