So I broke down during the Steam winter sale last year and decided to pay for Skyrim again since it was half price – all so I can try it in VR! I also dusted off my giant PRIMA game guide as well but referring to a game guide while playing in VR isn’t so easy 🙂
I have been playing for quite some time and I am probably two thirds of the way through all the content. I think I have put in a few hundred hours now but I don’t really like to look at the actual value in the steam launcher because then I realize how much time I have actually spent in this alternate world. It is similar to when I played Half Life 2 over again with the DK1 so many years ago – the fascination with being inside all these places I experienced through a 2D screen. But Skyrim is different since it really feels like another whole world.
I have my home in Whiterun and my manor house in Falkreath. I have explored pretty much everywhere with all the different biomes and cultures. Seeing the sunsets from the tops of castle towers or exploring meandering rivers looking for bandit hideouts – it all seems so endless. The world looks amazing in VR even if a little dated graphically. It all works and especially all the VFX. I think it is one of the few VR games these days that can give a glimpse of a true metaverse where you can get lost in another place – one that isn’t real.
I have often played for entire days with short breaks in between. I tend to be impervious to motion sickness or maybe i just got my VR legs early on with the blurry 3dof mess that was the DK1 in comparison. I have the movement set to smooth locomotion so i can just walk around, turn, strafe, whatever – nothing bothers me. It also makes it feel so much more immersive than teleport type movement. I play with the Rift exclusively. I tried with the Vive initially but the interface and interaction just didn’t work with those touch pads – sorry HTC they just suck.
The sticks and extra buttons on Rift allow for precise control of movement and the menuing system vs the constant fumble of the Vive pads. I am hampered a little with the Rift setup I have being only two cameras so sometimes i need to get myself forward and then turn in game but this isn’t such a big deal. I really want to try it with the Rift S at some point although I am worried about the precision of the controllers and the occlusion issues.
Almost immediately upon playing through the initial sequence under Helgen I decided I was going to do a bow shooter. This is something that is so delightful in VR and in comparison melee weapons are literally immersion breaking in my opinion. I ended up going down the path of a bow wielding thief type since it is easy to sneak around and snipe enemies from afar. The ultimate experience though is riding into battle on a horse and shooting down enemies to either side of you as you gallop through – for me that was a moment in VR the first time I did it. This is particularly thrilling with Auriel’s bow and Sunhallowed Arrows that explode.
Skyrim VR isn’t perfect, but it is a fantastic port of a 2D game. The VR version of the 2D interface in the original game is a bit cumbersome but it works and is ok considering the limitations. I also wish it was possible to fully arrange the houses picking up and placing things where you would like them. But again this is a limitation with the original game so what can you expect. I really commend the folks who made this VR port and I really hope it is successful enough to drive VR support in future games of this magnitude since that is something really lacking in the VR space right now.