Virtual reality, or VR as the cool kids call it, is no longer a far-off future technology. It is, in fact, out in the world as we know it today and you may already own an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PS VR headset. Along with them, though, came a cavalcade of games. Which are the best VR games for PC and PS4? We’ve put together our top picks right here.
PC gamers who have a burning desire to experience VR first have to decide between the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Each headset has its pros and its cons and this decision will largely come down to budget and personal preference. In the simplest of terms, the Oculus Rift (now that the Oculus Touch controllers are out as well) is the cheaper of the two options and offers some key Oculus-exclusive titles. Vive, on the other hand, was the first to offer motion controllers and, as such, has a wider range of games available that take full advantage of a full-range of motion. The Vive also offers room-scale movement, to keep you fully immersed in the VR world.
Whichever one you end up going for, there’s a host of games out there to play through, of varying quality. As previously mentioned, the Oculus Store is host to a handful of exclusive titles, some of which are incredibly impressive but don’t let that make you count out Vive, which has the full backing of Steam behind it. Hopefully, though, as time goes on, more and more games will find their way to both platforms and all this competition will be a thing of the past. Well, we can hope.
The best VR Games for PC
Thumper is described as a ‘rhythm violence game’, which is absolutely one of the strangest ways anything can describe itself. At its core, Thumper is a rhythm game akin to Guitar Hero or even Parappa The Rapper before it. You’ll most likely recognise the game mechanics immediately but even if you don’t, they are simple enough to pick up within minutes. Essentially – and stick with me here – you control a space beetle made out of metal, travelling down a track at high-speed. You must avoid crashing at all costs by moving yourself in various directions, all to the beat of a dark and foreboding soundtrack. Thumper is an experience more than it is a game but it is every bit as addictive as some of the best rhythm games out there. It shouldn’t be missed.
Raw Data is essentially a virtual reality version of Gears of War’s horde mode. You, taking on the role of an armoured assassin of sorts, must fight off wave after wave of menacing, homicidal robots using nothing but your wits, quick reflexes and guns. Oh, and your awesome laser katana, if you choose. This game has been updated rather constantly over the past few months, adding new features, modes and even a brand new character since launch. This is one to play in short bursts but it’s a whole lot of fun whether you’re trying to beat your own record or challenging your friends to last the longest.
Project CARS has been around long enough to be familiar to most video game players. Initially starting its life as a Kickstarted project, the game has ballooned into its own independent and very legitimate racing simulator. Every fine detail of the numerous models, makes and types of vehicle are represented in crystal clear definition, even inside a VR headset. This one delivers an intense (and sometimes nauseating) sense of speed that you won’t forget, even long after taking the headset off.
If you’re alive and awake, you’ve probably thought about travelling to space at least once in your life. Elite: Dangerous helps make that dream come true, at least in a virtual form, as it allows players to explore a 1:1 scale replica of our own Milky Way galaxy. That galaxy is also populated with real-world players off on their own journeys and attempting to accomplish their own missions, which you may be standing in the way of. The full range of motion offered by Elite: Dangerous delivers an authentic-feeling and fantastically enjoyable space-travel simulation, even without all of the awesome space dogfight combat. As a heads up, though; yes, you will end up hurtling through space, flailing and rolling your ship hopelessly at least a few times while getting your bearings.
The best VR Games for PS4
Sony’s entry into the realm of virtual reality, the imaginatively titled PlayStation VR headset makes use of the PS3-era PlayStation Move controllers along with the PS4 camera that’s been available since launch in order to create a fully-realised VR experience on a home console – the first of its kind. While it had a somewhat rough launch line-up, the PS VR has been the highest selling VR headset on the market to date, thanks largely to the massive PS4 install base already out there in the world. Doesn’t hurt that the PS VR is also the cheapest VR headset about, either.
