Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR

Not many people are aware of Elder Scrolls games such as Morrowind and Oblivion, but Skyrim has become a household name. The scale of this open-world RPG six years ago was ridiculous as it opened up the door for open-world gaming today. Skyrim has managed to received multiple releases since then and it was only a time before Bethesda jumped in with a virtual reality version of the game. Skyrim VR for the PlayStation VR offers possibly the most consistent and entertaining VR experience to date.

All but those living under a rock are familiar with Skyrim. It’s possibly the closest thing to playing a Game of Thrones game; medieval fantasy with dungeons and hours of playability, and most importantly, dragons! While the gameplay consists of tons of bugs, Skyrim is still great. These graphical bugs are still prevalent in the VR version as nothing has changed from the Special Edition release. Skyrim VR contains all the DLC as well. If you’re one of the few people who have held off on playing the game, this will be the one to get.

While I believe Resident Evil 7 brought the best VR experience due to its tight corridors and on-edge gameplay, Skyrim VR brings you into its vast world as exploration is endless. Players will attack enemies based on where they are looking. While not having the motion controls, which will bring an even better element to the combat, the DualShock 4 fits just fine. I am not one to get nauseous while playing VR games, but it happened with Skyrim VR. There are two options for turning. Players can snap, much like in RE7, or freely turn without hesitation. The speed can be adjusted and there are a few other options to tinker with, but going without the snap option resulted in sickness after about an hour of gameplay, which is something to consider.

While the scale of the game for VR purposes is great, it’s hard to get sucked into this world. The graphics, while featuring super-sampling on the PS4 Pro for a better image, still struggle with textures. The game looks better in motion and offers scenic moments, but textures in the distance and pop-in items hurt the immersion. Foliage is two-dimensional and has a low-quality feeling. The water manages to look fantastic and jumping off ledges and swimming definitely offers a different feeling.

You will react differently to player models as they feel intimate up close. One thing that I had an issue with was the compass and looking down. If you’re on a horse (which is in first person and neat), the compass is above and in direct view as opposed to being a hassle to find at times when it’s below the point of view. The pause menu is panned to the left and holding the Option button to center brings up that menu, rather than re-centering the picture. This is better to be done on loading screens, but doesn’t seem to make a difference in the game as the view ends up being fine.

Even with some of the immersion hurt from the graphics, I found myself still wanting to traverse the world. It just feels different, although not necessarily fresh. Bethesda still deserves credit for making something of virtual reality, as Fallout 4 and Doom should look significantly better when they release on VR. There’s just been so many versions of the game that you’ve been here before and the VR doesn’t necessarily blow you away. Resident Evil 7 in VR completely changed how that game felt and ultimately Skyrim VR lacks that same effect.

Closing Comments:

Skyrim offers the most complete VR experience on PlayStation 4, but it comes at a cost. While RE7 might have been done better, it wasn’t for everyone. The nausea issues with Skyrim VR are going to be an issue due to the amount of time needed for grinding and exploration. Every piece of content that’s been released is included, but it’ll be hard for fans to shell out more money for a game they already own. Nobody should have to buy the same game three or four times to get enhancements. After playing through a game of this scale, is it worth doing again especially with the threat of sickness?