Sports Bar VR has everything you’d expect when you go to a sports bar. Plenty of pool tables to play on, darts, skee balls to throw, air hockey to shoot on, heck even glass bottles to throw around if you’re that guy. It nails everything you’d expect when walking into a sports bar. However, it’s not the visuals where Sports Bar VR falls short. It’s the execution of it’s primary feature – virtual reality. You see, the idea of the game is exactly what I was looking for, but in terms of executing the experience, it fell short and in some instances broken.
Booting up the game, the player is introduced with a short tutorial with the PlayStation Move controllers, and how they are to be used in conjunction with the game. Unfortunately, there’s a lot to remember but hints are displayed on the controllers in the VR world to help guide you along while setting things up. The move controllers are also used when moving along different points of the table. Using the move controllers does actually works fairly well but I would have liked to see a little more use out of the head tracking features with the VR headset when defining where I’d like to be in association with the game table. Where the move buttons don’t work as well is during actual gameplay, as button sequences have to be held while taking your shot in pool. But unfortunately, this isn’t the biggest problem in Sports Bar VR.
Multiple instances while playing every game in Sports Bar VR, the table I was playing on or area I was standing in kept trying to adjust itself while I was playing. As one can imagine, this became extremely annoying. At times, making a shot in pool became impossible as the table would move up or down while I was preparing for my shot. I tried adjusting my lighting as well as the PlayStation Camera but still had similar results no matter what I tried to do. Changing the VR environment did not benefit a better experience while playing the game which in my view point made the game somewhat broken in some instances as it struggled to determine my location in the game, even though I barely moved at all. It was rather frustrating.
Skee Ball, and Darts became troublesome as well. When throwing darts, they didn’t seem to sail at the dartboard as I would expect when tossing them. They would fly and immediately sink to the ground like an airplane without wings. I had a hard time even hitting the dart board. And Skee Balls had to be nearly thrown before they’d make their way up the ramp and into their scoring holes. I would expect the gesture to be similar to Wii Sports Bowling but when trying that gesture while playing Skee Ball, the skee ball couldn’t make it up the ramp. One of my favorite arcade games became an impediment to play very quickly. Air Hockey played well and worked as I would expect it to in the virtual world but still had the issue of the rising and sinking table from time to time. But aside from that, it worked fairly well.
While Sports Bar VR misses the mark on some gameplay issues related to VR gameplay, where it really shines is the environment and online gameplay. While playing the game you truly do feel like you are in your favorite sports bar. You can see bartenders serving and readying drinks, people conversing amongst themselves and the background music really adds to the feel of the environment as well. Online gameplay is fun too (Who wants to shoot pool by themselves) but I did see the same issues I discussed before while playing online. I must say it was unfortunate that I had problems shooting in pool while my opponent hit their shot perfectly in the corner pocket. I suck at pool, but I don’t suck THAT bad.
Sports Bar VR nails the look, feel, and execution of what a sports bar feels like. But in terms of the virtual reality experience, the game unfortunately falls flat. Tables move while trying to shoot, skee balls struggle to make it up the ramp, and darts die in flight. This game has everything what you’d expect in a sports bar except for one thing – physics. Sadly that’s one of the most important aspects when it comes to virtual reality and if the physics aren’t closely resembled to reality, the game will probably fall short of expectations.
What We Liked:
+ Environment resembles a real life sports bar
+ Online game play is fun; feels like a Saturday Night out
What We Didn’t Like:
– Virtual Experience falls short of expectations
– Game has a hard time determining where the player is and has to continue to adjust the table while playing
– Physics don’t resemble how objects move (Skee Balls & Darts)