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Old 11-18-2017, 04:31 AM   #1
JazGalaxy
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My Skyrim VR Review

I picked up Skyrim VR for Playsation VR today and I thought I would write a quick review for anyone who is interested in how it turned out.

"Skyrim VR is not the best way to play Skyrim."

"You have not played Skyrim unless you have played Skyrim VR."

These are two seemingly contradictory statements, but it's impossible to see it any other way.

When I first fired up Skyrim VR, my initial response was one of disappointment. I am far from a critic of what modern gamers like to call "Graphics". I don't care about frame rate or resolution. I don't care about HDR and other nonsensical tricks to sell televisions. The only thing I care about is whether or not the game does what it sets out to do, and how the game presents it's gameplay. Even by those generous standards, however, Skyrim VR is not a great looking game. VR forces the player to pay more attention to small details. VR creates a sense of "presence" that is 100% convincing. At no point do you forget your playing a game, but you DO feel as though you are subject to some fo the properties of the virtual world. As a result, lack of quality in the details really makes a large impression. The textures in Skyrim VR are of a lower quality than they should be. Signs are sometimes hard to read and ground textures sometimes look too jaggy to be acceptable.

The fact that Skyrim VR is not a prize-winnging game, visually, is not the last problem with it's first impression. From the very first scene, the game makes it very clear that Skyrim VR is very much Skyrim with a VR mod bolted to it. Certain scenes in the introduction were abridged in order to not take control away from the player. This is an effort not to cause motion sickness. However, it makes for a jarring experience and a horrible first impression.

However, once the first impression is over, Skyrim VR takes off and never stops climbing until it has solidified itself as the most amazing RPG experience to ever hit gaming.

The introductory scene to the game has the player running from a marauding Dragon who has attacked the military outpost. This is a fun, action packed scene in it's original, flat screen incarnation. In VR, however, this is a thrilling, chilling, terrifying scene that has the player staring down a 3D dragon who is blowing fire at your and roaring loud enough in your ear to knock you off your literal feet. VR makes everything, in every game, "more so." The highs are higher. The scares are more thrilling. The relationships more personal. Big feels GIGANTIC. Gross feels disgusting. Etc. Skyrim takes advantage of that in every way that counts.

What puts Skyrim VR over the top, though, is the combat. Skyrim can be controller a number of ways. you can use a standard Dual Shock 4 controller to control the game as you would any other version of Skyrim. You can use the controller in one hand and a Playstation Move controller in the other hand in order to move wtih an analog stick and fight with a Move controller. OR, you can use two move controllers and forego analog movement for a number of more VR friendly movement options for those who may get motion sick.

Playing with 2 move controllers is arguably the best choice, at this point. The freedom that one feels not having to hold a controller in both hands is enjoyable. But the true star of the show is the feeling of drawing your virtual sword and waving it around in front of you in 1:1 accurate movements. Just HOLDING a sword in real life is fun. Holding the digital version is not AS fun, but still incredibly fun. But swords aren't meant to be held, they are meant to be used. And USING the sword in Skyrim is an absolute blast. The feeling of drawing your sword as your suspicions rise that something might be about to go down is the dream of every 8-year-old boy come true. Creeping through a dungeon with your sword drawn, head darting from side to side looking for a sign of danger feels amazing and is so incredibly fun. Combat is accomplished by swinging your sword in any direction. The game will register full sword strokes as slashes and you will mentally register a hit by the the audible sound of impact. Overhead slashes, thrusts, swipes... they all work as you would expect them to. I am surprised Bethesda was able to make it function as well as it does. Standing over a dead foe, breathing raggedly from swinging your arms while holding your breath, sword out to your side and head darting around scanning the horizon for any other challengers feels absolutely awesome. You probably look ridiculous, but you FEEL like a adventuring warrior.

Other amazing little VR details are things like how the denizens of Skyrim look you in the eye. Many people who have never tried VR don't quite realize that you are actually IN the game. The Playstation knows exactly where your head, and indeed your eyes, are located in the game world. As a result, everyone looks you in the eye as you move and follows your head around as you move. In fact, if you stick you face too close to someone's personal area, they will even move their head awkwardly backwards, away from you. I don't want to oversell that neat detail, however, because the NPCS are still Bethesda creations and VR only brings out their quirks even more funny. All the weirdness of Bethesda characters is more pronounced in VR. It's weirder when people disappear or pull objects out of thin air. It's weirder when multiple people are all talking to you at the same time. Etc. But for every negative thing about SKyrim VR there are multiple other amazing things that make up for it.

Ultimately, Skyrim VR not the graphically most impression of skyrim. It's not the least cumbersome or easiest to access. It's not the cheapest and it's not the most polished. But it is the version that most fully invites you to "play". It's not about quest lists and level ups. It's just about... play. And in that, Skyrim VR is very much the fulfillment of something many of us have wanted our entire lives.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:41 AM   #2
Mad Max RW
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Originally Posted by JazGalaxy View Post
I don't care about frame rate or resolution.
Isn't framerate the most important part of the VR experience? I know if it drops below 90fps on the Rift and Vive it gets super uncomfortable and breaks immersion. That's why they sacrifice resolution.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:29 AM   #3
JazGalaxy
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Originally Posted by Mad Max RW View Post
Isn't framerate the most important part of the VR experience? I know if it drops below 90fps on the Rift and Vive it gets super uncomfortable and breaks immersion. That's why they sacrifice resolution.
All psvr games run at 60 FPS and itís quite comfortable for me. I donít know anything else, so I donít know if it would me more comfortable another way.
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