by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 7th March, 2019
Check out 15 best VR games you can play right now. And yes, a lot of these are PSVR exclusives.
Virtual Reality gaming was mostly a gimmick for the last couple of years. The first generation of VR headsets didn't sell enough to interest developers into making games for VR, and Sony's decision to equip the PS4 with its own virtual reality headset was a smart move but it needed a couple of years for developers to finish the games they started making back in 2016, after the PlayStation VR release. But during 2018 we received a bunch of cool games, creating enough value for people to start buying VR headsets for actual gaming.
VR gaming simply exploded during 2018 mostly thanks to PSVR and its share of amazing exclusives such as Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Tetris Effect, and Firewall Zero Hour. PC, on the other hand, received a couple of exemplary VR titles such as Beat Saber, Moss, and Creed: Rise to Glory (all of which are also available for the PSVR).
And this list is mostly made out of video games released during the previous year. But we also included some older titles that still offer amazing VR experiences such as Star Trek Bridge Crew, Doom VFR, or the amazing Resident Evil 7 VR (that is still a PSVR exclusive, a sad thing for all PC VR gamers).
There are 15 titles in total in this list and all of them are must play for owners or Virtual Reality headsets. If you own a PSVR, HTC Vive, or the Oculus Rift these games simply have to be played because they represent the best of the best when it comes to VR gaming.
Sure, some can only be played on the PS4 but if you're really into VR gaming now is the right time to get the console along with its standalone VR headset because there are plenty of amazing VR titles to justify the investment. And even if you only play exclusively on the PC there are plenty of VR games out there, enough to make you busy for months.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission is hands down the best game you can play on PSVR at the moment. This title is intentionally built to employ all of the cool features found in Sony's VR headset and in the excellent DS4 controller and believe me, it succeeds in its mission. The immersive feeling when playing the game is achieved by putting the player inside the game and making them an active resident of the virtual world of Captain Astro.
You can break obstacles with your head, or move around in order to find a new path for Astro to follow but at the same time you control the cute robot and help him battle bad guys. And some of those bad guys are after you, adding an additional layer to the combat and the usage of VR-specific controls.
This two-fold control system is amazing and makes you forget about the real world because you have to perform different moves non-stop while playing the game. The controls are intuitive and pretty simple, just further increasing the game's fun factor. Characters are insanely interesting, the story is over the top in a good way and visuals are pretty enough.
But all that is simply an enjoyable background for the game's breakthrough gameplay and the control system that soaks you completely into the game world. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission shows all of the cool features found in PSVR and is a must buy for all owners of the VR headset.
Rhythm-based games are aplenty with titles like Rez, Audiosurf, and Thumper offering more than a simple note hitting while playing fake instruments experience of Rock Band and Guitar Hero games. But Beat Saber is something else completely, something cooler than all other rhythm-based games combined.
This one is a Virtual Reality video game in which you wield two lightsabers which are used to literally slice notes that come at you following the rhythm of a song that's playing in the background. Yes, this game is one of those elusive titles that simply cannot be described in words. Just check a video or two of people playing Beat Saber and you will get the idea why this game is considered the best VR game of them all.
It looks cool and all but once you start playing you will be transferred into another dimension where hitting notes with move controllers is the sole thing that needs to be done in order to survive.
And you will stay in this dimension for hours until you realize hunger overwhelming your whole body or until someone breaks the immersion by entering the room. Each level in Beat Saber is the best thing you ever played and then you beat it and discover that the next level is the best thing you played in your life. Yes, the game is that good. And another great thing about Beat Saber is the fact that the game can be played both on PC (it supports both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift) and PSVR. The only thing you need is a pair of move controllers.
Everyone thought this game will be just a quick cash grab because let's face it, almost all movie-based games are indeed quick cash grabs that don't offer much in terms of gameplay, visuals, and especially story. But Creed: Rise to Glory is a surprisingly good title mostly because it uses VR in marvelous ways.
As soon as you start your first match you will be amazed by the excellent visuals and tight motion controls (you need PlayStation Move controllers on PSVR or other motion controls offered on the PC to play this one) that perfectly recreate your moves into the game. This makes every match exciting and filled with badly landed shots but after you play the game a bit your boxing skills will rise immensely once you get familiar with controls and ways to knock down enemies.
