Revisit the audiosensory world of Project K in our Rez Infinite PSVR2 review, the re-release for PlayStation 5.
First launched on the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 in 2001, Rez was a rail shooter developed by Sega’s in-house studio, United Game Artists. With its trippy visuals and electronic music, it was a feast for the eyes and left a strong impression on those who played it. While Rez didn’t set the retail charts on fire, the game has enjoyed a cult status to justify its many re-releases over the last 20 years.
Behold: the future of videogames circa 2001.
In 2016, Enhance unleashed Rez Infinite on the PS4. This remastered version of the original game that not only ran at 4K on the PS4 Pro, but featured a new level called Area X and was fully playable in VR. Upon its release, this was by far the best way to experience Rez, which you can find our full Rez Infinite review here.
Fast forward to 2023 and Rez has been ported to the PlayStation 5 with support for the PSVR2. While many developers have offered free PSVR2 upgrades for their VR titles, Enhance has opted to charge gamers an upgrade fee of $10USD. Are there enough enhancements in this PS5 conversion to justify the cost? Let’s find out.
Rez Infinite PSVR2 Review – Story
Like most media created at the turn of the century, Rez is set in the distant future where the internet is fully integrated into society.
TikTok videos and crypto scams Rising crime and overpopulation is bringing society to its knees. To combat this, humanity creates a network called “Project-K”. This network is controlled by an artificial intelligence known as Eden. However, Eden develops a conscience and is overwhelmed by the burden placed on them.
Rez Infinite’s updated form of Eden, as depicted in Area X.
With the weight of the world on their shoulders, Eden has an existential crisis like someone celebrating their 30th birthday. Instead of having a dignified crisis like everyone else by buying a Ferrari, Eden instead begins the process of shutting down. To save humanity, a hacker is deployed inside Project K with the objective of awakening Eden.
Rez Infinite PSVR2 Review – Gameplay
As mentioned earlier, Rez is an on-rail shooter where you lock-on to targets and shoot viruses with lasers. Each of the five areas consists of two different phases, the infiltration phase and the boss phase. The infiltration phase will have you fighting swarms of viruses. While the boss phase is self-explanatory, the boss fights are easily the highlight of the campaign since they’ll test your reflexes with a constant barrage of missiles.
No Rez for the wicked.
Beauty in simplicity, you can’t go wrong with an old school on-rail shooter. But what elevates Rez to the next level is how the music, visuals and vibration are combined to create an assault on the senses unlike anything else. The game oozes style with its Y2K inspired visuals and electronic trance music. Even though this game is over 20 years old, the strong art direction outshines many modern day releases.
PS5 and PSVR2 Enhancements
The PS5’s dual sense is put to good use with the aggressive vibrations complimenting the bass heavy soundtrack. Like previous releases of Rez, the PS5 conversion retains the option to connect three additional controllers and place them around you to enhance the trance vibration.
If you’ve already got a save file for the PS4 version residing inside your PS5, you can transfer your progress over to the PS5 version of Rez without the need to open the PS4 application. Groovy. On top of that, any trophies you’ve unlocked on the PS4, will automatically pop on the PS5.
Of course, the best way to experience Rez is easily with the PSVR2. The sensory overload is not only more profound when using the headset. But the gyro in the motion controls is more accurate than using the analogue stick on the controller. Enhance Games has also included the option to aim the reticule with your eyes. Yes, you heard me correct. You can take down foes using your eyes. Your freaking eyes!
Eye tracking makes some bosses significantly easier.
Finishing off the campaign can be done in one hour with some change. There are four different endings based on your form and shot down rate. But aside from that, there’s nothing else to uncover in the story mode.
Rez features a few extra unlockables and additional modes to extend your play time. Beating the campaign unlocks the boss rush mode and an additional mission called the Lost Area. You can also chase high scores in the score attack mode or vibe to the music in the travelling mode since nothing can kill you. Furthermore, additional gameplay modifiers and camera perspectives can be unlocked by meeting a certain length of play time or other prerequisites.
Although brief, Area X is a visual smorgasbord.
Perhaps the most noteworthy extra is the inclusion of Area X. A brand-new stage that gives us a glimpse of what a new Rez game could look like. This stage is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and looks stunning with particle effects galore. The core gameplay remains the same as the original, but you can freely move around the environment with fights playing out like an aerial dogfight.
Unfortunately, Area X is a vertical slice at best. So don’t be surprised when you see the credits rolling in less than 20 minutes. An alternative boss fight can be triggered by defeating the blue robot instead of the red one during the robot fight scene. But that’s about it when discussing the replay value.
Rez Infinite PSVR2 Review – Visual Improvements
You might be asking, what visual improvements can you expect when playing Rez on the PS-Quintuple? The main campaign had a rendering resolution of 1080p on the regular PS4. But this pixel count was quadrupled on the PS4 Pro with the game being rendered at a full, native 4K. This 4K presentation is also retained on the PS5 and PSVR2. Since the lens on the PSVR1 could only muster 1080p, the extra clarity offered by this 4K canvas is more appreciable on the PSVR2.
As for Area X, the PS4 rendered this mode at 1080p. While the PS4 Pro pushed the pixel count to 4K. When playing the game on the PSVR1, the pixel resolution would drop to 810p on the PS4 Amateur and 1080p on the PS4 Professional.
Thanks to the additional horsepower offered by the PS5, the mode is finally rendered at 4K on the PSVR2. Both the original game and Area X run at a delicious framerate of 120fps on the PSVR2. However, the framerate is capped at 60fps when played on a regular TV. Boooo!
The biggest upgrade to the visuals on the PS5 is the introduction of HDR. Which must be activated via the in-game options menu for some stupid reason. Once HDR is engaged, its affect on the visuals is transformative. Especially in Area X with its black backdrop and particle effects. When viewed on an OLED TV, the image is mesmerising. A true showpiece for OLED and HDR technology.
Rez Infinite PSVR2 Review – Audio
As for the audio, Rez was already a masterclass in sound design. But this new PS5 release taps into the system’s tempest engine to deliver object-based audio for the very first time. When using a good set of headphones, the game sounds incredible, one of the best uses of 3D audio to date.
Fear is the mind killer.
Like fine wine, Rez keeps getting better with age and this PS5 iteration of the Dreamcast classic is by far the best way to experience it. The introduction of HDR and object-based audio elevates the presentation to a new level. Rez has never looked or sounded better. Nor has it controlled better thanks to the extensive control options offered by the PSVR2. A must have for anyone that owns Sony’s hot new VR headset and loves on-rail shooters.
So, why should you play Rez Infinite on PS5?
- Prefer short games that aren’t packed with a billion side quests
- Dig electronic trance music and the Y2K aesthetic
- One of the best 3D audio mixes to date
- An on-rail shooter fan who spent over $500 beating Time Crisis 2 in the arcade
- Recently came out of the closet and joined the LGTV OLED community
- Got a PSVR? Why don’t you own this game yet?
But why shouldn’t you play Rez Infinite on PS5?
- Hate short games that only last for an hour or two
- If you didn’t like the previous incarnations of Rez, nothing has changed on the PS5