Since video games first took off around the world, we have been gradually moving towards the virtual reality technology that’s so popular in science-fiction films and literature.
This AR/VR industry is advancing quickly and gives us a real glimpse into the possibilities we can imagine in the future. The home headsets for these types of games have been around for a few years now, but it is only recently that we’ve seen some momentum behind these promising devices.
With augmented and virtual reality marching into the mainstream, the technology that was once accused of being a gimmick is now clearly appealing to gamers as it combines with esports, cloud gaming, and legendary developers like Valve. The progress we’ve seen over just the last few years is stunning and this is the most exciting space to be involved in as far as gaming is concerned. Let’s take a look at some of the best VR games you can play right now.
We absolutely have to start off with a nod towards the spectacular title Half-Life: Alyx. The Half-Life series is treasured by gamers and fans waited years upon years for another installment. As the series is known for its trendsetting gameplay and physics engines, the decision to develop the next title for VR proved to be worthwhile.
Developer Valve used VR and motion-tracking technology in new and innovative ways that we had not seen before. From shooting to the many puzzles and general exploration, everything felt much tighter and more responsive than we had seen in other VR titles. From the second you strap on your headset, you will see immediately how much time and detail was spent crafting this world and it lends well to this fully-immersive experience. If you are looking for one game that will completely change your opinion on VR technology, look no further than Half-Life: Alyx.
Myst will always be a classic franchise when it comes to puzzle and exploration gameplay. Almost 30 years after the launch of the original critically-acclaimed game has been relaunched for VR platforms. This is one release we were certainly ecstatic for when the news broke.
The joy of Myst comes from the incredible atmosphere building and attention to details that the developers took for this title. You really feel like you are transported to a foreign world when you start playing this game and through the puzzles and bits of clues, you slowly piece together the story. This gameplay naturally lends itself well to VR and you slowly become entranced with this mystery.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
The Microsoft Flight Simulator is one title that really shows off the capabilities and potential of VR technology. Here you will traverse many different terrains from a fleet of different aircraft, both in 3rd-person and cockpit view. The attention to detail is astounding, and you get a realistic flying sensation as well as digital flight training as you battle against natural weather conditions and co-exist with actual air traffic. Gamers of all ages have jumped on board, and some have even described the experience as relaxing and meditative.
Star Wars: Squadrons
Star Wars: Squadrons is another flight simulator experience, but this one is geared more towards adventure and player versus player combat. The cinematic dogfights seen in the popular Star Wars films have always been thrilling to watch, and now you have a chance to become part of the action.
You have the option to take part in small individual fights with other players, or massive fleet battles that include classic ships like the X-Wing or TIE Fighter. There is also a rich field of customization here, where you can add different parts to your aircraft to enhance its weaponry or maneuverability. If you are a fan of the Star Wars series or someone that enjoys this type of fast-paced aerial combat, this is one title you cannot miss.
The success of VR rhythm games like Beat Saber has led to some unique ideas for developers. Ultimately, the new title Pistol Whip was born with a similar focus on rhythm mechanics but mixed with FPS elements to create a unique experience.
Pistol Whip plays like a classic on-rails shooter that you may remember from old arcades. Your character moves through a level as you physically dodge incoming projectiles with the motion tracking controls. The main concept is to shoot enemies in time with the pulsating music, and the more on-time you are, the more points you are awarded and the more satisfying the experience. There are not many games out right now that are like this, which makes for an interesting adventure that makes good use of the VR mechanics.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted
Gamers have been clamoring for a haunting VR experience and the sensational Five Nights at Freddy’s series is here to deliver. If you have never played a release in this series, the main elements of the games revolve around staying alive in a haunted Chuck E Cheese pizza place as the animatronic animals come alive and hunt you. Clearly, the premise alone is enough to keep you up at night.
The goal of the game is to survive through the night by monitoring the security cameras and closing off rooms and hallways as the animatronic characters converge on your position. With limited electricity and resources, it plays a lot like other resource management games. One thing that Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted gets right is the atmosphere. It is truly unnerving and while experiencing it through a VR headset, it can make for one of the scariest experiences in gaming today.
No Man’s Sky VR:
In addition to new VR releases, there are also a lot of titles being revamped for the VR platform. One such game that we have to recommend is No Man’s Sky VR. While other popular games have tried to have a successful port to VR recently, many have fallen short and presented a lackluster or outright broken experience. No Man’s Sky may not be the end-all-be-all, but it is a well done VR adventure that showcases what we may expect from developers in the future.
The cartoonish and bright graphics lend well to the VR gameplay, and the individual elements revolving around exploration and gathering materials is especially satisfying. You get the impression that you are really exploring foreign planets while you are playing through this title. There is certainly some general clunkiness here, and you will have to relearn all the controls if you have already played the console version of No Man’s Sky, but it is worth it to give the VR port a shot.