(Originally published 11 April 2015)
With the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus drawing ever closer to their release dates, people are beginning to get more excited about Virtual Reality. However, there are still quite a lot of people who are skeptical by the latest technology, labelling it and just another gimmick. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the idea and think it could make a huge improvement to our video gaming experiences. Here are the top 10 games that I feel could benefit from the introduction of VR. (Please note that I am not ranking the games on their quality, but to what extent they can be improved on with VR).
10) No Man’s Sky
I’m cheating a little bit with the first entry, as No Man’s Sky is yet to be released. However, after watching gameplay footage of the game, I can only imagine how amazing it would be to explore the stunning planets in VR. Not only that, but soaring through Space would be an mesmerizing experience, as immersion would be at an all time high without the distraction of reality. I cannot wait for the No Man’s Sky to be released, and hopefully they will be able to make it VR compatible. Although, that would mean I may never stop playing with such a huge universe to explore!
I was unsure whether to put Minecraft in my list. It’s not exactly the most fast paced or exciting of games and with the limited visuals, would VR really make the experience that much better? But then I thought of survival mode. Imagine hearing zombies groaning from behind you while trapped in a cave miles under the surface. The variance of light within the game would have a much greater impact when wearing a VR headset. Not only that, but you’ll be able to explore your creations in true first person glory. Exploring dungeons with your friends would be even more fun as you get engrossed in the pixelated world.
8) Grand Theft Auto V
GTA V makes my list because of the recent addition of first person perspective. If it was still solely a third person game, VR would make a very insignificant improvement. But now, imagine parachuting down towards Los Santos with VR. Imagine fleeing from the police on a 5 star wanted level, with bullets flying inches past your face. Even car crashes would be more dramatic. Although I could continue listing the possibilities, there are also a lot of negatives aspects that prevents me from ranking GTA V higher. Firstly, many people, including myself, feel that for the most part GTA is at its best when playing in third person. One of GTA V’s greatest strengths are its characters and constantly playing 1st person would mean you wouldn’t get to see Franklin, Trevor and Michael as much. Still, who wouldn’t want to be fully immersed in the city of Los Santos?
Skyrim ranks highly in many people’s lists of their favourite games and it’s hard to think how it could improve for the next Elder Scrolls game. The game is already incredibly immersive, as the world is alive with various monsters and characters. How could you make it more immersive? Well with VR, of course! Not only that, but there may even be a possibility of introducing motion control for the swing of your sword and block of your shield. Add the Virtuix Omni to the mix and venturing around Skyrim just became a whole lot more fun. “Impressive and probably the single best reason to ever play Skyrim without fast travel” Kotaku said of the Omni and I can’t wait to experience it myself. I’ll finally feel like a true adventurer!
6) Alien: Isolation
The atmospheric Alien game was one of the few bright sparks of 2014. Yet there’s still room for improvement as tension could be taken to a new level with VR. Every noise will become that much creepier as you attempt to flee the grasps of the alien that stalks you. First person horror games would probably benefit from VR more than any other genre, and that’s why Alien Isolation is not the last horror game on this list. The only reason it doesn’t get higher on the list is because there are other horror games that could benefit more from VR and other games that could take advantage of VR in a more unique fashion.
For some reason, I felt that I needed to include a Valve game on the list, as I feel they would suit VR really well. I was stuck between Half Life and Portal, but I eventually settled for the latter. Not only would the portal gun work well with motion control, but falling through an endless tunnel of portals would be even more mind boggling whilst wearing the visor. Aperture Science would feel very claustrophobic with a VR strapped to your face, which would only add to the feeling of being a test subject. The more I think about this, the more I like it, as I can think of very few negative aspects that VR would bring to Portal.
4) Mario Kart
Mario Kart may have a controversial position in my list, as not only is it best as a party game, but is also usually played in third person perspective. However, I can’t help but to think that a first person mode with VR on Mario Kart would be amazing. You’d be even closer to the mayhem with shells, Bullet Bills and bombs flying across the race courses. I also think it would be brilliant if you were able to turn your head to look at your friends and taunt them as you overtake first place. You’d feel as if you actually are travelling 90mph, especially on courses such as Rainbow Road. Mario Kart wins for most unique use of the VR on my list, but with the drawbacks listed earlier it will have to settle for a respectable 4th place.
Bioshock seems like the perfect game for VR. First of all, you’ll be able to have a true first person perspective in the stunning world of Rapture. Every droplet of water will look more impressive as it splashes across the screen. Another big factor is the improvement of an already tense atmosphere, with the roars of the Big Daddies becoming more frightening and the sound of the 20th century music more alluring. It will feel as if you are actually swinging the rusty wrench around and in real danger of a splicer attack. Bioshock was an incredible experience and any opportunity to improve the experience is one that must be taken.
2) Mirror’s Edge
It was a tough choice between the third and second spot, but Mirror’s Edge edged it. It may not have the brilliant atmosphere of Rapture, but playing Mirror’s Edge with VR is the closest experience you’ll get to free running without risking a broken bone. It wouldn’t surprise me if you were tricked into feeling the wind rush through your hair as you leap between buildings and slide down cranes. You may even need a few more breaks while playing with VR, as I’m sure it will leave you breathless with such fast paced action.
It was a tough contest overall, with so many games crying out for the VR treatment. However, there was one game in particular that would improve drastically. Outlast is a terrifying enough experience as it is, as the lack of weapons and high dependence on light makes you feel incredibly more vulnerable. This vulnerability would feel further increased if you were to add VR to the experience. It would be improved to such an extent in fact that I am unsure if I’d be brave enough to explore Mount Massive Asylum. It would be impossible to look away. You’d be forced to experience the horrors face-to-face. The mere thought of this makes me want to hide under the bed, both in game and reality.
So there we have it! My top 10 games that would be made better for VR is complete. I’m sure that you may disagree with some of my picks and may even be outraged that I’ve missed something out. Feel free to comment below and if I think your suggestions are good enough, I may even add them to the list!
Ryan Jones is a writer for The Game Bolt. Being a Welshman doesn’t mean he only has sheep in his heart, as he loves film, tv and video games. Follow him on Twitter.