VR is slowly approaching the point where it can’t be dismissed as just a novelty. There are some truly fantastic games being released now, even though most of them do have a standard PC counterpart. If you really want to get the most out of those games, though, the headset is the way to go.
We’ve collected a few examples of the best VR games currently on the market, games that leverage the technology in a way that makes them particularly interesting to most gamers. Whether you want to fly a spaceship or mow down hordes of robots, these games will give you the gaming experience you’ve always wanted.
House of the Dying Sun
Do you remember playing the old LucasArts space flight sims in the 1990s? They were fantastic, fast-paced games that were really only limited by the technology of the time. One of the most fantastic parts of playing in VR is that it can take older games styles and translate them into forms that really keep their spirit while putting them in a modern context. House of the Dying Sun feels like the flight sim LucasArts would have made if it had access to today’s technology.
House of the Dying Sun also wins points for originality. You get to play as the bad guy, which doesn’t happen nearly often enough. It’s a stellar, fast-paced space sim that will put you through your paces while you get to gleefully take out the characters that would otherwise be heroes. What’s not to love about that? Honestly, it’s a refreshing change of pace that really deserves a spot in your VR collection.
Who doesn’t love killing robots? It’s a guilt-free way to get your murder on, something that replaces blood and guts with circuitry and sparks. It’s a good way to let out the old violent impulses without requiring you to moralize very much, which is nice for those gamers who tend to stick to heavier subject matter most of the time. Robo Recall doesn’t give much more than lip service to having a story, but it is great at letting you kill robots.
Robo Recall is basically a shooting gallery, which is the norm for VR games so far. What it does better than other similar games, though, is giving you options. The shooting feels real in the game, and you’ve got a lot of different ways to take out your robot opponents. All of them walk the line between stylish and brutal but you’ll never find yourself hurting for a way to take down your metallic foes. The game could probably use a little more depth, but the whole experience is so much fun that it’s hard not to recommend.
If you’ve ever read a big list of the best VR games before, you’ve already seen Elite: Dangerous. This is one of the absolute best VR experiences ever created, largely because of how good the game was on PC. It’s as close as anyone is ever going to get to flying a space fighter, with some incredible work done to make the universe of the game realistic. It’s the perfect type of experience for virtual reality.
Elite isn’t a game that necessarily needs VR to be fun, but it definitely benefits from the adaptation. It’s one of the few games that allows even those players using controllers to feel like they’re really in command of a spaceship, and the game does relatively little to ever pull you out of that bubble. The only problem with the game is that it takes a long time to get the hang of it – you’ll find yourself aimlessly flying around for hours while you figure things out. Once you understand how all the controls work, though, you’ll be blasting through the galaxy.
Space is awesome. It’s also something that most people won’t ever get to experience first-hand. VR has made a few really good attempts to simulate the feeling of being in space, but none of them have really panned out yet. The first to make a convincing go at the feeling of weightlessness and movement in Zero-G is Lone Echo, a fantastic game that actually manages to cram in a really nice story in the midst of its technical showcase.
Lone Echo is a lot of fun to play, but it’s even better if you slow down and take it all in. It’s rare thus far that any VR game would have an actual story, so making some dialog choices and experiencing what happens next is a welcome change of pace. Combined with stellar mechanics and a really good graphical presentation, Lone Echo has become a great example of the type of game that only works in VR. Give this one a shot if you want something more than just another PC port.
Zombies are a bit played out in games at this point. They’ve been through every possible permutation, from hordes of semi-intelligent killers to family-friendly flower fighters. They’re not exactly the new hotness anymore, and thankfully many developers are moving away from them. One of the few fields left for the undead to conquer, though, is VR and they’re doing a good job with Arizona Sunshine.
Arizona Sunshine makes zombies work by putting them in your face. The art style is nice, but what you’ll really care about is killing zombies. There’s not a really deep story here or any kind of moral message, so you can feel pretty good about building up a body count while you play. It’s not so much scary as it is overwhelming, so it’s a good way to spend a little time blowing off steam.
Arizona Sunshine is one of the last few good zombie games. Enjoy it before too many other developers try to follow in its path. Be ahead of the curve and have a little fun.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Do you like Star Trek? If so, don’t finish reading this article – go and get Bridge Crew right now. You can come back and read about all the reasons why it’s the perfect Star Trek game while you wait for it to install.
