Skyrim VR (2017), Bethesda’s premier virtual reality port of the hit open-world RPG Skyrim (2011), has finally made its way to PC VR headsets after its November 2017 launch on PlayStation VR. Unlike the studio’s recent release of Fallout 4 VR (2017)it appears being an older title, and having to squeeze into the lower graphical confines of PSVR, has done it a literal world of good, as it both looks and feels more like the Skyrim we know and love. Barring some imperfections, Bethesda has successfully opened up the giant region of Skyrim to a platform that can boost the pixels where it counts, giving you that immersive mountain vista you always craved, or the moody evening in the tavern reading up on the world’s ancient lore.

Skyrim VR on PC Details:

Official Site
Steam

Developer: Bethesda
Available On: Oculus RIft, HTC Vive, Windows VR, PSVR
Reviewed On: Oculus RIft, HTC Vive
Release Date: April 2nd, 2018

[See our Skyrim VR on PSVR review here]

Note: It’s been a while since I played the original Skyrim, but I’ve had the opportunity to put in nearly 100 hours of questing across the flatscreen game’s vast terrain over the years. Time limitations only allowed me a fraction of that in the VR version, so for the purposes of this review, I’ll be focusing on the mechanics specific to the PC VR release, and try my best to balance my appraisal of the game for both new and returning players. I’ve also never had the chance to play Skyrim VR on PSVR (our review here), so this is an entirely new review specific to the PC VR platform.

Gameplay

An open world rife with possibilities; the chance to step into the boots of the Dragonborn, a foretold hero who appears once in a millennium who can speak the language of the dragons, a magical species woven into the world’s mythos. Thought long-dead, the winged overlords of the world of Tamriel appear just as you enter the scene as a prisoner on the chopping block. I won’t spoil it any further in case you’re new to the game.

Offered the choice of a variety of races, each with their own proclivities to magic, strength, enchantment, etc, you set out into the world’s sword and sorcery narrative. The entire avatar creator is here from the original Skyrim, replete with nose, eye, head, hair, complexion, and scar modifiers—something I don’t waste my time on since you never see yourself again anyway. Unlike the original, there is no third-person view, because, after all, this is a first-person VR game.

image captured by Road to VR

This is where you’re given the first of your moral choices, the ones that help shape your expectations of the world, and the world’s expectations of you. Do you start the game as a shiftless thief, sneaking into homes and taking everything that isn’t bolted down? Or are you a reserved, honorable warrior who doesn’t boast pridefully of your accomplishments, never taking anything that isn’t owed to you? Many of these moral choices are decided through the game’s text-based dialogue system, which admittedly isn’t ideal in VR, but it’s really the only way of inserting your opinion into the game’s narrative.

Skyrim VR plays very well on PC, and it’s really no wonder why. As a seven year-old game that first found life in VR on PSVR, I got it to run on max settings, supersampled via SteamVR’s automatic tuner at 176% with only minor hiccups on our test rig, the Exemplar 2, which is admittedly a step above the game’s recommended spec of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB and Intel Core i7-4790. Thanks to a bevy of options, lesser VR-ready systems should be able to chew through Skyrim VR on lower settings.

Perfectly rendering everything as far as the eye can see is an impossible task though; the max render distance is great, although rendering finer geometry is pretty noticeable in larger areas as you see grass and plants spring up in front of you to fill out the ground’s basic textures. There are plenty of options including various render toggles, but the only choice for anti-aliasing is predictably temporal anti aliasing (TAA) which isn’t exactly ideal. I didn’t find any issue though visually, as there’s not much TASS-related blurriness to speak of. Some textures can ‘pop’ and glare at certain angles, but this is only a seldom occurrence. Generally speaking, Skyrim VR for PC is the Skyrim VR you were promised, and can bet all of these things can be finagled into working more smoothly with a little elbow grease thanks to the knowledge base of the game’s robust modding community (see note on modding at article’s end).

There are only two fundamental locomotion options: teleport and hand-relative direct movement. Neither are incredible in my opinion, but are still serviceable. Teleporting across the region of Skyrim is laborious and it feels a little too cheaty for my tastes, so I immediately opted for direct movement (also called ‘free locomotion’). I personally am not a fan of hand-relative free locomotion, and would much rather have head-relative movement, which better helps me make natural micro-adjustments along my forward path. You can choose between snap turning with a variable degree, or smooth turning with variable rotation speed.

