I took a shot in the wallet to answer that burning VR question: Is Facebook’s Oculus Quest any fun?
After much lollygagging, I made up my mind to enter the world of VR gaming. But I was nervous because it’s fairly expensive. For me, it’s hard to justify the price tag when I’m asking myself… is Oculus Quest any fun at all?
Most users agree that it works fine, but there are a few flaws with the headset and a general lack of really great, high-quality VR games. Still, I was really keen to be able to play Beat Saber in the comfort of my own home, so I decided to take a chance.
The Oculus Quest good and bad
Facebook’s Oculus Quest occupies a specific niche in the VR gaming market. It lacks the game selection of Playstation VR and the processing power of Valve’s Vive offerings.
There is a major upshot though, in that the games library and the entirety of Quest’s processing power is fully onboard, inside the headset. No discs. No wires. No external sensors. Just the wireless headset and controllers. All this allows a freeing, untethered experience where you can almost forget you’re in the virtual world. Almost.
Of course, there are nuances to be discussed. It may be wireless, but Oculus Quest isn’t perfect. There are pros and cons that go beyond the hardware itself, beyond the games selection, and all the way to Facebook and how they manage the platform.
Here’s a comprehensive look at the worlds you can explore, Quest’s selection of games, and Facebook’s looming shadow over everything that happens in the virtual world. And, of course we’ll answer our thesis question: Is Oculus Quest any fun?
Let’s check it out.
Oculus Quest Price
Here at GhettoGamer.net, price is always the first consideration. And the price was exactly why I chose to purchase this headset.
Currently, the Quest retails for $399.00 with no apparent hope of ever going on sale. It was consistently sold out on Amazon during the holiday shopping season, so it must be a decent buy. I got mine before the holiday rush, so no problem there. VR is cheaper than ever, but still fairly pricey. And it was the cheapest way for me to get into VR.
Some other reviewers have said the Quest is either the last of the current generation of VR, or perhaps even the last of the previous generation.
That may be true from a technology standpoint (I don’t think it is), but from the POV of a cost-conscious (Ghetto) gamer, it is the first of its kind. The Oculus Quest VR headset is the first viable standalone virtual platform for gaming. The question, “is Oculus Quest any fun?” is moot if I can’t afford the headset.
The cost of PSVR is roughly the same for those of us who don’t already own a PS4. And if the price tag is any consideration, Valve’s VR offerings are pretty much out of the question. Vive headsets are at least double the price of Oculus Quest, and require expensive computer hardware to run effectively. My ghetto graphics card could not shoulder the weight, even if I could afford the headset.
Fortunately, Oculus Quest requires no additional hardware. Not even a mobile device. Everything you need to get started is in the box, including a pair of VR controllers.
When all the math is crunched, Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headset is the cheapest possible way to play Beat Saber, which is entirely the reason I bought it. Beat Saber is life. I could possibly end this article here. Is Oculus Quest any fun? Well yeah, it has Beat Saber. Case closed.
But no, there’s more. Read on!
Side Note: Facebook has recently purchased Beat Games, the developer of Beat Saber. So Oculus products may soon be the only way to play Beat Saber. We’ll see.
Oculus Quest: Untethered Virtual Reality
The whole selling principal behind Oculus Quest is that there is no tether to deal with. Other VR products I’ve tried have had me constantly aware of the “real” world and my constant fear of getting tangled or tripping over the wires. It’s been my biggest complaint about VR.
So based on that alone, Oculus Quest with its untethered gameplay, is a strong contender for most immersive VR headset on the market.
Besides eliminating the need for external computing power, the Quest has no need for external eyes, either.
To set up your play area, simply put the headset on. You’ll see a gritty, black-and-white view of your actual surroundings with AR overlays to indicate the distance to the floor, and a shaded grid that you “paint” onto the floor to indicate the boundaries of your safe play area.
In other words, you set up your play boundary from inside the headset with AR. The boundary line you draw is called a “Guardian” and it will become visible when you get too close to it, allowing you to reposition for safety.
