If vast, sprawling and open landscapes are your forte, then you are living in a good age. It seems almost every month that we’re treated to a Triple A open world game from one of the major video game publishers.
Open world games have also been given a boost by the up and coming virtual reality genre. VR gaming offers a whole new level of immersion to open world environments that you just can’t get with regular consoles. Yet, options are few and far between, so we’ve compiled a list for you. Here are the 5 best VR open world games available right now.
5. The Solus Project
The Solus Project is first-person survival exploration game with open world elements. It was released in 2016 by Teotl Studios and Grip Digital and is available for VR headsets on the PS4, X Box One, and PC.
The player takes on the role of an astronaut on a mission to save mankind after the Earth’s destruction. Whilst aboard a space ship nearing Pluto with the last of humanity’s survivors, you are sent to scout the planet of Gliese-6143-C as a potential place for inhabitation. The spaceship you disembarked from is destroyed as you approach the planet, however, leaving you isolated and without communication. It is here that you must explore the planet’s secrets and scavenge to survive in a foreign, otherworldly environment.
The campaign is thoroughly engaging and can keep you gripped for hours, with one exploration opening up questions that lead to the next. With a total play through time of roughly 15 hours, the length of play is generous by VR game standards, and that doesn’t include the hours spent exploring the vast open world. As is standard with survival games, the player must craft tools from resources found throughout the planet, eat and drink to sustain the character, and be mindful of thermoregulation so as to not succumb to the planet’s diverse weather system.
The graphics are crisp and smooth, and the barren planet has some impressively vibrant and colourful visuals. This adds a sense of otherworld immersion that has not been brought to many open world VR games so far. The extreme weather events that take place are a good example of how the game does well in this department, with meteor showers and tornadoes becoming grand spectacles through the eyes of a virtual reality headset.
If you enjoy exploring open world environments and solving puzzles in order to survive, The Solus Project is definitely for you. It is easy to get lost in the eerily uninhabited planet of Gliese-6143-C, and I recommend you do so, it is easily one of the best VR open world games available to play right now.
To find out more about the game, watch the video below.
Related: If you are enjoying reading about the best VR open world games, you may like our article about the best VR horror games.
4. Skyrim VR
Skyrim is one of the greatest games of all time and I could write entire articles on why it is such. For your sake, however, I won’t. For this review, I will focus on how well the gameplay crosses over to the virtual reality experience. Skyrim VR was initially released for PlayStation VR in late 2017, eventually becoming available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in 2018, also.
The essence of the original game is still very much present in the virtual reality version – the expansive mountainous landscape, the characteristically enthralling Elder Scrolls lore, the magnificent Nordic beards, etc. The open world still has that epic and majestic feel that all comes together neatly, despite the slight drop in visual quality. The reduced graphics, which have been the source of most complaints, do not impact upon the game in a way that breaks the immersion. It is a very reasonable trade-off for the ability to witness dragons up close and personal and wield Ancient Nord Bow’s with your own two hands.
While the combat system is fun, if you are expecting to play this game for a top-notch fighting experience, you may want to look elsewhere. Aside from the impressive bow and arrow system, the combat is essentially a frenetic mess where you bonk enemies on the head with swords and axes to a largely unrealistic effect. Pausing the gameplay while accessing your favorites menu can also break the immersion and fluidity, but that should be expected for a game not specifically designed for VR.
Something worth mentioning are the mods available for the game. Skyrim VR has some pretty awesome mods that further enhance the enjoyment of the gameplay. One such mod, called the Dragonborn Speaks Naturally, enables the player to speak to non-player characters (NPCs) using their own voice, using voice recognition to activate a specific dialogue choice. Other mods improve in game textures, while others enhance the realism of water bodies – all of them serve to improve the immersion of the game.
If you are a fan of the original game for the console, then you should try not to compare this VR version as they offer two different experiences. When judged as a game in its own right, Skyrim VR is a more-than worthy addition to virtual reality genre and is a game you should certainly check out. It offers some fun exploration, high level open world immersion, and… well, and VR dragons!