Bridge Crew is Star Trek distilled down to some of its basics. You take a role as a member of the bridge crew on a starship, working in concert with three other players to tackle missions of exploration and combat. You’ll have to work together if you want to accomplish anything, but that’s honestly most of the fun. You aren’t just some random player character – you are part of a team on a starship.
If you’re not a fan of Star Trek, this is honestly still a great VR experience. It’s one of the best cooperative experiences you’ll ever have in a game. If working with others is your thing and you don’t mind a sci-fi setting, this will be a great fit for you. Trekkie or not, it’s a great time.
Solid combat games are something that at which VR really needs to learn to excel. These games are the simplest types to grasp, yet most VR developers are obssessed with making derivative arena shooters. If you want something more in the vein of Legend of Zelda or Dark Souls, you might want to try out Chronos – a game that doesn’t necessarily need VR to be good, but that does benefit from having the technology available.
When you play Chronos, you’re not going to be amazed by how VR is leveraged. It’s mostly used to put you up close to the action and to give you a sense of scale. Once you get past the lack of gimmicks, though, you’ll find an incredibly solid game that only gets better as you play. The combat is punishing, but fair. The puzzles aren’t hard, but they will make you think from time to time. It works very well as an example of what happens when you take a standard video game and give it the benefits of a virtual reality headset.
Fallout 4 VR
To be perfectly honest, Fallout 4 had a little bit of a mixed reception when it was released on PCs and consoles. While it was an impressive game, it was a little lacking when it came to some of the RPG elements for which the series is known. The game was very deep, though, and it was possible to spend countless hours just wandering around and exploring the world. If that element sounds appealing, you should give Fallout 4 VR a try.
Fallout 4 VR is definitely the best version of the game. VR makes everything feel much more immediate, which does help some of the depth problems the game had. Once you’ve got yourself in a suit of Power Armor and you’re fighting ghouls, you’ll forget any qualms you had about the base game. Instead, you’ll appreciate the experience for what it is.
Fallout 4 is one of those games that will set the tone for VR going forward. It’s by far one of the biggest experiences out there, so give it a shot. You’ll be surprised by the difference VR makes.
Eve is a funny game. On one hand, it fairly regularly makes headlines on geek news websites for its depth and the amazing things that its players manage to accomplish. On the other hand, it’s a giant time sink that will bore almost any new player half to death. It’s a game of numbers and of patience, something that you would think was ill-suited to VR. Fortunately, the developers managed to put together a new spin on EVE that is a ton of fun when played with a headset.
Eve: Valkyrie is less of a VR port of Eve and more of a flight-sim spin-off. Like perennial favorite Elite, this one puts you in control of a spaceship that will allow you to explore the galaxy at your leisure. It’s got all the bells and whistles of combat, but with the familiar Eve background to keep things interesting.
If you’re interested in the world of Eve and want a good flight sim, this is the game for you. It’s definitely more fun than waiting around to level up a skill.
Quake has aged remarkably well over the the decades. It’s probably because the game itself is so in-your-face about what it is that even newer reboots can’t live up to the sheer chutzpah of the original. Quake VR eschews all of the attempts at storytelling and adulthood that recent revamps have made in favor of giving you the VR experience you probably wanted back in the 1990s.
Quake VR is one of those games that works better in VR than you’d imagine. The old-school graphics actually feel right in the setting, and all the chaos and carnage are part and parcel of the package. Yes, you’re going to get slaughtered as you get used to the perspective but that was always part of the game. If you want to play a shooter that’s absolutely part of the old school, you can’t skip this one. It will run on just about anything that can get a VR headset working and the price is right, so there’s really no excuse for missing this old-school monstrosity.
VR Video Games in 2018
These are just a few of the best VR games on the market right now. There will doubtlessly be more jewels uncovered in the months to come, but for now these represent the best of the best. There’s something for almost every gamer on this list, so don’t be afraid to take these suggestions when building the core of your VR collection. While these games are probably going to feel outdated when companies finally start to get ahold of better VR development tools, they’re always going to be a lot fun. Give these games a spin to get the most out of your VR experience.