SEE ALSO
‘WipEout Omega’ Looks, Sounds, and Plays Brilliantly on PSVR, Just Remember to Pace Yourself

I found all control schemes, including scrolling through the game’s vast amount of menus, to be much more simple on Oculus Touch than with HTC Vive motion controllers. When played on Vive, the game makes extensive use of the Vive controller’s touchpad, so selection is mapped to thumb swipes and not verifiable clicks of the touchpad itself. I never really got the hang of it to be honest, and found myself much more readily playing with Touch simply because of the ease of navigating the game’s menus with the thumbstick over the touchpad. It’s also a bit awkward to use the Vive’s left grip button to jump while resting your thumb on the touchpad to move forward. Many times I found myself confusing controls and accidentally crouching when I wanted to jump, or ‘Fus-Roh-Dah’-ing the townsfolk and guards because I depressed the right grip button instead of the left to sheath my sword. Oh, you can also play on gamepad, but where’s the fun in that?

An adjustable height slider is available in the settings so you can appear taller in-game, something I turned to the max so I could sit down and still be at a reasonable height while running through the world and talking to the world’s six foot-tall NPCs. A physical ‘sneak’ is available, i.e. letting you physically bend down to ‘sneak’, although if you’re already seated, you’ll always be in sneak mode, so I tended to stick to the toggle sneak option which activates with the push of a button. One issue with that it sneak mode makes you physically shorter in-game, making your seated lower point of view even lower. To remedy this, I would physically stand in dungeons and activate physical sneak, so I could be the correct height and forgo the automatic height readjustment of the sneak mode toggle altogether.

Image courtesy Bethesda

Combat, while somewhat of a mixed bag, is serviceable. Melee combat isn’t great simply because your weapons, which are stuck to your hands, don’t really telegraph any in-game weight, so you can waggle what appears to be a 20 pound battle-axe as if it weighed nothing. Blocking with a shield isn’t really that great either, as it seemed to work only a fraction of the time I used it, making it basically a non-starter from the get-go. Archery and magic casting are really where Skyrim VR shines though, which should be good news for stealth archers and mages alike.

Image courtesy Bethesda

Immersion

Bad news first: one of the worst parts of Skyrim VR is the predictable (and entirely necessary) continuation of the base game’s menu system. On a standard monitor, these make absolute sense, but in VR you’re faced with a floating window where all of your things are displayed in text form, which takes away from the majesty of the world and replaces it with an ancillary task that just doesn’t fit in the rustic world of Tamriel. Even though I understand the confines of the game don’t allow it, ideally all items would be represented physically so you could holster them appropriately, and so you would ideally have the option of keeping a sword on your hip, a bow and quiver on your back, and a satchel of food and medicine by your side. Instead, you just go through a menu and equip or consume whatever you need at that moment, and in a paused state so you can scroll freely without fear or being attacked.

image captured by Road to VR

If the menu is any indication of how things are, then its obvious that object interaction just isn’t going to be a natural experience in Skyrim VR, as you’ll see a potion on a shelf and spirit it away with a single button press into your inventory where it will go never to be seen again. Hand presence is also null, as the models of your high tech VR controllers are rendered when you haven’t actively equipped something, which is totally out-of-place in the context of the world.

Despite these misgivings, I can’t underline enough just how awesome it is to look over a mountain vista and see the vast, explorable world ahead of me. And while graphics are clearly showing their age, it’s all rich enough to make it a cohesive and frankly still breathtaking experience for anyone starting for the first time, or returning to a lovingly remembered place like a well decorated house Breezehome, or the dank sewers of Riften.

Image courtesy Bethesda

Besides that, you can cook, blacksmith, enchant items, collect tons of readable books, hunt, ransack houses, and help every bratty child in the game without even so much as an afterthought for the main questline. And if you do, you’ll have a seemingly endless amount of time to digest the game’s world-building elements, be it side missions to uncover revelations of the past, or through the hundreds of books scattered throughout the game that detail Skyrim’s well-crafted history. The game is undoubtedly vast and rich—something which is precious and few in VR at the moment. Not only that, Skyrim VR includes a number of official add-ons including Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn, adding more questlines and flavor to the world.

SEE ALSO
Hands-on: Ubisoft's Upcoming VR Shooter 'Space Junkies' is All About Guns and Jet Packs

Comfort

Both locomotion styles, teleportation and direct movement, are exceedingly comfortable ways of moving around. While you can run, turn and jump in-game, an adjustable FOV filter helps keep things feeling comfortable. You can turn this off for maximum FOV, although I found it both useful and non-intrusive at its default setting.

Because the game was designed first for flatscreens, the game’s architecture is littered with stairs, something that if not created with care, can possibly lead to nausea. Stairs are seemingly randomly designed to either let you glide smoothly upwards (good), or make your POV feel every bump on the way up (bad), which isn’t very comfortable in the short-term. Despite this, I still found Skyrim VR to be a mostly comfortable experience which didn’t hit any of those simulation sickness buttons in my brain I recognize all too well.

