There are ways to get alternative gamepads working with the Reverb G2, including Valve’s excellent finger-tracking controllers. But that involves spending a lot more since you have to buy SteamVR lighthouse sensors and the Index controllers. Plus, you’ll have to configure them with complex software. The total cost for a G2 setup like that would easily run north of $1,100. At that point, you’re better off just buying the Index outright, even if it doesn’t quite match the G2’s resolution.
I expected the Reverb G2 to deliver a great VR experience based on specs alone, and it didn’t disappoint. But let’s start from the beginning. Setting up the G2 is relatively simple, plug it into a USB 3.0 port and find a spare DisplayPort connection (there’s also a DisplayPort to miniDP adapter in the box). Once it’s connected, the Windows Mixed Reality utility steps you through the installation process, which involves downloading additional software and pairing the controllers.
The headset feels well-balanced ergonomically, and I didn’t have any trouble fitting it over my large-framed glasses. My one issue is the cable, which sits underneath the top left corner of the headset. It’s meant to weave through an opening in the face cushion and trail down your back, but that just felt awkward. I was always aware of the cable’s slight tug on my head, and it’s fairly easy to get tripped up since it’s six meters long.
As usual, the first game I tested out was Superhot on Steam, which remains one of my favorite VR titles. It looked incredibly sharp and smooth on the G2, thanks to its high resolution display. Superhot isn’t graphically intensive, but its simplistic and high-contrast art style makes it easy to see the benefits of a better display. There’s none of the screen door effect you get from lower resolution headsets, which makes it appear as if you’re viewing VR experiences through fine mesh.
I was instantly impressed by the Reverb G2’s speakers too. They delivered crisp, robust audio that made it seem as if the Superhot baddies were right in the room with me. It may sound paradoxical, but having speakers near your ears does a better job of immersing you in VR than headphones. It’s something I also noticed on the Index: The mere act of wearing headphones separates you a bit from the world, whereas sound coming from speakers near your ears can feel practically indistinguishable from reality.
I spent most of my time with the G2 testing out Microsoft Flight Simulator’s new VR mode, which ended up being the perfect way to experience the headset’s capabilities. We already knew it was a gorgeous game, but playing on the G2 in VR felt transformative. I could almost reach out and touch the lovingly recreated control panels, and flying around Flight Simulator‘s near-photorealistic rendition of Earth made me miss traveling that much more. The Reverb G2 made Flight Simulator feel so immersive that the game ended up invading my dreams, which may just be the highest praise I can give any VR experience.