Creed: Rise to Glory is the best boxing game you can play right now, mostly because the game relies heavily on motion controls. This makes it so enjoyable; you have to move your whole body in order to avoid enemy blows, you have to quickly land precise punches in order to break their defense, and all this makes for one helluva exciting and surprisingly complex fighting game that shines in VR.
I waited for a true successor to Fight Night for almost a decade (Fight Night Champion came out in 2011 just so you know) and while Creed isn't on par with Fight Night's awesome career mode and while the game doesn't offer real-life fighters it is still one highly addictive VR boxing game that currently has no match, on PC or on PSVR.
We all thought that VR Doom will transform the whole game into Virtual Reality but the reality is that we actually got a completely new experience with its own story, offered to owners of PSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift. Yep, Doom VFR is available for every VR headset and luckily isn't a PSVR exclusive.
The game is like a simplified version of Doom with VR-friendly locomotion mechanic, a solid story, nice graphics that still are below the original (it had to be done in order for the game to work as intended on the PSVR), and intense shootouts. The shooting is the reason why Doom VFR is so good. Once you put your headset on you will want to just meet more enemies and utterly destroy them with your arsenal of deadly weapons.
Every combat encounter in Doom VFR is a unique experience filled with adrenaline, excitement, and a big, wide smile on your face. Weapons behave like explosive cannons, everything is bathing in gore, and glory kills never looked so good. Yes, Doom VFR is shorter and more condensed experience compared to the full game but it is still a marvelous shooter that works like a charm in VR.
Lone Echo came out in 2017 and for a long time, it kept the throne of the best VR game ever. Its unique locomotion system that allows players to freely move around the space station in zero gravity was a huge leap forward when it comes to movement mechanics in VR games.
This was the first title to offer completely free movement system that worked natural and that was intuitive. The game also features excellent story, well-written characters and actually excellent environmental puzzles that further find new ways of using VR motion controls. Lone Echo is an excellent choice as a standalone VR title but its multiplayer components are what make this whole package an amazing deal.
Echo Combat is a zero-gravity multiplayer shooter that is hands down the most exciting way to use your VR headset. Its fast paced, it requires lots of time to adjust but once you learn controls you will discover a fantastic shooter that shows just how much VR gaming can be cool and better than classic gaming on dull and flat computer monitors and TVs.
And the third part of the package is Echo Arena, a futuristic-looking multiplayer sports title that relies on Lone Echo's unique locomotion control system in order to create a zero-gravity handball-like virtual sport that is a blast to play online! The only problem is that the number of online players is pretty low despite the fact that two multiplayer titles can be bought for $10 (Echo Arena is free while Combat costs $10).
The probable cause for dwindling number of online players is the fact that both Lone Echo and its two standalone multiplayer components are available exclusively for the Oculus Rift.
It is what it is: Fallout 4 but in VR. And yes, it is as good as you think. The whole game is available in VR and the movement system had to be redone in order to allow players a simple way to traverse across the wasteland. Luckily, Bethesda worked out a simple and intuitive movement system in Skyrim VR so they simply used that one here and it works excellent.
Sure, you don't have the same freedom as when playing with a controller or a mouse and keyboard but it allows you to move without being frustrated and that's more than enough.
Gunfights play solid in VR while in VATS and aiming different parts of enemies' bodies while in VATS is enjoyable and right on the spot. The game isn't so great when it comes to preventing players to have motion sickness because there is lots of jittering and rapid camera movement but if you're a fan of the game and happen to own an HTC Vice or Oculus Rift you should definitely try the VR version of Fallout 4. Sadly, the game isn't available for the PSVR.
VR gaming scene desperately needed an exciting and well-built online first-person shooter for years and Sony more than delivered with Firewall Zero Hour. The game is a perfect VR shooter, especially when played with the PlayStation Aim controller, an optional gadget that simulates holding a real gun in your hands.
With the Aim controller, you can peek behind corners, move your character in an intuitive way and shoot enemies with ease. It allows for simple aiming and natural movement not possible when you play the game with a regular DS4, or Move controller.
And what a game Firewall Zero Hour is. This superb PvP online shooter plays like a pseudo-hardcore shooter, something like Rainbow Six Siege. You have two teams of players that need to complete objectives while trying to kill the other team, and each match is super exciting, especially the shooting parts. This is because developers nailed the feeling of shooting a gun in a VR game. Everything feels so sleek and impactful; bullets are blazing around you while your gun explodes in a cacophony of sounds each time you fire at someone.