Modding: Mods should hypothetically work, although I wasn’t personally successful in getting any, either manually or through a few of the handy modding tools including LOOT, Mod Manager 2, or Nexus Mod Manager. None of these are tuned to recognize Skyrim VR currently, so easy mod installation isn’t likely until those services are expanded to include the VR version too, or cleverly tricked into working and correctly assigning boot load. Considering users cracked into Fallout 4 VR on launch day, I suspect similar results from other more familiar with manual mod installation even though I had no personal success. I’ll update this when more information is available.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall
8

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  • Michael Lupton

    and now I need to track down a review from someone who played the PSVR version, I want to see some comparisons (I have the PSVR version, it is awesome)

    • twattermaster

      Its better visually (as expected) thanks to the power of PC and magic of supersampling. Also much better in terms of tracking.

    • Master E

      Loved the PSVR version. Totally drew me back I’m lowered graphics and all. It’s still Skyrim, it’s an actual AAA game, multiple movement options, and unfortunately unlike many VR games it gives us way more for the buck and works better than most built for VR games.

      I might have to buy it for the 5th time because I want to see what mods wills do to beef it up on pc in a few months

    • Mythos88

      I’ve read quite a few posts on /r/WindowsMR and /r/Vive from PSVR owners that say the PC version is way better. Way better graphics, controls and menu navigation and tracking

  • Ryan

    Head relative smooth motion? I think you are in the minority. The hand relative motion is Skyrim is just right. Also, I don’t understand your issues with the Vive track pads… works great for me. Definitely not a made for VR game, but amazing never the less. I’ve been waiting for this since DK1.

    • Morfium

      Thought the same tbh.
      I’m always confused by head relative locomotion, because I tend to look around a lot while walking.
      Still, would be nice to have the additional option for that for those of us who feel differently. :)

      As for track pads. I’d say they worked okay for Fallout 4….
      But I often had problems with it scrolling when I didn’t want it to, or scrolling too far.
      Maybe something you can grab an pull around would be better. Like a ring (or bent line that’s fading at the edges for many items) around you filled with item models like a shelf and you can pull it left/right and grab the thing you want from it.
      But I didn’t expect them to create new menus.

    • Gonzalo Novoa

      Personally I hate both hand and head relative movement, I prefer stick movement. If I have to choose, though, I prefer hand movement, by far. Head movement is totally unrealistic, you dont move your body to where your head is looking in real life and if you want to look to the sides you’re forced to stop moving.
      As usual, though, having options to please everyone, is the ideal thing.

      • Ragbone

        I assumed there would be stick movement in this, I take it yet again another game as failed in locomotion with sh*t alternatives to normal game movement…

        • care package

          Vive trackpads held it back

        • Mythos88

          You can change it to either one

        • Ragbone

          I tried it and was surprised the free movement locomotion was implemented well. Although if you turn while running you stop running most of the time. Also most times I was unable to jump while running. Maybe that’s just broken on the rift touch pads.

    • Raphael

      Me same… I am ok with both systems. Certainly beats teleport crap.

  • Tyrus Gail

    8/10?? Are you kidding me? For Skyrim, as a game (very good, old game) – yes. As for VR experience – 3/10. This is more an experiment, not a good consumer product. Or just another way to make more money on old title. Horribly bad graphic and uncomfortable controls make this game unplayable (for average user) for more than 5 minutes.

    The biggest sin of modern VR industry – this is the time for development, not for making money on old tech, and old games! (yes, htc and oculus arefor now a very old tech). This is killing VR dream.

    • Morfium

      Did you test the game already?
      I’m kinda glad at least some companies port their games to vr.
      I would love to get some other old, content heavy, first person fantasy rpgs to vr, like Dark Messiah.
      Since it is not released yet I can’t speak for how well the port is made, but judging by Fallout 4 I will likely enjoy this game quite bit and wouldn’t count myself as far off the average (whatever that is).

      Could you also elaborate on what your VR dream would be like?

      • Raphael

        Some people think VR should have all new games… I disagree. One of the best games I’ve played in VR is Half Life 2 with mouse and keys back when Valve added support. VR lets you see detail you never saw when you played the tiny 2d rectangle version. Bringing existing popular games to VR is good for the VR gaming industry. We’re starting to see more and more pancake games getting a new lease of life. The idea that developers should be banned from porting existing games to VR is about as dumb as it gets.

        Swevivr likes this port of Skyrim so I’m more inclined to listen to his view over some sour little muppets.

        • Jay

          To be fair, Swevivr seems to like everything. That is the happiest guy in the world.

          • FireAndTheVoid

            SweViver only posts reviews of games he likes. He says that he plays a lot more games than he shows and passes on most. If he doesn’t enjoy the game, then that is reflected in his lack of enthusiasm and he doesn’t want that kind of content on his channel.

          • Raphael

            That’s because he’s Swedish.

