Just when you thought Tamriel was safe again, Bethesda releases yet another way to reclaim Skyrim for the Nords.
Releasing on 17 November 2017 Skyrim VR is more of a homecoming for many players than the other two VR titles Bethesda has announced. That may be because Skyrim has been released for everything in your house, except possibly your toaster. That isn’t a bad thing though. Skyrim is a great game.
Skyrim is a great vehicle to push sales of Sony’s PSVR as well, but this is Skyrim Vr’s greatest downfall: the hardware it plays on. I have spent time in the HTC Vive as well as Samsun’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard. To me, it seemed that the PSVR, while having a lower overall resolution than the Vive, had less screen door effect when viewing the screen through the focus lenses of the headset.
Movement in Skyrim VR quickly feels natural. A button on the left hand controller brings up an interface of a parabolic arc with a circular target similar to throwing a grenade in many FPS games. Releasing the button jumps the player to that location. Combat is similarly fluid. Using a one-handed weapon is like holding your sword in place of the controller. Spells are used by another button press on the left controller, however i could never get the hang of the combined spells using both hands for the damage increase. Archery was more miss than hit, but could possibly have been due to my inexperience with the PSVR hardware. I have spent a lot of time using the Vive in the Longbow activity on The Lab and that could have thrown me off.
That was where the good news ends sadly. the technology used by PSVR simply can’t stand up to the Lighthouse tracking of the Vive. PSVR requires you to stay stationary, facing the twin cameras at all times. This hardware limitation makes playing action sequences very difficult. Instead of simply turning around to turn around in game there are two keys dedicated to turning on the PSVR controller. Pressing left or right on these turns your player character about 30 degrees at a time. this makes doing a full 180 very clunky. you can turn your head to look to an extent, but breaking line of sight for the cameras of the unit causes the motion tracking to freak out.
Overall, I really enjoyed Skyrim VR and think it takes an immersive and fun spin on a game that has almost become cliché. PSVR however is the Achilles heel. After my gameplay time I asked my attendant about the PSVR exclusivity being temporary. His reply was that he couldn’t say anything about that, then quickly backpedaled and said he really didn’t know and that he wasn’t told any information about things like that. Hopefully the PSVR exclusivity has a time limit and we will soon see Skyrim VR available for PC and playable on superior hardware. After all, with as many releases as Skyrim has had, why would Bethesda not bring one more version to PC?