More recently, the PS VR has been proving itself as a key destination for games and developers who want to dip their toes into the VR world and reach a massive audience. Seemingly any doubts you could have had about the PS VR’s capabilities can be brushed aside after the launch of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, as the entire game can be played start-to-finish inside a PS VR headset and all reports suggest that this is an absolutely terrifying way to play. While that may be the best argument for PS4 VR to date, there are also titles like Rez Infinite available right now that edge this piece of tech closer to the ‘must-own’ area of the gaming map.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Here it is, the current king of PlayStation VR. It’s hard to find a better example of what VR games can be capable of than the pure terror that is experienced when playing Resident Evil 7: Biohazard inside a PS VR headset. No longer can players simply look away from the television or hide behind a piece of furniture when venturing forward into the haunted house – instead, every tiny little detail, trick of the light and monstrous sighting will be unable to be avoided, front and centre in view. Resident Evil 7 is the first major full-length game to truly showcase how effective VR can be as a way to play games.
Sony’s in-house answer to Project CARS, DriveClub VR offers up a buffet of cars to choose from and test drive in courses from around the world. With some seriously impressive weather technology on show, DriveClub VR is essentially a slightly stripped back version of the full DriveClub game, geared specifically for PS VR.
A side story to the much larger, massively multiplayer EVE Online, Valkyrie positions itself as a space dogfighting simulator, similar to Elite: Dangerous but without the trading and surviving elements. EVE Valkyrie focuses purely on flying, shooting and winning – it’s essentially a space-age Top Gun in many ways. Graphically, the game delivers a wide array of gorgeous lighting along with atmospheric sound design and some seriously thrilling battles. On top of that, there’s a plethora of customisation options for you to sink your teeth into.
Rez Infinite is one of Sony’s own properties and the long-awaited sequel to one of the greatest original PlayStation games ever made. It’s a rhythm game that leans heavily on trance and electronic music along with some seriously trippy visuals to give players an absolutely unique experience that won’t be soon forgotten.
Batman: Arkham VR
Let’s be straight up about one thing: Batman Arkham VR is a very short gaming experience. That being said, it’s a fantastic example of how VR can put players directly into the shoes of their heroes and make them fully invested in a story within a matter of minutes. With Arkham VR, players become that Bat and experience a day in the life of the caped crusader.
I Expect You To Die
Have you ever wanted to be a Bond-level secret agent, thrust into precarious scenarios and tasked with getting out alive? Well, in reality, no, probably not. That doesn’t means it’s not a whole lot of fun to play, though, as evidenced by quirky comedy spy puzzle game I Expect You To Die. With each level, players are tasked with completing objectives and solving puzzles in order to escape with their lives. As a spy thriller, it’s good. As a puzzle game, it’s superb.
Star Trek Bridge Crew
Star Trek: Bridge Crew hopes to give players an experience they’ve wanted for a long, long time – to be a member of the bridge crew on the Starship Enterprise. Sadly, there’s no Patrick Stewart or William Shatner to be seen but in their place will be a crew entirely populated by human players, each with their own roles and responsibilities as you venture forth – or boldy go, you could say – through the game and attempt to keep your crew alive and return home safe.
Farpoint is possibly the most ambitious virtual reality game yet. Billing itself as a full first-person shooter experience, published by Sony itself and developed by Impulse Gear (a company founded by members of various AAA studios with the express purpose of developing VR experiences), this game looks set to be a huge deal and just so happens to be a PlayStation VR exclusive, to boot. Sony is putting a lot of marketing weight behind this one, too, so you’ll probably find it hard to avoid when it comes time for the game to be released.
PS VR Aim controller
Sony’s official ‘Aim Controller’ for PS VR shooters comes with a copy of Farpoint bundled in and included in the price. Designed with an intergrated PlayStation Move controller and proprietary buttons, Sony hopes to make this the ideal way to play first-person shooters while using PlayStation VR. Sure, it might look a little silly right now but it may end up surprisingly comfortable.
There you have it, those are our picks for the best VR games available for PC and PS4 right now. Did we miss any of your favourites? Shoot us a message over at Twitter or Facebook and let us know, we’ll look into it!