If you are able to lean out and stick your head outside the Guardian, you will find yourself peeking back into that gritty monochrome world of your actual living room. You know… to make sure nobody is sneaking up on you… then retreat back into your virtual realm.
The result is a truly all-in-one virtual reality headset. One price. Everything you need.
Except games, of course. But we’ll get to that.
Is Oculus Quest any fun? Well yeah, it has Beat Saber.
The games selection is where things get a bit more dicey.
VR has taken a loooong time to get rolling. Going as far back as the Virtual Boy, we can see what a bumpy road it’s been. And the genre still isn’t as fully realized as I would like. But demand seems to be approaching a critical mass and more and more big companies are devoting money to making VR viable.
However, developers are only slowly starting to learn what they can do with VR that they couldn’t do in traditional games.
The problem with VR development is that truly immersive games often require a great deal of body movement and can be tiring. Beat Saber, Pistol Whip, and Super Hot are incredibly fun, but not at all relaxing. And gamers aren’t always in the mood to stand up and sweat.
Casual VR games like Job Simulator are also fun for a little while, and Job Simulator made me laugh out loud repeatedly, but that genre lacks the addictive playability of deeper console/PC games or a standard non-VR adventure game.
There are a handful of adventure games for the Quest, including the Vader Immortal series that is very highly reviewed, but I found quite disappointing. Even for the meager ten dollars I paid.
Honestly, the majority of games I’ve tried have been fun only for an hour or so. And Facebook will automatically refund your game if you request it, assuming you have less than 2 hours of play time.
That policy is in place to defend customers from crappy, half-assed VR games. And I have to believe it’s working to deter Facebook’s market from becoming laden with crap. (Like Steam.) Sure, most games I’ve tried have bored quickly. But when the VR games are good, they are really good.
Here is a short list of Ghetto-approved Quest games.
- Beat Saber
- Pistol Whip
- Super Hot
- Job Simulator (for a little while)
There is a short list of other games I’m eager to try, including Moss, The Curious Tale of the Stole Pets, Robo Recall, I Expect You to Die… Actually, I guess the list is pretty long.
I’m not a fan of Facebook. Like, at all. And I’m not sure I agree with their treatment of Oculus, either. The headset itself is great, and the games are good too. But it seems that, at every turn, Facebook is trying to force their social media agenda onto the Oculus shop and into my virtual world.
The gimmicky little social apps virtually (see what I did there?) outnumber the actual games they offer. Stuff like YouTube VR makes sense–you can watch VR videos online–but they’re also trying to tie the VR experience in with your Facebook account. For example, they offer the opportunity to virtually attend live performances and sporting events, “alongside” your friends that also use VR. Which seems fairly cool, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Facebook seems determined to force a social aspect into Oculus, regardless of whether it makes sense, regardless if anybody wants it, rather than just embracing Oculus as a really cool gaming platform. They already require players to link their Facebook accounts in order to use some multiplayer functions. Sorry Facebook, I’m just here for the games.
So is Oculus Quest any fun or what!?
Yes, Oculus Quest is a lot of fun. And despite any drawbacks I laid out in this article, it’s a totally viable platform for entry-level VR gamers that don’t want to waste a lot of money. There are already a handful of totally worthwhile games, and new ones are published often.
Beat Saber is definitely where it’s at though. And with Facebook’s purchase of Beat Studios, it’s likely there will be at least one full-fledged sequel, along with endless gobs of downloadable content.
If you are into hacking your hardware, Quest also allows you to download their developer client and play with all kinds of interesting new stuff. (Or make your own, if you’re into that.) That includes new content for existing games, a motion-sickness-inducing (But still barf-ily fun) Quake II port, and an emulator for Nintendo’s Virtual Boy.
If you’ve been waiting to get into VR, this may be your moment. You could try to wait until the next generation of VR drives the price of the Quest down a bit, but who knows when that will happen? Meanwhile, I officially give Oculus Quest my endorsement.
Oculus Quest? Ghetto approved.–GG
(Prefer classic games? Check out my list of 5 NES games that blend genres)