      • Gonzalo Novoa

        Personally I would love every old game to be ported to VR, all my favorite games, I mean. The fact that a big game like Skyrim is ported is already good news and very likely to atract a lot of new gamers into this world.
        I never liked Skyrim or cared about it and I am really excited to try it in VR, that can’t be a bad sign.

      • Master E

        Totally don’t mind VR ports if they are done well! VR needs full games. I personally don’t care if they are ports. Just give me more VR games. Can’t wait until the next big generation step. So close!

    • Sandy Wich

      I agree 100%. This isn’t even half assed, it’s below that.

      …….At least this is a sign the future Fallout/Elder Scrolls games will get VR support. :/ We can hope they will be a bit better designed than this. Hopefully VR booms so they’ll do more than invest 5000 dollars into a VR port next time.

      • Francesco Fazio

        The game works perfectly on the Oculus Rift. What is the problem you are having exactly ?

    • Francesco Fazio

      The usual idiot with a GTX 970 and an i5 second or third generation. Hello ? You need an i7-8700k and a GTX 1080 ti to play real VR. You cheap fool

      • Shuino

        You’re an idiot.

        • Francesco Fazio

          Sure sure. Meantime the cheap bastard without money to buy proper hardware cannot play Skyrim VR :)

          Guess who is the guy ? YOU IDIOT :)

      • Icebeat

        he didn’t talk about performance you idiot.

        • Francesco Fazio

          ” Horribly bad graphic and uncomfortable controls make this game unplayable (for average user) for more than 5 minutes.”

          This is performances. You idiot and cheap bastard :)

          Why can I play it smoothly totally maxed out and I have no problems whatsoever while having an amazing experience with the game ? I answer you.

          Cause I have proper hardware !

          • Justos

            hur dur i spend money for prettier pixels. hur dur i buy vive pro cause res bump pretty and me have money.

            You realize a good % of VR headset owners bought their graphics card when it came out? IE GTX9xx era. While there is value in upgrading, not everyone wants to upgrade every single generation.

            You’re the one acting like an idiot.

          • Francesco Fazio

            So they should stop complaining. The game requires the top edge hw resources so why complaining if you dont upgrade your hardware first ? This is being an idiot if you allow me that.

          • Ragbone

            I have a gtx 1070, 16gb ram and an I5 processor, what individual one should I upgrade first to benefit playing games in 4k and higher settings in VR?

          • Francesco Fazio

            GTX 1080 ti man. CPU and RAM should be good enough.

          • Ragbone

            Damn, I almost got a 1080, thought the 1070 would have been ok as it was expensive. Maybe I can sell the 1070 and get a 1080. Thanks for the info.

          • Francesco Fazio

            There is an abyss between a 1080 and a 1080 ti. Remember that :) Unfortunately it is also an abyss price wise …

          • Ragbone

            cool, i’ll keep that in mind, i want to play new games in vr with max settings so i think i’ll have to try and get a 1080 TI. Have you played any racing games with a steering wheel and peddles and gear stick? :D

    • Justin Davis

      Uncomfortable controls and unplayable for more than 5 minutes? Get your VR legs and then play.

      • Francesco Fazio

        Your specs please

        • Justin Davis

          i7 8770k, 1080 Ti FTW3, 32GB 3200 RAM. Fallout 4 sucked with this PC. Skyrim is performing great.

          • Francesco Fazio

            We have exactly the same specs and Fallout 4 sucked for me too. It is really badly made.

          • Francesco Fazio

            Same for me. Fallout 4 works like shit but Skyrim is totally great

          • Francesco Fazio

            exactly the same specs I have :)

  • nasprin

    If it is in the same state as Fallout 4 VR, i will hesitate to buy it.
    With Fallout It felt like Bethesda just made a few changes to allow the game to work in VR, then put a 60$ Price label on an old game and TADAAAA – it’s done.

    No new mechanics, no VR-specific world interactions, nothing. It took almost 2 Months to “fix” black scopes in what is essentially a shooter – and the fix they’ve come up with was really ridiculous…

    And if the review is honest and the sword-fighting is not really enjoyable – what’s the point? There are dozens of archery games for VR right now, all built for VR from the beginning.

  • Mythos88

    8/10 pfftt…relative to where VR is today, it is an 11. It is way beyond my expectations. I’m not going to bother explaining why, just buy it and enjoy. They also did an amazing job of programming for Windows MR as well. This is gong to be a boon for VR.

    Edit: you can change to headset motion if you want

    • care package

      This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for since DK2 Alien Isolation days. I thought we’d see ports left and right, but they’re just now starting to happen.

