Skyrim VR Actually Made Me Throw Up, Yet I Want To Play More

Skyrim was released Friday on PlayStation VR. The VR version manages to capture the game's scale and beauty in astounding new ways, but you might need to equip a barf bag alongside your ancient Nordic axe.

Leaping into Skyrim with a VR headset on feels a bit like placing an LSD tablet under your tongue before a concert. The result is a whirlwind of sound and visual splendour, but after a while you also need to just sit down and chill for a bit. From the very start of the game, everything feels larger. The sky spans outwards, spiders and bears feel genuinely massive, and dragons go from a ho-hum affair into something astounding and broad. The game's opening sequence, in which the ancient dragon Alduin sacks the village of Helgen, disorientates and excites in the best possible way. I've never experienced anything quite like a massive dragon, to scale, breathing fire in my face.

In spite of the excitement factor, Skyrim VR overwhelms as time goes on. Virtual reality space is hard to acclimate to - I've only played one other VR title, Resident Evil 7 - and much of that has to do with the strangeness that comes from viewing a video space in close proximity. To ensure solid performance, the game sacrifices graphical fidelity, which can lead to some strange experiences.

It sometimes feels like spaces only acquire depth at a specific point. You'll see a massive mountain in the distance but it will look less like a well-realised space and more like a matte painting until you get a bit closer. Environments can also feel bizarre up close; walking up to a stone wall will reveal a flat texture, and the mind reels to adjust to the lack of spatial depth. Be it Resident Evil 7 or Skyrim VR, the greatest enemies are walls and doors. There's just something strange about seeing a world's artificiality with such intimacy. For me, more often than not, it causes bouts of nausea.

Skyrim remains a gorgeous region to explore in VR. It isn't as alien or interesting as Morrowind or painterly as Oblivion's Cyrodiil, but whether wandering open fields or scaling high mountains, the game world is an absolute joy. Weather effects such as snowy winds or rain feel a hell of a lot more real when they're swirling past your face. Monsters are a much more immediate threat when they're snapping and slashing right in front of you. The VR experience expands on Skyrim's sense of adventure. It feels like a genuine journey.

Combat is confusing at first; it's hard to get your bearings when an Imperial soldier is smacking you upside the head with her hammer, but it eventually falls into place. If you just want to smack folks with a massive sword, you'll find that being right in the action gives your swipes more weight. Archery also comes to life in ways the standard game never managed. Sneaking around and looking exactly where you need to aim before loosing your arrow is tense.

But the number of times I needed to stop playing before I puked were numerous. Skyrim VR is beautiful and bold, but takes a while to acclimate to. I'm always going to remember the first time I slayed a dragon in virtual reality… but I'm not going to eat curry beforehand the next time.


Comments

    I’ve been a hardcore gamer for 35 years. I’ve also owned every major gaming device since C64. It means that I am not easily impressed. This applies to VR as well. I have both PSVR and Oculus Rift. Many games like Superhot and Eagle Flight have felt cool in the beginning but I’ve grown bored of them rather fast. But somehow Skyrim VR has blown my mind.

    I don’t feel like that I play Skyrim. Rather I feel that now I partly live in it. And the best part is that I haven’t felt any nausea although most PSVR games (like Rigs) make me extramly sick rather fast. And I use the direct movement method with the move sticks.

    I do admit that the graphics can be a bit rough at times. It also took me a while to get used to the move control scheme. But none of that maters when I lose myself in Skyrim. This game has made me a believer in VR.

    Does it have forced camera effects? Like, the opening sequence, or camera shake if you get hit by an enemy?

    And this is why VR will not take off.

    Not until they can get on top of motion sickness.

      it's people that need to get on top of the motion sickness.

      I really don't think they can just fix motion sickness.. just as much as a boat builder can't fix experiencing seasickness.

      It's simply something that some are more prone to and I think can be trained to get rid of.

      I've got motion sickness 3 times now, on the first time of playing 3 different games. But the next sessions have been without sickness, either by tweaking a few settings (faster turning is better than a slow stomach churning one for example) or just getting used to the game.
      Not really sure.

      I sincerely think and hope VR will keep on going for the rest of my life, as I can't imagine what kind of incredible experiences we can have in like 10 years from now, as the sense of presence is already this incredible with seemingly low resolution.

    I have been playing games since the NES days and I will say that Skyrim VR is a game changer in the way we play games. I feel like I am truly living within this world.

    I played Skyrim when it first came out and really enjoyed it. However, now that I am in the game world literally, I feel more immersed and invested than ever before. Helping Carolotta ward off the annoying bard in Whiterun was awesome, I feel so invested in the towns folk because of the level of immersion. Exploring the countryside under the moonlight with the planet and stars up above is an incredible experience.

    I have just had my first afternoon of VR gaming and it’s blown my mind exploring the demo titles whilst waiting for Skyrim VR to download. Yet sadly once I launched Skyrim the sickness hit me like a train. I am now a quivering mess 30mins after a meer 15mins of game time. Thank you for the tips about rotating settings to a faster speed as I did change that to smooth. I will try that tomorrow or once I can move out of the coma position I find myself in as I desperately try to hold down my dinner.

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