Took an arrow to the VR.
If you have come here for a review on the game Skyrim I’m sorry, but you’re six years too late. There is no way I’m putting that amount of time into that game again. I’m here to discuss the pros and cons of the latest release of the game, Skyrim VR.
At this point, Skyrim has been released on every piece of tech that has a screen. In fact I’m surprised it hasn’t yet landed on Sat Navs yet. The Nintendo Switch recently got a port, and from what I have played of it, it’s pretty darn good. Skyrim VR is a different beast entirely though, and along with Doom VFR and Fallout 4 both getting the VR treatment in one way or another shows Bethesda’s commitment to trying out this new technology.
Platform: PlayStation VR
Move Support: Yes
Price I’d pay: $14.99
Skyrim VR is the full game experience, there are a few very minor differences to cut scenes, but all-in-all this is the full fat, no holds barred game. One on hand, this is amazing; we’re getting this massive fantasy RPG straight into our eyeballs. On the other however, who on earth wants to spend up to 200 hours playing this game with a VR headset. And don’t think that you can take a save from the Skyrim Remastered edition and use it in VR, because that functionality is not available. This seems mad to me as having some kind of Cross Save system between the two versions would have made this version far more palatable. As it is, players that start a game in VR, have to go all in on the experience. It is also ridiculous that this game is $59.99. I understand that Bethesda needs to make money, but a six year old game, released on a niche technology is not worth that price; especially as the chances that the people buying this game have already purchased the remastered edition. Why not offer this as an add-on for those owners at a reduced price. Bethesda really wants to milk as much money from this game as it can.
For those that do want to lay down the 60 bucks for the game, Skyrim VR does at least offer plenty of options to help with smooth gameplay. First of all, both Move controllers and DualShock are supported, both with their own navigation options. For those that want to feel more at home in Skyrim can opt for the standard DualShock option. This plays out exactly as the other versions on the game, with each of the buttons mapped as expected. When playing in this mode, the game offers up several options to help with motion sickness; including a slider that reduces field of view when turning, along with staggered 360 movement. Not that it helped me that much, as I seem to be very sensitive when it comes to motion sickness in VR games. But everyone is different and it is good that the options are there for people to tailor their experience.
When playing with Move controllers, movement is teleportation based. Pressing the M button brings up a target that can be moved in order to aim where you want to go. This completely eliminates motion sickness issues, but also proves awkward in combat situations, as it is nowhere near as fast to move around. I also had some real issues when using a bow, as the motions required to fire an arrow are fiddly and it takes way too long to get a shot off. That being said, there is definitely something cool about firing off destruction spells and flailing my sword about with a Move controller. It’s a shame that I as unable to find an ideal set-up with all of these options.
As you would expect, there are some visual downgrades when playing Skyrim VR. The version may be based on the remastered edition, but due to the limitations of the headset, some textures and character models look blurry and slightly odd. But experiencing the game in 3D VR does create some awesome and scary moment. The spiders you met early in the game suddenly seem far more menacing In VR, and coming face to face with a dragon feels exactly that. There was a sense of awe I felt when travelling this amazing world, with its rich landscapes and wonderful vistas.
In the end though, it is very difficult for me to recommend this version of the game. We all know that Skyrim is amazing, but many people have played it for hundreds of hours at this point and the massive price tag just doesn’t seem worth it to experience it in VR. I also can’t see anyone wanting to spend the kind of time that this game demands with a headset strapped to their face. The time I’ve spent using my PlayStation VR has mostly been with smaller games and experiences; ones that can be played for short bursts. Skyrim is not one of those games, demanding long and intense play sessions. As such, I feel that this would have been better served as a low cost add-on, with the ability to transfer saves to the standard version of the game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.