      • alan green

        Incase you didn’t know there’s a small .dll file you can download here https://github.com/Nibre/MotherVR/releases/ which you put in the Alien Isolation directory to make it VR compatible. Works a treat. Unfortunately it’s one of those games that makes me ill in VR :(

        • care package

          I knew and ive used it. I used the DK2 version as a time reference

        • ummm…

          i have a vive. does it work for that too? i bought alien isolation but never played because im waiting for vr. its all keyboard or gamepad tho right?

          • alan green

            Not entirely sure. Only used it with my Rift. I’m sure there must be a equivalent if it doesn’t work.

          • dextrovix

            The MotherVR mod converts between the DK2 run-time that the game was compiled with, to the release version of the Rift run-time used today. However, this is hard enough to have created and achieved in itself, so getting that to work with a completely different library would be a whole different project. Don’t hold your breath- I have both HMDs, but it will not work on the Vive because it isn’t written to.

          • ummm…

            Thx for taking the time to explain. I’ve heard native is never happening and the current solution is sub par.

          • dextrovix

            But before MotherVR, I played through Alien Isolation several times using VorpX, which was pretty good and works on Rift as well as Vive. It doesn’t cost much to register, and certainly the only difference was having to use the Peek function to read the in-game monitors properly. I’d say VorpX is a real option, especially as it also works on many other titles very well that weren’t written for VR.

          • ummm…

            I bought vorpx 2 years ago. Tried it with Arma 3. Worked terribly. Unsitalled. It. Is it stereoscopic with alien?

          • dextrovix

            Arma 3 is on the supported games list, but I don’t own that to verify why it didn’t work, but support from Ralf the developer is good, so you should be able to get help for that from him. As for Alien Isolation, it works fully in Stereoscopic because I’ve tried it and I’d say its nearly the same as native Rift support. I’ve also set a custom resolution of 1920×1440 from my Nvidia Control Panel so it looks as sharp as possible when run at that resolution when using VorpX. I’d spend more time with VorpX if I were you, and then in the forums if you get stuck or it doesn’t look right. It does work well with the Vive and the later versions of VorpX which it will update itself to when you launch it. Good luck!

          • ummm…

            Then I’ll have to give it a second shot!

      • antonio mora

        Yeah I tought that too, I’d say motion sickness is the one to blame pffft.

  • Justin Davis

    Unless you have a disability, why would you sit while playing this?

    • daveinpublic

      Why are you sitting while reading this?

      • Justin Davis

        I wasn’t. Standing staring at my phone.

        • Ragbone

          A phone?? Luxury!!! I wish I had a phone. I’ve been using a fire blanket attached to a piece of string.

      • Ragbone

        Sit?? Luxury! Wish i could sit. I don’t even have an arse. I have to float all day and rely on gravity to move around, pushing off things with my legs.

    • Master E

      Justin… totally get why standing would serve the purpose of VR and immersion more, but I stand probably 12 hours a day at my job and would much rather have an option to sit at the end of my day.

      Then again… I guess, at times, I feel disabled by the end of my work day.

      • Justin Davis

        You get a major pass.

    • EOTWAWKI

      because i am not going to stand for the 4 or 5 hours i play.

    • care package

      This game can last over 100 hours. You going to stand that whole time?

      • FireAndTheVoid

        Yes. While standing, I can physically turn myself around and avoid having to use snap rotation or smooth rotation. Also, I dodged an arrow flying at me – can’t do that sitting down.

        • care package

          you can dodge when sitting, just not as well. just because you’re sitting doesn’t mean you’re reclining.

      • Justin Davis

        I’m going to try. I refuse to use artificial turning in any VR game that will let me physically turn. It’s why I prefer VR over regular monitor games.

        • Morfium

          I always play standing and even activated realistc sneaking, but I also heavily use artificial turning.
          Helps with not getting tangled up as fast.
          I also made an edge in my play area where the door is to always know the real room rotation. This way I can fearlessly hack away at the open door.
          Lost a lamp already. :D

      • KUKWES

        yes I am on hour 30 now of straight standing.

    • alan green

      Us older gamers get back ache standing for more than 30 mins lol

      • Ploppy Man

        Me too. I last about an hour. I bought Super Hot the other day and lasted a lot longer on that. Probably because of all the bending around I was doing to avoid bullets. It was a bit like playing 3d twister.

        • alan green

          I didn’t do too bad with Robo Recall. Did a few 2 hour stints with that before going for the seated option. Very similar to Super Hot with all the dodging/catching/swatting bullets etc. I HIGHLY recommend it if you own a rift/vive (it’s rift exclusive but I believe there are ways to get it working on vive.)

          • Ploppy Man

            I’ve got both. Prefering Super Hot so far. Robo Recall keeps thinking I’m 7ft tall as well so I have to keep fiddling with the rift’s setup for it. A bit like Skyrim. It think’s I’m 4ft tall even on the highest setting.

          • ummm…

            superhot is on the vive. robo isn’t. im cool without it tho.