I’m sure everyone here knows the gameplay of Skyrim by now, but watch the video below to see why it also has become one of the best VR open world games you can experience right now.
CyberThreat is a first-person shooter game released in 2016 by game developer Enigmatic. It is available for both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
The game takes place in an open world city in which aggressive robots have been let loose and threaten to take control. You play the role of an elite Cyber Threat Task Force veteran, who is enlisted to supress the threat of the rogue AI.
The story is largely irrelevant in CyberThreat, and the gameplay is the main selling point of this title. Within the game you are free to roam among the streets, rooftops, and buildings of an expansive 14 block urban battleground. There are multiple ways to traverse the cityscape – you can run, jump, climb, fly and, teleport. This provides heaps of fun, as the city becomes like your own personal parkour obstacle course.
The game is highly interactive and pretty much everything is destructible, including cars, building windows, and (of course) enemy robots. It is a fast-paced game at times, with AI coming at you thick and fast as you are forced to frantically keep them at bay.
Overall, CyberThreat is a decent game that has been very developed and runs smoothly, particularly considering its early release within the VR gaming timespan. You will especially like this game if you are a fan of FPS games, and this can serve as a good foundation for other games within the VR first-person shooter genre to build upon.
To find out more information, watch the video below.
2. Fallout 4 VR
Another Bethesda title makes it onto the list in the form of Fallout 4 VR, released in 2017 on the HTC Vive. Despite some harsh critics, this is one instance where, I believe, the VR experience enhances that of the original.
Everything that is in the original game, you can find in Fallout 4 VR too – apocalyptic wasteland, mutant bugs, quirky NPCs. Yet, in virtual reality, it all seems just that little bit more real. I think what makes the immersion in this game more epic in comparison to its Bethesda counterpart is that the premise is more believable. Admittedly, not much more, but we will sooner find ourselves roaming a world of toxic barren badlands than we will a world full of dragonborn nords and talking bipedal amphibious lizards (unfortunately).
The graphics transform to virtual reality mode almost identically, with no real noticeable differences. Due to the high-level specification requirements for this game on VR platforms, the textures are all high quality and the render distance is good in the sense that it’s not detectable. With a lot of the focus being on shooting in this game, it is important for the shooting experience to be decent, and it is. With the (much appreciated) addition of auto-aimed headshots, gunning down ghouls and pistol-whipping wolves has never felt so satisfying.
If you are big on character customization, wielding aesthetically optimised weapons and equipping badass armor, it is perhaps best to stick to the non-VR version, in all honesty. You won’t be able to see your character in third-person view as it would completely destroy the immersion and, thus, defeat the whole objective of virtual reality.
I think most of negative reviews levelled in the direction of Fallout 4 VR have, unfairly, been in comparison to the original console game. Through numerous patches, however, Bethesda have countered most of the issues that users were initially experiencing, and it has now become one of the frontrunners in the world of VR gaming. If you are new to the series, even better, this is a game that you simply must try, and what better way is there to do so than in a full-bodied virtual reality experience.
Watch the video below to see why many think that this game is one of the best VR open world games around right now.
It’s hard to talk about the best VR open world games without mentioning Stormland. It is the most recent game on the list and is easily one of the best VR open world games available right now. The world is immersive, the visuals are stunning, and the gameplay (at least in my view) is one of the most user firendly experiences of all the top virtual reality games around today.
It’s a first-person action adventure game that explores a foregin planet whilst taking on the role of an android gardener. Long story short, you face up against an alien faction by the name of the Tempest, who have wreaked havoc on the planet.
The story is not so important though. Stormland is all about making the virtual reality experience a grand and immersive one, and it manages this with flying colors. It’s up there with Asgard Wrath as one the must play VR games of our time, but this has the added value of being open world.
Granted, the campaign is short in length, and it’s possible to get through the game in about 6-8 hours, but you really have to be rushing through the game for this to happen. Instead, it’s much better to take your time with Stormland. Absorb the atmosphere, have a look around the world, revel in its beauty and imperfections, and I’m sure you’ll soon agree that this is one of the best VR open world games to play in this day and age.
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