The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (2018) isn’t what you’d call a lazy VR port of the now decade-old open-world RPG, but it certainly leaves much to the imagination when it comes to the sort of immersion you’d expect to see in native VR titles. Like all things Skyrim, mods let you improve the experience in ways Bethesda simply won’t (like, ever), and a few mods in particular have done a lot for Skyrim VR on PC that will have you feeling much more at home in Tamriel.
Out of the box, Skyrim VR offers up a virtual feast for the eyes, but the longer you play, the more you’ll likely contend with a few glaring issues that put hurdles in the way of continued and consistent immersion. Garbage text-based UI menus and ugly vanilla trees, I’m looking straight at you. Granted, there’s been mods for these issues basically right after the game was released three years ago though, although there’s one mod in particular that’s squarely aiming at making the game into a more native VR experience.
HIGGS VR, one of the most keenly immersion-focused mods out there, continues to impress with its bespoke fixes to many of the non-VR design woes that made their way from the flatscreen version of Skyrim. Since it was first released in early 2021, the mod lets you do a number of hand-based things, such as holding objects with collision enabled, and selecting items from a distance so you can force-grab them à la Half-Life: Alyx’s gravity gloves.
HIGGS VR is still in active development too, with project creator ‘FlyingParticle’ recently updating to add a few more immersion tidbits. Now the mod lets you wield two-handed weapons with natural hand poses and aim crossbows with two hands—you know, like you’d expect to be able to do in the first place. Project collaborator ‘Cangar’ shows the update in action before it went live a few days ago.
Speaking of immersive mods, Cangar has collated an awesome list of his top 10 Skyrim VR mods, many of which focus specifically on functional immersion aspects of the game and not simply visuals. Here’s a quick summary of his top 10 (HIGGS included), however for more info and downloading instructions make sure to visit the link above:
- SkyUI – better UI to for system menus
- VRIK Player Avatar – gives you a body, weapon holsters, gestures for magic and shouts, and finger animations for Oculus and Index users
- HIGGS VR – hand collision, object grabbing, and gravity gloves-style mechanics
- True 3D Sound – basic positional audio
- Mage VR – draw glyphs to cast and equip spells
- Weapon Throw VR – throw weapons and they return like Thor’s Hammer
- Spellsiphon – a magic add-on for more intuitive, easy-switch spell casting
- Onyx VR Weathers – lightweight and beautiful complete weather mod
- SkyVRaan – better water reflections which is compatible Realistic Water Two
- Enhanced Vanilla Trees – fixes vanilla trees, which tend to shimmer
These, Cangar says, are all fairly lightweight solutions to improve immersion beyond the regular visual and functional mods users typically try out first, many of which intended for the flatscreen version of the game.
For that, Cangar suggests a few lightweight mods to improve the look and feel of the game, including Noble Skyrim to overhaul architecture, Total Character Makeover to improve NPC models, MystiriousDawn’s HD Skyrim Overhaul for photorealism, and both ETHEREAL CLOUDS and ETHEREAL COSMOS for better clouds and night sky.
You can get these and HIGGS VR, over at NexusMod, which is the de facto place for anyone looking to fill the gaps in Bethesda’s VR titles.
What are your favorite immersion-based mods for Skyrim VR? Let us know in the comments below!