          • alan green

            I know but you can get it working vive using the instructions here https://www.vrheads.com/how-play-robo-recall-your-htc-vive

          • NooYawker

            You can download the first chapter for free on unreal site. But it takes a loooong time to load.

          • NooYawker

            Try knockout league, after a couple of rounds I thought my heart exploded.

          • alan green

            i have another boxing game. The Thrill Of The Fight. Yeah i was exhausted and dripping with sweat after 1 round. Never went back lol

    • ummm…

      im athletic and in shape. but with the hardwood floors and long days at work i can only take it for so long. i dont sit and play tho, i just stop.

    • NooYawker

      I’m 50.. is that a disability? But seriously.. after awhile I just want to sit.

  • sebrk

    Easy buy. I’m also happy to see that the Zenimax shit show has settled and Oculus has native support. Fallout 4 VR is horrible in that sense and I had to refund it. Looking forward to later.

    • Justos

      Its not native at all. Its all run through steamVR. It would be even sweeter if we had the oculus SDK integrated for ASW.

      Though to be fair, the game runs like butter. So its not a huge deal in this case.

  • FireAndTheVoid

    I played this last night for a couple of hours. Here are my initial impressions.

    After having played a friend’s PSVR version for a few minutes previously (I wasn’t very impressed at the graphics or feeling of presence), I was pleasantly surprised at how good it looked. It is difficult to make out faces at a distance due to the headset’s resolution, but I am hoping that this improves when I get my Vive Pro later this week. (BTW, I’m running with a 1080 Ti and have supersampling maxed) One other point on visuals, in VR it is easy to see the shortcuts the devs took when modeling. For instance, most of the bushes are composed of 2D branches.

    I am not a fan of the bow mechanic. I was REALLY hoping for a mechanic like Longbow or In Death. In Skyrim VR, the arrow’s nock does not follow your hand position. It is only pulled back based on how far you’ve pulled your hand back. This makes it more difficult to aim. However, after around 15 minutes, I started to get used to it.

    On my Vive, lock picking is done using the trackpad and trigger, as though I was using a gamepad. I was hoping to use the controllers, having to move them as though I was mimicking lock picking IRL.

    As for interacting with shop keepers, unfortunately it requires going behind the shop counter in order to not get clipping on the menu. Otherwise, the menu system does not bother me.

    You cannot pick up anything as though you are doing it with your hand. You have to point the controller and press the track pad to interact with it. I see why they did it, however, it is still a little disappointing. I tried to hit a sign with my hand and was disappointed to see my hand pass through it, rather than knock it and cause it to swing.

    That all being said, the game is still amazing. The views are fantastic and the huge scale of the world is refreshing in comparison to a lot of the smaller VR titles. I was never really into Skyrim as a game, but I can see myself really enjoying the VR version and putting in a ton of hours.

    • 556684684684

      You can enable realistic bow settings in the VR settings menu, makes it track both hands similar to regular VR bow mechanics.

      • FireAndTheVoid

        Thanks! I just tried it out. It’s not perfect, but it’s a huge improvement.

        • Morfium

          If you press the trackpad and hold it you can hold to items and carry them around. Even throwing works a little. Although bodies don’t seem to work. At least not for me.
          That way you should even be able to distract guards by throwing stuff they invetigate, didn’t test that though.

          For the flat stuff problems, some can be “fixed” my SMIM (Static mesh improvement mod), a mod that replaces a lot of ingame flat “cheat” models by real stuff. Like chains for example. The Special Edition Version works for VR.
          With a 1080Ti you should have no problem using that. I use it with noble Skyrim textures and had no performance hit.

  • Ploppy Man

    What’s it like on a GTX 970 and a wonky old i52300?

    • jj

      probably painful

    • FireAndTheVoid

      Probably, the CPU doesn’t matter nearly as much as the GPU.

      Edit: The CPU definitely doesn’t matter nearly as much as the GPU.

      • alan green

        cpu is still quite important when it comes to vr. On top of the normal cpu usage from the game it will also have to process info from your vr headset and controllers, tracking etc. If the cpu is under any stress normally in 2D then VR will be a stuttering mess.

        • FireAndTheVoid

          I can’t speak to the additional VR computational load on the Rift or the Windows MR headsets, however the Vive tracking (Valve’s lighthouse tracking) is accomplished on ASICs within the headset and the controllers – no CPU processing.

          “As the X and Y ‘plane’ of IR laser light sweeps past the various sensors embedded within the controllers and HMD, those diodes’ outputs are amplified and passed onto an internal ASIC, which is programmed with the relative location where each input signal was sourced. Provided there are enough inputs (sensors that have a direct line of sight to one or both Base Stations), the ASIC can then work out its own location and orientation within the room.”

