Skyrim is easily one of my top 5 games of all time and when I got wind that it was coming out on VR i bought a headset 8 months in anticipation. Let me tell you it does not disappoint and there have been many times where I’ve had to stop and just appreciate how happy i feel in this virtual world of dragons and draugr. The best way to describe would be that it’s the entire Skyrim game (including DLC) but in VR – Simples.
There’s no point in me reviewing this normally as everyone is well aware (or at least should be of this 6 year old game) of Skyrim, it’s story, it’s massive open world and everything that you can do in it. The vast and exciting exploration, the many, many ways you can adapt and create your character to what you want (I’ve gone for a spellsword tank BTW). The wonderful thing is that all of this remains, nothing has been cut out or lessened. In fact for me it’s even more as i never bought the DLC the first time round which is now included.
The way the game works is entirely the same except the combat controls have been adapted for the motion controllers (I haven’t yet tried it with a normal control pad, why would i!) and the menus have been adapted to be more of a HUD. For the PSVR I have my two motion controllers and head set. Each controller has 4 smaller buttons plus a larger one on the front, options button on the side and a trigger. The smaller buttons enable you to bring up menus, swim, wait etc.
The actual combat is where this game FLIES and is probably some of the best VR combat I’ve experienced. You can choose to fight with a sword and shield, raising your arm to block and swinging the other to attack, easily switch to spells in one hand whilst still blocking with another, equip 2 spells to be a magical master of death (a moment i particularly remember was walking down a corridor, raising my real hand to my side and frying a ghost, so so satisfying) and equip a bow and arrow which works incredibly well, you actually need to nock the arrow and pull back to fire, which for me is so fun, especially as i don’t tend to go for a bow and arrow in these games, and makes me feel like Legolas.
You’re immediately introduced to a quick menu where you can easily change to a different weapon and select various potions, or whatever you need. At the bottom of your screen you have your map so can always keep check of your marker, or local map points and be forewarned of the enemies. I actually really like the way menus and speech are displayed in front of you, it adds an extra depth to selling and crafting etc. and having the map at the bottom is a really good way of having a constant tracker, i actually found the HUD on skyrim VR more interactive than DOOM VFR – and that was supposed to be inside a helmet.
Until you’ve experienced the exploration and the way that the game works it’s very hard to actually describe but it actually works really well, and has elements of a lot of other great VR games contained within it. There’s a great stealth system which makes you feel cautious when trying to pick pocket or sneak up on an enemy, the combat which i’ve mentioned a lot and also a bit of horror, i’ve nearly shat myself a few times when a wolf or giant spider jump at me out of nowhere, and the cave exploration can be creepy as fuck. There is nothing i’ve experienced in a game to this date that compares to working my way through a dungeon cave and taking on the powerful draugr boss at the end (which took me 2 attempts). Another thing that surprised me was that despite spending 100+ hours on the original game i feel like there are things i’m still learning about the game, and things i want to learn.
Despite all of it’s pluses there are a few areas where the game doesn’t shine. For example took me a while to work out the swimming mechanics, yesterday i drowned a metre beneath the surface because i couldn’t move myself about the water. ou’re supposed to move your arms like you’re actually swimming and simply ‘move your head above the surface’ to breathe but i just couldn’t move my body, what a sad death! (I’ve since worked out you need to take it slowly, not paddle like a dog). Also when picking up items quite often the motion control finds it difficult to differentiate between items that are close together, or within another container and quite often I’ve ended up throwing a book across a room and losing it instead of reading it or picking it up. Now these problems may be due to the set up of the camera/headset and the general VR system but i think there are some parts like the swimming which may have been made easier.
The graphics also really aren’t that bad for such a bloody big ‘virtual’ game . Just like old Skyrim the graphics load as you travel towards something, the main difference being the immediate range is much lessened so quite often the distant graphics are absolute carp but then again i can still look at mountains in the distance and be impressed. The character models are, for the most part, really well made and more often than not i feel like i’m interacting with a near enough real person. For me the graphics have never taken me out of it, I still feel like i’m playing around in a virtual world but it’s sometimes poorly made, I’ve noticed a few PS2 looking beams! I’ve yet to encounter a dragon but the giants terrified the shit out of me.
Overall this game is everything i wanted from my headset: magic, dragons and sword swinging fun. I am enjoying it so much that I am not noticing it’s minimal flaws. The idea of a 100 hour RPG in VR was slightly daunting but now it’s all i want to play. I think to be able to revamp an old, over played RPG in this way is a massive achievement and I think this will add a lot of value to my PSVR headset.
You can check out 3 hours of streamed footage by clicking on the dragon:
I give it a 9/10 and this game is going to take over my life.