Rez Infinite & Tetris Effect remain all-time greats on PSVR 2
There’s some video games that have a dramatically outsized footprint within video game culture, regularly coming back into the discussion in new and refreshed guises. Tetris and Rez are two prime examples of this, with the PSVR 2 launch giving Enhance another opportunity to live up to their name and revisit their more recent iterations on these classics – Tetris Effect: Connected and Rez Infinite.
Since it’s release on Dreamcast and PlayStation 2, Rez has been Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s most lasting contribution to video games, a pioneering experience combining visuals, audio, haptics and video game into one. Every game of his since then has sought to invoke similar blends of sensory input and an overall sense of synesthesia.
Tetris Effect: Connected is at the other end of his creative endeavour, leaning on the zen-like state that Tetris players reach in the original block-dropping phenomenon – I’m still a huge fan of Lumines, mind you!
Both games are indelibly linked to PlayStation VR. Rez Infinite was remastered for PS4 in 2016 and redesigned to be compatible with the nascent VR platform, alongside a new concluding stage, Area X, to push the visual design further with modern technology.
Two years later, Tetris Effect emerged as a PS4 and PSVR exclusive, a sparkling rendition of the game that then proliferated to other platforms and gained new online modes on the process.
But now there’s PSVR 2, and it’s safe to say that even if Sony’s new headset featured backward compatibility, Misuguchi-san would still have jumped at the chance to take advantage of its new sensory possibilities.
So yes, both games have naturally been upgraded to use PSVR 2’s higher resolution display, looking fantastic in the process, whether it’s the wire frames and polygons of Rez or the smaller sparkling points of light that proliferate Tetris Effect’s most eye-catching backgrounds and menus. They’ve also added a handful of new game modes, Endless versions of this and that to give players long-requested versions for competitive leaderboard play.
Both have also been updated to take advantage of the controller haptic motors – it’s important to note you can simply play Tetris with a DualSense and its D-Pad – but then there’s the unusual quirk of the headset having a rumble motor as well. You will be gently buzzed by it when triggering the Zone in Tetris and at times during Rez. Still, it’s quite tame compared to the full synesthesia suit Mizuguchi-san concocted, or the rumble pad to sit on with the original game.
Then there’s the eye tracking built into each PSVR 2 headset, able to follow where you’re looking in the world. It’s been used in other games for menu selections under your gaze, for forested rendering to allow the PS5 to focus its rendering might where it’s most needed. Tetris Effect let’s you enter the Zone by deliberately closing your eyes and opening them, Rez Infinite has an entirely different option, letting you sim and lock on your shots just by looking at the targets.
It’s quietly wonderful. There’s no need to move a stick to sweep a cursor around the play space, there’s not even the need to move your head most of the time – you can still use head tracking to move the target if you wish – you just hold the button and quickly scan with your eyes. It brings a new meaning to the phrase ‘death stare’ and almost feels like a thought-based super power.
Oh sure, it’s almost like a cheat mode for a game that was originally designed with analogue stick inputs in mind, but honestly, it’s a single player game, so who cares?
A mixture of the utterly expected technical improvements and Enhance tapping into PSVR 2’s more advanced and unique features, Tetris Effect: Connected and Rez Infinite remain as sublime as ever in Sony’s new VR generation.