The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has yet to turn six, and has already been featured on a near countless number of platforms. Early this year during Sony’s E3 press conference, that count grew, as Bethesda revealed that Skyrim would be getting the VR treatment with the PlayStation VR. Recently, the company held an event to showcase the demo, and I was on hand to give the new addition a shot.
My portion of the demo took me through one of the game’s very first dungeons. Since it was only a demo, I was given a fairly streamlined experience; I only had one sword, a bow, and a small sampling of spells. Of course, once the game releases players will have access to the entire menu of Skyrim items and abilities.
For my demo, I spent the entire playing with two PS Move controllers, and as far as gameplay goes, it seemed fairly intuitive. Weapons are mapped to each hand, meaning you’re able to fire flames from one hand while swinging a sword with the other. Weapons and items can be swapped out through various menu tabs, which are neatly designed, and I could bring up a favorites list with the click of a button which would allow me to cycle through the various spells and weapons. Fighting with the Move controllers is as easy as swinging your wrists or simply aiming with the wands, and all of the gameplay aspects with the controllers felt smooth as a whole, if not a bit cartoonish due to how often you’re flailing about as you fight.
What wasn’t smooth, however, was the movement, which was locked into a teleportation mode.
While many VR games use this as a standard, I found that the movement system hampered a lot of what made Skyrim so fun, the exploration. It also proved to be troubling from a combat perspective, as having to teleport around an enemy broke the immersion of the game more than I would have liked. Thankfully, the game will support DualShock 4 when it launches, and a representative on site did say that Bethesda was looking into how to make the PS Move option more immersive.
For many, the idea of being able to jump into the virtual reality world of Skyrim sounds incredible. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for me. The first thing you notice when you strap into the PlayStation VR headset is that the game just doesn’t look that good.
Perhaps it was due to the world being strapped right onto me or the setting of the demo, but the low resolution of the game was apparent from the start. While this did keep the frame rate running very well throughout my time, it wasn’t exactly the visual spectacle that you’d hope a VR game could provide, or have come to expect Skyrim to provide.
Still, it is impressive to see a game of this size and quality make it into the VR world. While Skyrim VR may feel more like a stopgap for virtual reality gaming, it’s still very fun to play with, especially in a world that feels as familiar as Skyrim‘s does. Just the thought of being to strap on a headset and dive into a world that expansive is truly remarkable, and despite the flaws the game presents, it’s something that VR junkies will likely need to own when it launches later this holiday season.
Skyrim VR preview conducted at a Bethesda event.