Each match is maximally tense and each kill feels like you just knocked down the best Firewall player in the world. The easy and simple control system allows even new players to get into the action in a minute and supreme immersion will keep you glued to your headset until you deplete batteries on the poor Aim controller. A supreme PvP VR experience that, sadly, is exclusive to PSVR.
When you look at it Moss doesn't really look like a proper VR title, and it doesn't really look that exciting. But keep playing and you will discover a beautiful platformer that capitalizes on unique controls and gameplay elements that are possible thanks to that huge VR headset you wear while playing the game.
The game looks amazing for a VR game and it plays even better. You look at the cute mouse called Quill (she's really incredibly cute) from a third person perspective but the game allows you to look around by moving your head.
You can control Quill but the real fun is in the fact that you can also interact with the environment by moving objects, creating new paths for Quill, solving puzzles, battling enemies and more, all by using move controllers found on every VR platform. All this makes for one exciting action adventure game that is filled with great moments. It's amazing because the game allows you to literally reach into the world of Moss and interact with it, which feels more than amazing.
Great and unique gameplay and marvelous visuals are fortified with an emotional story and excellent characters that give the game liveliness not seen in many similar titles. You will create an emotional bond with Quill and every victory will feel like your own. The best thing is that this masterpiece of a game is available for all three major VR platforms (PSVR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive).
Resident Evil 7 marked the return of the famous survival horror series. This soft reboot kept the signature tension and dread that made Resident Evil games of past so popular while flirting with some modern features like the first person camera and hide and seek gameplay of modern horror titles. This, combined with superb storytelling that puts everything in its place near the end of the game, makes Resident Evil 7 one phenomenal horror game. And then you put the VR headset on and simply start screaming all the time.
The VR flavor of the game is PS4 exclusive and it puts the whole game in Virtual Reality. You can play RE 7 from start to finish in Virtual Reality and, to be honest, this is a rather unique experience at the moment. And when I say unique I mean deeply disturbing and scary as hell itself. First person camera makes this game perfect in VR because the level of immersion is through the roof.
You will be scared like never before during some scenes that involve brutal acts of violence and even the simple walk across the Bakers' ruined estate will make every hair on your body to rise and tingle. Add to all that marvelous binaural audio that creates a sonic nightmare with perfect spatial sounds and you have a perfect VR game that still won't be played by many. It's not because it's bad; no, it's because Resident Evil 7 in VR is probably the scariest experience you can have right now, no matter the platform or the genre.
Star Trek Bridge Crew is a VR game that is best enjoyed in company. Sure, you can command the deck all by yourself but that scenario makes Star Trek Bridge Crew a tedious and boring experience because AI isn't really the brightest, and missions aren't fun when tackled alone. But start the game with a couple of friends who also wear VR headsets and the story become something else.
Star Trek Bridge Crew is simply hilarious when played with friends. The voice communication is there, but you can also give other players visual cues that often look comical and out of place because the game features less than stellar animation. But that lack of natural animation is actually a strength when played in co-op because it will bring a ton of laughs.
Cooperation during missions is critical and can often lead to hilarious situations where everyone knows what should be done but no one knows just how to do it. This further leads to crazy situations where all humans on deck tap on screens around them with those jaggy body animations that only leads to more laughs. At the end of the day no, you probably won't beat lots of missions but you and friends will definitely want to play this one again because this is the best source of co-op entertainment when it comes to VR gaming.
Superhot still is one of the most original shooters you can play on any gaming system. Its unique gameplay that revolves around the connection between movement and passage of time gives players never seen before type of in-game challenge accompanied by a bunch of phenomenal levels and unique visual style. Each level presents a standalone mix between temporal and movement-based puzzles that include lots of shooting but also lots of mind-bending problem solving.
These qualities make Superhot an amazing game and I urge everyone who didn't play it to check it out, no matter whether they own a VR headset or not. But in VR, Superhot really shines. Its temporal puzzles that are deadly for those who cannot solve them (puzzles are in fact enemies and solving a puzzle means killing enemies while staying alive) are even more immersive in VR, where you can see everything that happens around you and where you can notice those subtle changes in environment triggered by even the slightest movement of your character.
