Many of us have done it multiple times; we have answered the call to ascend to the Throat of the World to visit the Greybeards and learn what it truly means to be a Dragonborn. Since the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on November 11th 2011, the game has seen multiple releases across various platforms but none of them have really delivered that next level immersion that we have all wanted since the release of the original game. As of this writing, I have put in around 15 or so hours into Skyrim VR (the ‘VR’ standing for Virtual Reality) and can say that it is one of the most fun and immersive experiences that I have had this year. This is one of the best versions of Skyrim that Bethesda has put out yet. Whether you want to take in quests and save the world of Skyrim from the elder dragon Alduin, or just take a long walk and take in the many sights and sounds of the world we’ve grown to love, Skyrim VR has something for everyone.
Bethesda has finally delivered on that immersion that we have all wanted with Skyrim for Sony’s PSVR platform released November 17th 2017. Skyrim VR has some of the deepest levels of a VR game that we have seen to date, from the depths of the darkest dungeons to the peaks of the tallest mountains Skyrim VR makes the player really feel as if they have been dropped directly into the world of Skyrim. Graphics for the game have been redone to fit the VR platform, although they are not perfect by any means. Textures look really good if you stand at least a few feet away, while standing directly next to any object such as a tree for instance, reveals a bit of a flat texture with slightly less detail. Even if the graphics in the game aren’t “real-world” realistic, I still cannot get over how Bethesda has managed to take me from my living room then drop me into the world of Skyrim.
You can use either the PlayStation Move controllers or the Dualshock controller as methods of traversing the world. For the absolute best experience in this game, I highly recommend using the Move controllers. There is something about seeing your character’s hands with a small flame and being able to spout that flame at an oncoming attacker that just feels much better than the typical controller setup. The Move controllers allow you to interact with things within the world in a whole different way than we are used to with Skyrim. Picking up objects and just examining them is just as fun as exploring the world. Navigating the world can be done either by teleporting around the world in small increments or using the smooth movement option. Smooth movement is done by holding the main button on the move controller in your non-dominant hand and pointing the controller in the direction you want to go while pressing either ‘X’ or ‘O’ on the opposite controller to rotate around as you move. Movement is something that takes a bit to get used to but it’s an obstacle that can easily be overcome within the span of two to three hours.
Combat is what you have come to expect from Skyrim, but in VR it adds new layers to immersion. Having a frostbite spider double or triple your size jump at you in VR can make anyone flinch, but being able to actually swing a sword or blast it with a fireball that you have cast feels really good. Before I was able to get my hands on the game, archery in the game looked very awkward and did not look like it would work very well in the VR space. From the moment I launched my first arrow and hit my mark, archery has become my favorite method of combat in Skyrim VR. You carry an arrow in one hand and your bow in the other, you nock your arrow and draw the bow back while lining up your target with the tip of your arrow. To speak to the immersion of the game, I have started lining up my shots while closing one eye as if I was drawing on a real bow. Accuracy with a bow is another one of those things that will take some getting used to in the VR space but once you have learned how to properly aim, nothing is quite as satisfying as watching your arrow soar to a far off target and take them out in one shot.
Many of us have bought Skyrim more than once (I’ve bought it four times now) but the question is, is it worth it to buy yet again? Absolutely. If you already have the PSVR platform, you are missing out on the best experience available to date, so do yourself a favor and pick this up. Is it worth it to buy a PSVR bundle if you don’t already have one? Absolutely. Skyrim VR will easily be one of the definitive games of this generation and it is not something that you want to miss out on. I’m looking forward to losing myself for many hours in this world and hope that you will have the opportunity to do the same.