As a huge fan of Hitman’s glorious PSVR mode, it pains me to say that the game’s long-awaited update for PC VR support is a huge disappointment.
Instead of a fully motion-controlled Agent 47 and a sharper, more detailed and more interactive game world, what we have here appears to be little more than a port of the PSVR version. With an extra arm added for good measure.
Don’t get me wrong, just like on the PSVR, it’s still incredibly fun to play and the sandbox levels are a joy to inhabit and unleash; but in terms of meeting the expectations of PC VR owners who have been eagerly awaiting it, it has to be considered a mission failure.
On this week’s episode of Ian’s VR Corner, you can watch me try out the new PC VR mode as I revisit some of my favorite Hitman hangouts from the PSVR version to see just how much they’ve changed. Which isn’t much. But don’t worry, I was still able to do terrible, terrible things to virtual people, so that makes things a little better.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you first play Hitman PC VR is how muddy and blurry the graphics are. After spending hours and hours in the low-res, low-powered PSVR version, I expected a much sharper and brighter experience than anything Sony’s console was capable of delivering, but even with the settings the highest, the PC visuals were underwhelming.
As you will see in the video above, PC VR improves on some things from the PSVR version. There’s more detail to distant objects and buildings, and PSVR jarring mobs have been eliminated so you can now see herds of NPCs even when looking at them from afar. It definitely makes the world more vivid and immersive, but that burst of soft focus is hard to ignore, especially if you’ve only ever played high-end PC VR games in the past.
The real disappointment for PC VR owners will undoubtedly be the control scheme. Instead of offering full motion controls, the PC VR version seems to have directly lifted the control scheme from PSVR. If you’ve played as much of the PSVR version as I have, that won’t be a problem at all, but if you’re used to things like manual climbing, manual reloads, and the ability to be able to push, pull, and interact with virtual environments, you’re out of luck here. Almost all interactions, aside from throwing objects and aiming and firing guns, are done with the press of a button. You can’t even pick up items with your new left hand, so don’t expect fancy things like dual wielding, let alone the ability to play left-handed.
Oh, and that janky, broken throttling mechanism in the PSVR version that I thought was due to the weird Dualshock/motion control hybrid control scheme? It is still janky and broken in PC VR, even with the extra arm.
But that’s not where PC VR’s woes end. There’s no room scale here, so if you try to walk around, you’ll leave 47’s body behind when you leave. PC VR players who are used to physically turning in VR will also struggle with this because unless you use the controller to turn, you’ll end up facing a different direction from 47’s body, which makes subsequent movements very awkward.
These are all limitations that exist in the PlayStation version of course, so you might be wondering why I’m so critical of this PC VR mode, when I love is it on PSVR? Well, that’s just because I expected more. No advances have been made here to account for the power or freedom that PC VR offers. Playing PSVR sitting in a chair is fine, I love doing it and I accept it because the technology doesn’t allow anything else, but in PC VR there is still a lot to do!
I tried to keep in mind while taping this week’s VR Corner that Hitman was never meant to be in VR. It was not designed specifically for VR and the fact that IO Interactive brought it to VR is a wonderful gift that deserves all the praise in the world. The problem I think is that the PSVR version was just too good compared to other games available on that platform and it set my expectations pretty high for its transition to PC VR. Unfortunately, those lofty heights were ones that IOI just couldn’t reach, man.
If you enjoyed this episode of Ian’s VR Corner, you can find my previous adventures on YouTube in our VR playlist, where I covered the Valheim VR motion control mod, Doom 3 VR Edition and everything we know about the PSVR 2 so far. You can also read our list of the best VR games.