PlayStation VR has been crying out for a decent peripheral that allows players to enjoy an even deeper level of immersion and feel a real physical connection with their virtual reality game worlds rather than just a visual one.
The VR Aim Controller aims to satisfy that thirst for ever-increasingly realistic virtual reality experiences with a gun peripheral that has been built specifically for first-person shooters. PSVR Aim can only be used in conjunction with PlayStation VR games, and you’ll need a VR headset and a camera to take advantage. If you’ve already picked up one up, check out our guide on how to set up a PlayStation VR Aim controller correctly.
At launch, VR Aim comes bundled with a copy of Farpoint, a sci-fi shooter in which you traverse dangerous planets blasting aliens with an arsenal of weapons. If you want to know how PSVR Aim handles in-game, check out our FarPoint review. In this PlayStation VR Aim review, we’re looking specifically at the hardware.
Measuring around 16 inches across the top of its frame, right to the end of the round glowing sphere (just like you see on a Move controller), the VR Aim controller is much bigger than we anticipated, but it’s fairly long frame is designed to be held with two hands.
Decked out almost completely in white, with a dark grey trigger, thumbsticks, d-pad and L1 and L2 buttons, it’s a very clinical and clean design, one that reminds us of a Wii peripheral – such as Nintendo’s Wii Zapper – but in Farpoint it morphs into a high-tech weapon when you look down through your VR visor, and it really looks the part.
Though the shape of the controller doesn’t mimic the form factor of a gun, when you’re gripping the handle at the back and the front one simultaneously it does feel like you’re handling some sort of futuristic weapon. Considering the size of Aim, it also feels comfortable and light to handle, so it’s clear that Sony thought carefully about its ergonomics and getting the balance right between design and weight.
PlayStation VR Aim sports all the buttons that you find on a DS4, apart from the touchpad, but it also has the addition of a trigger. Sitting on the top of Aim, you’ll find the PS button and the Pad button.Below that, placed along either side of its upper frame, just above the trigger, are two R1 buttons. This is a great addition which ensures that left and right-handed players will feel comfortable handling Aim.
Set out in a circular design and based on the back (butt) of the controller, are the action buttons (circle, triangle, cross and square) and in the centre of that circle is the right analogue stick, which feels very much like the rubberized thumbsticks on the DS4.
Holding the Aim with two hands, with the other hand placed on the front grip adds extra precision and stability while aiming, and also gives you easy access to the directional buttons, the left thumbstick and the options and share button,which are in easy reach of your thumb. Meanwhile your index finger and middle finger on your front grip hand hover over the L1 and L2 buttons.
Using your index finger on your strong hand to pull the trigger, while gripping the controller handle with your other fingers, feels natural and comfortable, and the layout is designed a way that makes it easy to make slight adjustments to your fingers to press any function you need. Finally, on the base the controller, is a mini USB port that you’ll need to use for charging your VR Aim controller.
It definitely takes a bit of getting used to as it’s a layout that is so different to the DS4 (we kept forgetting where the Options button was, for instance, which we use for re-centering with PlayStation VR games), but Farpoint does a great job at highlighting areas on the controller that you’ll need to use so it soon becomes second nature.
Overall, it’s hard to see what else could have been done with the design of Sony’s new peripheral, other than perhaps to deck it out in a more stylish-looking black colour. The arrangement of the buttons is superb, and it feels comfortable to hold, while the addition of the rumble adds some fun feedback to intense shoot ‘em ups in Farpoint.
While clutching the Move controllers in games such as Until Dawn Rush of Blood, using them as if they were guns, does its job to a certain extent, the new PlayStation VR Aim Controller feels, looks and responds in a way that definitely creates a deeper connection between player and game. When you’re leaning right in, peering down the sights in Farpoint and holding down that trigger blasting spiders it feels great.
We’ve already compiled a list of the best PlayStation VR Aim games, but at launch there’s not many to choose from. The only really concern about Sony’s new virtual reality peripheral is whether enough developers will support it. For now, Farpoint is a great starting point and PSVR Aim does its job incredibly well.