Pictured above: Half-Life: Alyx
Coronavirus has hit the entire world hard. And while staying inside is probably the best thing you can do to help, being confined to one place is nevertheless a major challenge.
And since you’re unable to get out and see much of this world right now, why not escape the void by exploring an entirely different one (all from the comfort of your own, sterile living room).
Even though it’s probably still not popular enough to be considered “mainstream”, Virtual Reality has never been as technologically advanced, or as accessible, than it is right now. Plus, spending the next few weeks inside will give you the perfect excuse to smash out Half-Life: Alyx, Valve’s highly anticipated VR game that dropped last week (their first return to City 17 in 13 years!).
So forget about the crazy worries of this world, and go get caught up in the crazy worries of one of these virtual worlds.
If you don’t already have a VR system – and you own a PS4 or decent gaming PC – you should definitely look at getting a tethered headset like the PSVR, Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. They offer the best experiences, with 6-degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion tracking and a far superior range of games than the standalone or mobile headsets.
If you’re just looking for a taste of what the virtual world outside of your living room could be like, mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear VR offer just that – but with only 3-degrees of freedom (3DOF) and far less worlds to explore. Meanwhile standalone headsets like recently released Oculus Quest are starting to get better, but are still limited by what games you can play.
For more information about which VR headset to get, check out our comprehensive buying guide here.
From being able to fully immerse yourself in some very familiar worlds, to pretending everything’s back to normal in this one, there is no shortage of fun for VR gamers on PCs. Here are some worlds truly worthy of getting lost in.
Half-Life: Alyx (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Valve Index, WMR)
One of the most anticipated VR games to-date, Valve’s latest Half-Life foray puts you in the shoes of Alyx Vance five years before the events of Half-Life 2. The game has received rave reviews since its release last week, with many praising its gameplay and interactivity, as well as its detail and level design. Here’s hoping the dystopian world of City 17 does not hit you too close to home.
Job Simulator (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Valve Index, WMR, PSVR)
Do you miss work yet? “Working from home” not quite cutting it? VR can help! Maybe not with any loss of income, but at least you can feel useful again with Job Simulator. Cook a pizza, strip a car for parts, or even share photos with your colleagues by the water cooler in this too-funny (and arguably realistic) simulation of the workforce.
Asgard’s Wrath (Oculus Rift)
Oculus Rift gamers take on the role of a Norse god helping five heroes fulfil their destinies in this full-length action RPG. Built specifically for VR headsets, Asgard’s Wrath received a lot of praise when it dropped towards the end of 2019, especially for it’s combat mechanics and simply beautiful world. Who needs enough toilet paper when they can sit on the far-more-important throne of the Norse gods?
If you already have a PS4 but don’t have a VR system, PSVR is one of the easiest ways to get a top-tier VR experience. Headsets retail for AUD $399 – one of the cheaper tethered options – and this bundle for $429 also includes five of the best PSVR games. Keep in mind that you may also want to buy Move or Aim controllers, as the DualShock can take away from the immersion. There’s also a number of killer PSVR exclusives that will help you breeze through isolation in no time.
Did you love the London Heist in PlayStation VR Worlds? Are you a fan of Guy Ritchie movies? Then thrust yourself into the criminal underworld of modern London in this popular first-person shooter for VR. Blood & Truth is full of action-packed adventure, and will hopefully bring more challenges than a standard day in self-isolation.
Who would have thought one of the most-loved games on PSVR could be a platformer? But Astro Bot Rescue Mission is not just a platformer – in fact the genre is redefined by this VR experience. Your third-person camera is represented in the game, allowing you to immerse yourself in the 360-degree world.
If today’s world isn’t already scary enough for you, this one just might be. Resident Evil 7 is a great game in its own right, but one helluva lot freakier in an immersive VR setting. Fight tooth-and-nail for your own survival, and let the horror of the Dulvey mansion truly come to life in your living room.
Mobile And Standalone Headsets
You won’t be able to experience the same scope or quantity of VR worlds available on standalone or mobile headsets, compared with tethered ones. The new Oculus Quest offers 6DOF motion tracking (unlike its predecessor the Oculus Go), but you won’t find this on mobile headsets such as Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream View. However, standalone and mobile headsets are a much cheaper option, and are good if you want an inexpensive way of checking out the basics of VR while you’re socially distancing.
Minecraft (Gear VR, Oculus Rift, WMR)
Forget all about this godforsaken world and go build your own instead! The vast Minecraft universe makes the perfect setting to experience VR, and its compatibility with Gear VR makes it very accessible for Samsung phone owners. Was there ever a better time to experience the world’s best-selling video game from a new perspective?
Beat Saber (Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Valve Index, WMR, PSVR)
In this wildly popular VR game, now available on the standalone Oculus Quest headset, you must use sabers to slash through digital representations of beats from popular songs. Forget about Wii tennis, Beat Saber is the new way to get your blood pumping without leaving the living room.
Paint VR (Gear VR, Oculus Go)
Channel your inner artist without messing up your living room or having to buy expensive canvases with Paint VR. There are endless opportunities and no mistakes in this arty world.
Minos Starfighter VR (Google Cardboard)
Fly around this beautiful, immersive world and fight through non-stop waves of enemy ships in Minos Starfighter VR. This space shooter for the Google Cardboard has AAA graphics and 3D positional audio – showcasing the capabilities of mobile VR.