Reviewed on Sony PSVRAlso available on Sony PSVR, PC, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest and HTC Vive
A few months ago, I didn’t know what I was missing out on with virtual reality, assuming we’d already reached peak VR immersion. Now, shooters are quickly becoming one of my most-played genres in VR.
Gunstocks like the ProTubeVR are an excellent addition to your VR arsenal. They provide an additional layer of realism that’s hard to match, not to mention a marked improvement to your accuracy. I went from being fairly average at Pavlov VR to easily winning gunfights at range when I started using the MagTubeVR.
The MagTubeVR is a magnetic upgrade to the regular ProTubeVR stock that kicks the immersion and in-game advantage up a level. It bridges the gap between something like the PlayStation 4’s Move and Aim controllers; if you’ve ever used these, you’ll understand the dilemma. While the Move controllers allow for realistic reloading and dual-wield attacks, the Aim controller provides a more immersive feeling of holding a rifle.
The ProTubeVR is a VR gunstock that not only captures this immersion for a range of PCVR controllers, but also allows you to quickly pop the controllers away from the stock to reload, throw grenades, or just switch to a sidearm. Firing an entire magazine from your rifle before swapping to a pistol at your waist to finish the job never felt so realistic or satisfying. You can even buy it with attachments for Oculus Quest and PSVR controllers.
Their solution isn’t without its shortcomings, however. It doesn’t play nicely with pump-action shotguns, and bolt-action rifles can be a handful, too. Even with the magnetic attachments of the MagTubeVR, I found it was often too cumbersome to efficiently chamber the next round in a pinch. The magnetic attachments do allow for the best of both worlds, though, so I was still able to enjoy a round of Gun Game by switching between using the stock or the controllers on their own.
The included sling allows you to leave the stock hanging at your side while not in use, without putting it down entirely. You can opt to buy the ProTubeVR with a two-point sling, but the regular one-point works just as well. They both make swapping back to a rifle after using equipment or a sidearm fluid and satisfying.
Select titles such as Contractors will even let you make tiny calibrations to your gun position so that it matches the stock perfectly, and more titles are now adopting native support for their next big innovation - the ForceTubeVR. The ForceTubeVR swaps out the regular plastic shoulder stock with a haptic feedback module that claims to provide a realistic simulation of recoil. It was a kickstarter project that is only just becoming available to the wider public, though, so we weren’t able to test this unfortunately.
It’s certainly an expensive addition, though, which leads us to what might be the biggest sticking point for prospective buyers - the overall price. The MagTubeVR setup that I reviewed costs about £130 before shipping, while the ForceTubeVR upgrade costs about £270 on it’s own. The saving grace, however, is that the stocks are incredibly modular, so you can start at the entry level and make small upgrades if you feel it’s worth it.
The cheapest option is essentially just a bar to connect two VR controller cups, and will cost around £30, the cheapest all-in-one kit is priced around £70, the magnetic upgrade will add on £35, and so on. This undoubtedly prices it towards enthusiasts, but with the Valve Index VR Kit costing almost £1000, there’s clearly a strong market for those that want the best virtual reality immersion money can buy.
These stocks have already been featured at Oculus Connect 5 and with the ForceTubeVR available soon, the future is bright for VR shooters. If they're your most played genre, this might be the innovation you've been waiting for.