Skyrim VR is all wrong with virtual reality right now



When I turned on the PSVR to play the recently published Skyrim VR I wondered if this was another lazy money making from another company exploiting a new technological fad, or a genuine new step for the franchise. This was my third first time playing. Launched for the first time in 2011, the exact same game now had four releases in half a dozen systems, with only minor graphics updates. Although the transition from PS3 to PS4 did not leave me completely stupefied, it seemed that the transition to virtual reality could potentially be its most radical reformulation.

At some point on the line, the jump from one graphic technology to the next stopped feeling special. Every few years we get a new console. We can say that everything is progressing, but we all know that we do not need a PS4 Pro. Among the boring updates of gaming technology, virtual reality seems to be a more interesting technology lately. And Skyrim VR shows how temptingly close, but at the same time unbearably distant from a jump in the game that it feels really different.

Skyrim's jump to VR promised a new and genuine breakthrough in interactivity: stretching your neck up to see dragons circling, sneaking through caves lit with torches, drawing arrows from your bow doing a pantomime of the movements using the Playstation Move controls, and watching the infamous gitchy up close on a more realistic scale. [19659003] Let's be clear: Skyrim VR does not meet most of those promises. But despite its flaws, the game actually gave me hope about the future of virtual reality.


The best way to describe the experience Skyrim VR sometimes exciting and sometimes nauseating is like amazing chair. Imagine yourself in a movie theater, reclining in a huge luxury black leather armchair. The design is perfectly contoured to align the neck and spine, while the armrests make you feel weightless, as if you were lying in a cloud of King California size. Then, the movie begins. The 50-foot screen is playing at one foot of your face. Suddenly, restrictions of arms and neck sprout from the chair and you sit there, with your arms tied and your eyes brutted in exuberant agony.

Because although he realized the world in Skyrim VR is, is still elaborate armchair tourism. Whether I use the PS4 DualShock controller or the Playstation Move controllers, I'm still sitting in that chair, just like in 2011 when I bought the PS3 version of the game. As I walk through cities or explore a field, I feel more like a disembodied camera than a real person occupying space. It feels like a missed opportunity. In the same way that a Google Daydream user experiences the Taj Mahal, the game offers players a novel way to explore Skyrim without inhabiting it.

Skyrim was perhaps one of the best made open world virtual environments we got to experience the latest generation of consoles because, like Oblivion and Morrowind capitalized a very particular style of immersion: a booming orchestral score, first person perspective with expansive contexts, non-linear narration and a great world perfect for exploration. That is what was impressive at that time. In the best of cases, these combine in a true sense of player freedom. What is the VR version of that?

As immersive virtual reality experiences go, this is the best available option.

Unfortunately, it is not Skyrim VR. It's very safe. Does not influence enough in the novelty or rarity of virtual reality. A very superior example is Superhot VR a slow action game in which the player freezes time and, using his IRL body, grabs weapons in the virtual world to counterattack. The mileage may vary depending on the execution Superhot VR correct, but its basic presumption is not possible in another medium. Skyrim VR is immersive, sure, but it always was, there is nothing specific for virtual reality. The real breakthrough of VR will not come until a full experience (game or other) has created its own immersive style and can offer something specific to the platform. Superhot VR that allows you to dodge, weave and move around a room while participating in a slow-motion violence ballet could be the best example of where virtual reality experiences should go.

Still, for its innovative gameplay, Superhot VR is also very simple and its experience is short. You are participating in a rapid attack of violence, not wandering around a new and strange country. It can not compete with Skyrim for the sights or the feeling of experiencing a new world.

Skyrim VR is probably the best of the titles "the same but in virtual reality", but hopefully indicates its end. Because although there are many technical limitations to creating virtual reality games (not to mention our limited ability to even play with them), developers must start thinking natively in virtual reality now if VR is going to sustain itself as more than a landing place to re-launch cash in an industry in love with redundancy.

For that purpose, Skyrim VR is a good way to acclimatize people, but it is not the game that changes the time you could wish for. We are still very early here. At its best, Skyrim VR allows you to forget that. In the worst case, it does not go anywhere, at least not anywhere the many re-releases of the game have not arrived before.

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