          Source: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-Tech/SteamVR-HTC-Vive-depth-Lighthouse-Tracking-System-Dissected-and-Explored/SteamV

        • Ploppy Man

          That explains the weird jitteriness I see on the gui for some games. I might have to invest in a new cpu etc.

    • Justos

      not sure about the CPU, but the gpu will not have a problem on med settings (default)

  • Dragonborn399

    I don’t understand why some people think that just because you are in VR, you have to move 1-1 or it is not immersive… that is total nonsense and a strange way of thinking. Why? Think back to any movies or experiences like the Matrix, the real world bodies did not move. Maybe flinch a little, but, the idea – is that in VR – you are taking on a super powerful avatar, doing stuff you can never do in real life. That is why the disconnect between the game, and my real world body is fine and I like the controls to be easier and less impacted by if I can “sneak” for 10 mins straight without hurting my real world legs!

    I think people need to realize that, perfect VR will someday be just us staying still in almost a sleep like state, while in game, in our minds, we are flying around like Ninjas.

    • Ragbone

      I teleport in real life and its annoying. Everyone made fun of me at school.

  • LowRezSkyline

    So is this game roomscale? I assume I can move around my playspace without issue, turn, etc, without issue, or does that throw things off?

    • Mythos88

      Yes roomscale

  • Rob H

    Awesome game but its a shame a professional review website like this doesn’t even know how to screenshot properly. Makes the article look unprofessional.

  • wcalderini

    Just out of curiosity. (and no humble brag here). I have the rift, (currently hooked up on a gaming laptop, can’t remember which 17 processor with a 6GB 1060 and 16GB Ram playing from SSD-It’s last years Mid-Range MSI laptop), my Vive is hooked into my main system with an i7 4790K, 1080ti and 32GB Ram running from SSD. I also have the Samsung Odyssey currently hooked to nothing, but hoping for the xBox One X.

    I HATE learning new control patterns, (and I’m pretty slow at picking them up) so I do want to pick a platform for this game and stick with it. Any of my systems can be moved to my “main” computer. Which one would give best experience? The Odyssey has the other two beat in raw fidelity, the review says the controls are easiest with the Rift controllers, but since my Vive pro is on order should I just learn it there? (The original Vive). And although I did order it on the first pre-order day I have no idea when it will actually ship. (Flashbacks from the FIRST Vive debacle).

    I have never played any version of this game and I am eager to dive on in tonight.
    Which do you all think would give the best, and easiest playing experience?

    • FireAndTheVoid

      You learn the controls in the first 5 minutes, so I would say try them all out and see which control scheme feels best.

      • wcalderini

        Cool. Downloaded it tonight, but it’s gotten too late to fire it up. We will see. Thanks.

        • Ragbone

          How did it go?

          • wcalderini

            I actually waited until Monday night to give it a go. My Vive Pro came in and all seemed to work well. The locomotion takes a little getting used to, but I’ve decided to try not to use the teleport option. The game LOOKS gorgeous on the Pro, (with an 1080ti), but truthfully I have not gotten too far beyond the starting point. Work issues, Allergies, and a Sinus infection have kept me from getting any quality time. (No game looks good through tears.:)) But I’ll report back after the weekend.

          • Ragbone

            Hope you are better soon and get to play more, I’m going to try with mods on for better graphics.

    • Ragbone

      I heard the vive is awkward to use the thumb bit, whereas the rift has the stick, id prefer the stick. Ive only played on the rift though, controls are easy to remember after a bit, i keep pressing the wrong ones sometimes for back and forward menu selections but probably easier once playing more. buggy trying to run and jump or run and turn (stops you running most times). Might just be me though.

  • Thanks for this review!

  • Leeroy

    “Melee combat isn’t great simply because your weapons, which are stuck to your hands, don’t really telegraph any in-game weight, so you can waggle what appears to be a 20 pound battle-axe as if it weighed nothing.”

    This seems like a very strange criticism, and the sort of thing I’d expect from a non-VR website (which often seem inexplicably critical of VR games). Is swinging a battle-axe by moving your index finger one millimeter more realistic?

    • That kind of ruins immersion a bit. I don’t really have a great suggestion on how to fix that either. I have a feeling this will be just another PC game that doesn’t convert to VR very well. I really love Skyrim though so maybe I’ll give it a chance when it’s on sale someday.

      • ummm…

        i picked it up. its worth it….for me

    • benz145

      Comparing it to gamepads misses the point, VR is about immersion and part of that comes with how the game world handles interactions between objects and characters in the world. If you can “attack” by just wiggling your broadsword at someone, it doesn’t feel as immersive as if you really have to swing to register a hit (not to mention extra stuff like making sure the enemy animation corresponds well to the hit, etc).

