Bethesda graced all of the PC virtual reality adopters with one of the best RPG games every created. Skyrim arrived on the PC in all its VR glory on April 2nd. I had pre-ordered it and took the day off from my day job for the occasion. We patiently checked Steam every 5 minutes after the estimated launch time of 5:00 PM waiting for the game to unlock. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my son so excited. In true Steam fashion, it was late; the game unlocked at or around 6:00PM.
We have Skyrim for the Xbox 360, the Xbox One, the Switch, and the HD Edition for the PC. My wife, oldest daughter and son have more than 500 hours of play time in the world each. We’re a family of experienced players to say the least. We all agreed to let the youngest go first. He signed on to his profile and fired it up.
Before we get too far into discussing the game let’s talk a little about what I’m running it on. This title takes some serious power to run clean. I’ve got an i-7, 32 GB of 3000 SDRAM, a TB M2 disk, an MSI Gaming OC Edition RX-480 8GB, and a 1000 watt PS. The system and GPU are both overclocked (ask in the comments if you want the settings). I am able to run the game on high graphics with supersampling turned all the way up and still hit the 90 FPS all VR players are looking for.
When you first pop into the game world it looks pretty blurry. You need to go into the settings and turn up the supersampling if your system can handle it. This will drastically clear up the blurry textures and text. Besides the game’s supersampling, your video card drivers, as well as, the Oculus and Steam VR software also have settings for this function that might help you get the best picture possible. At some point I intend to write an advanced guide on configuring the Rift but for now: Google “Increase Oculus Pixel Density”, your ability to use supersampling is entirely dependant on your GPU. Cooling is going to be very important, I don’t recommend attempting this on a gaming laptop.
Once you’ve gotten the settings all sorted you’ll have to restart the game so I recommend getting them all squared away before you start the actual campaign. The intro will have you set your mode of locomotion. You can choose between teleportation, ala Robo-Recall and Doom, or you can use smooth motion via the analog sticks. If you pick the analog option, a blinder effect will restrict your field of view when you move. This is to help prevent motion sickness. It works; I turned it off and was almost instantly dizzy but I’ve trained my brain to let it pass and after a few minutes I was fine. The setting is under the VR menu look for FOV limiter down near the bottom of the list. While you’re in there you might also want to turn off the cross-hairs and dialog captions because they ruin the immersion.
Back to the game; my son fired it up went through the settings and started the story. Wagon ride with the prisoners begin! Holy crap the people look real. Jeez, the scenery is amazing. Is that guys mouth taped shut? It was a non-stop love fest. The execution is exactly that; we all cringed during our respective turns. The dragon; I won’t ruin it for you but a full-scale fire-breathing 3D creature………
Talking to the NPC’s feels almost like a conversation with a real person. The blacksmith’s wife is actually pretty hot. If they can patch voice recognition into this thing I know several people who will probably live in Skyrim more than here. The world feels like somewhere you are going to rather than a game you are playing. Of all my family and friends I’m the only one that hasn’t played very much Skyrim. That is about to change.
Is the game perfect? Nope. Not even close. You can fight just by wagging your hand back and forth, the float bugs are still present, and the controls are tricky to master. Is this best VR adventure I’ve seen so far? Absolutely. Does it suck that they expect you pony up another $60.00 for a game you’ve probably already purchased more than once? Yes, but after having spent some time with it I would have paid double. Don’t nitpick it; just live it. Go for a swim (enable realistic swimming and sneaking), climb a mountain. try not to freak out the first time a frost spider charges you. Its one of the best entertainment experiences I’ve ever had and I’ve only spent a few hours with it. If you’re not on the VR train already you should think about jumping on. Its going to be a wild ride from here on out.