VR gives Superhot a new life and makes the game worthy of playing it again; this time, beating it while wearing a VR headset and a pair of motion controllers. Because yes, the game's unique mechanic where the time moves when you move is perfectly coupled with move controllers, making you control time not only by walking (like in the regular version of the game) but also by moving your hands. This gives the Superhot a completely new dimension of gameplay that makes its VR version simply stunning experience that is a must play for VR gamers.
Tetris Effect is definitely among five best titles released during 2018 and that's even if you don't play the game in VR. Even without a VR helmet Tetris Effect is a marvelous game that took a classic and evolved it into a unique, sense bending experience that gives new meaning to the term "musical game."
Tetris Effect combines music, trippy visuals, and one of the most popular games of all times to give players something they never have seen before, a kind of experience that mixes senses and gives you a clue how synesthesia might feel like. And then you put your PSVR headset and discover a new level of the experience not achievable by playing the game on the boring, flat TV screen.
In VR Tetris Effect becomes a completely new beast, one that will take your breath away again and again, with each new level. You can turn around, zoom in and out with your head, and observe tetrominoes falling from all directions while in VR.
And once the fireworks start the game will blow your mind with a cacophony of visual and sound effects that feel like they are flying all around you. Playing Tetris Effect with a VR headset and with a pair of quality cans is like watching the world unfold in its all beautiful forms all around you. In other words, Tetris Effect in VR is like nothing you've seen before, it is something all VR fans must experience at least once in their lifetime.
The excellent Resident Evil 7 VR isn't the only VR horror game available on the PSVR. The Persistence is a superb mix between survival horror and a rogue-lite game that is a must buy for all owners of the PSVR (well, except for those who don't like horrors). The game plays amazing and it includes an excellent meta progression system that will see you return to the unnerving world of the Persistence each time you die.
The dark and oppressive space ship that plays the role of the main and only area in The Persistence looks cool and is designed like the best environments we saw in other horror games. Tight corridors, labyrinthine levels, a bunch of dark rooms, all coupled with terrific audio design makes this game a feast for all senses.
The only problem is that you scream every couple of minutes because the terrific level of immersion makes you not play The Immersion, it makes you live through it. And since the game is pretty scary that means you scream, a lot.
But that spotless level design in combination with a quality story filled with secrets and stuff to unravel by advancing through the game is enough incentive to make you return after each gruesome death, to make you try advancing further and revealing new secrets and reasons for the current state of the ship. And the cherry on the cake is the superb multiplayer mode that is there to offer a break for the utterly frightening single player portion of the game.
Back in 2018 when Elijah Wood came out during the Ubisoft presentation and revealed a bizarre VR game developed by his own studio the crowd wasn't really attracted. But a couple of months later, when Transference came out for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PSVR, many VR enthusiast placed this title among the best VR games currently available.
This psychological thriller explores the wicked depths of a human mind by putting players inside a deranged mind and making them seek exit by playing a bizarre form of an escape room. Yes, it is as weird as it sounds but once you start playing it Transference becomes a rather enjoyable adventure. The story is by far the best part of the game but other elements like puzzle solving gameplay, creepy visuals, unnerving sound design, and chilling atmosphere are pulling Transference to new heights.
While the game is fun to play, especially in VR mode (you can play this in classic mode in case you don't own a VR headset) it's simply too short to provide lasting value. But, if you don't mind its humble two-hour length, Transference can be a chilling VR adventure that looks good and sounds even better.
Wipeout Omega Collection is another PS4 exclusive that can be played without a VR headset. And the game is amazing even when played on an old and boring flat screen. Fast paced gameplay, tough AI opponents, superb visuals and the unbeatable sense of speed make this futuristic racer as good as the original Wipeout game that dominated the market during the original PlayStation era. And even better, this collection offers three Wipeout games for the price of just $20, which is an amazing proposal.
But then you play the game with PSVR and all other racing games become obsolete. Sure, the game can be a bit all over the place at the beginning but once you get the grip of the VR experience Wipeout Omega Collection turns into a must play VR title. The sense of speed is unmatched; you simply cannot emulate this on a flat screen. Next, the whole game is playable in VR meaning you can play all three campaigns, time trials, and multiplayer races without removing the VR headset, unlike some other racing games that come with a limited VR support.
And finally, the game looks and feels so good in VR you will often find yourself wondering how the hell developers managed to build the game for the VR without sacrificing a single feature in doing so? Wipeout Omega Collection is an amazing racing game that becomes tenfold better when played in VR.