      • brandon9271

        So what your saying is the game doesn’t take into account the velocity of the weapon and has a very simple hit detection? If so, that’s definitely not realistic at all but it’s probably due to an underlying DnD-style statistics-based combat system used in many RPG. That’s only an assumption, however

      • Leeroy

        If the point being made in the review was that the strength of your attack in-game does not feel like it reflects how fast or far you swing your controller, then I guess that’s a fair enough comment. I wonder if they allow smaller movements to register as attacks because it would be too tiring if you had to make more realistic arm movements. Maybe they should have replaced the swords with guns for the VR version- they work well in VR! Apologies if I was a bit negative
        – I’m probably too used to reading negative reviews of VR games written by people who seem to have an axe to grind (even a very light one that you can waggle).

  • Bob Khan

    Looks pretty cool so far, but Bethesda really needs to open it up to the modding community.

    • Morfium

      Most Special Edition mods should work out of the box.
      I tested some grass/flora mods as well as RS Children and a few other.
      After adding a bigger batch later the game crashed when I got hit by enemies.
      But I had no time to figure out the mod doing this yet. :D
      So if you take stuff that’s not too fancy like e.g. camera mods or relies on skse it should work.
      Even the achievement reenabling dll works. :)

      • Vilma Marrero

        I’m using oculus rift to play skyrim vr, how can I add mods?

      • Ragbone

        I wonder if texture mods will work.

  • Francesco Fazio

    I played all evening yesterday. The game is absolutely amazing. Graphics are great it runs super smooth and controls are very good too with the Oculus Rift.

    I have been playing with this specs and settings:

    – i7-8700k
    – MSI Gaming X GTX 1080 ti
    – 16 gb DDR 3200 mhz

    – No supersampling and graphics to default settings.

    What I have noticed is that if I try to increase the graphics settings it slows down and it gets a bit stuttering and laggish.

    This with the GTX 1080 ti !!! So guys you definitely need to have top edge hardware to run this game. Anything under a GTX 1080 ti most likely is NOT a good experience.

    This game is 9/10 for me one of the best VR games ever made

    • Morfium

      That’s odd.
      I was amazed by how great it was running.
      I’ve got a weaker system except for the graphics card.
      – i5 3xxx (forgot it’s ancient)
      – 8gb RAM
      – 1080 ti
      – game on ssd (might make the difference)
      – All settings/distances to max
      – SMIM for better models
      – Noble Skyrim Textures
      – More grass with mods and flora overhaul for better trees.
      – Supersampling at 3/4 (will increase that today to check it out)

      I had absolutely no problems.
      Was expecting to get hit by lag but it ran as smooth as before.
      I think they did a great job porting this.

      • Francesco Fazio

        Yes man you have a 1080 ti. The cpu does not really count so much. What counts is the GPU and you have the same I have. It works great but try with anything lower it wont go well

      • Ragbone

        can anyone confirm if running on ssd makes a noticeable difference? If so ill try it, thanks.

        • Leeroy

          Well, I’m not on SSD and running with a 1080 and it seems perfectly smooth with default in-game settings and super-sampling set to 1.7 on the oculus tray tool.

  • Weird Wizard Dave

    7/10 for gameplay?! Little harsh no? I mean even the melee mechanics which are the weakest element in the gameplay are probably a 7 on their own. Bow gameplay is fantastic, magic equally so and surely gameplay must include as nod to the depth and breadth of content available in Skyrim VR which is equalled only by Fallout 4 VR and leaves everything else far far FAR behind.

    Overall an 8? Are we playing the same game here? Maybe it’s to do with having a review copy and not getting mods to work but with a couple of very minor tweaks using the in game options (TAA off, super sampling up thank you now it looks great) and the addition of a handful of mods this is hands down far and away the best game I’ve ever played.

  • antonio mora

    The game is so beautiful, I`m enjoyng every minute of it but now I can’t use input emulator beacuse in order to launch Skyrim VR I need to opt out of beta in Steam VR and this is terrible news for Fallout 4 VR.

  • david vincent

    I was bored to death by Skyrim (100h on flat screen + 50h with VR injector which gave great results) but I must say motion controllers support is a game changer (especially since I play a bowman). Now after hours of modding and tweaking FO4VR, I must start again with Skyrim VR… as Skyrim vanilla is a no-go (btw I’m a bit worried that SKSE is not supported).

  • RockstarRepublic

    I wasnt impressed at first. Felt just like Fallout all over again, however the gameplay was better over all.

    Then I modded it. Graphically…. gameplay…. everything got altered to the point where it is one of the best damn looking VR games on the market. Its so much fun! Well worth the money if you are willing to toss some mods into it. The process is easy with Vortex Mod Manager, which will recognize your VR titles and do all the work for you. Just download the mod and load it into vortex. You can launch the game straight from there.