The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the best-loved and most immersive RPGs ever made, with hundreds of hours of exploration, questing, open-world adventures, and overwhelmingly positive reviews. Skyrim VR brings this iconic RPG into virtual reality, providing a much more immersive experience. This article is going to explain the pros and cons of the VR version of Skyrim and help you decide whether it is worth your time.
Should You Play Skyrim VR?
The bottom line is that Skyrim VR is definitely worth playing, but there are a number of caveats to this recommendation.
The base version of Skyrim VR is a serviceable port of the PC version of Skyrim. If you simply buy and play the base game, you are likely to have fun, but will soon get frustrated by a long list of things that are not done well in this VR port.
However, if you are prepared to install a few mods, you can transform this game into the best VR RPG in existence. You only need a handful of mods to gain most of the benefits, and the whole modding process can be done very quickly and easily. For those who are more adventurous, there is the potential to install hundreds of mods, spending hours customizing the game exactly to your preferences.
If you’re not interested in installing mods for Skyrim VR, I would strongly advise you to either get this game when it is offered at a steep discount or avoid it altogether.
Who Is Skyrim VR For?
Regardless of whether you have played other versions of Skyrim, this game has the potential to be an extremely immersive VR RPG where you can inhabit the world of Skyrim and follow the main story, or create your own adventure.
Even if you have previously played many hours of regular Skyrim, the VR experience brings a completely different level of immersion and changes the game completely. With so many different ways to play, Skyrim VR feels fresh and new, even if you have put a lot of hours into another version of the game.
If you are prepared to spend a little time installing some mods, you can elevate Skyrim VR from a good VR RPG to arguably the best, most immersive VR RPG experience you can have today.
Pros And Cons Of Skyrim VR
Let’s look at some of the different ways that Skyrim VR differs from regular Skyrim that may influence your decision to get the game.
Skyrim VR Graphics
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was originally released in 2011 and the graphics of the base game are showing their age. A remastered Special Edition of Skyrim with updated graphics was released in 2016 and it is this version that Skyrim VR is built on. However, it’s still not very visually impressive when compared to modern releases, and the graphics never felt particularly cutting edge even back in 2011.
With that said, the developers have created a rich and impressive world and the graphics are sufficiently good to allow you to feel immersed and have a great experience. The good news is that there are a number of graphics settings and mods that can be installed to dramatically improve the textures, lighting, landscapes, weather effects, architecture, characters, weapons, and loads more graphics options.
If you’re prepared to spend an hour or two, you can make Skyrim VR look truly beautiful, and if you have the time and patience, you can make Skyrim look breathtakingly beautiful thanks to the myriad of graphics mods made by the ever-creative modding community.
I wouldn’t let any concerns about the graphics of Skyrim VR hold you back from getting this game, as you can simply customize the game as much or as little as you want until you are happy with how it looks. Bear in mind that Skyrim VR is fairly demanding on PC hardware, and many mods increase the burden on your hardware, so you may have to compromise on some mods and settings depending on your PC setup.
How Immersive Is Skyrim VR Compared To Skyrim?
I always describe the feeling of playing a game in VR as like being inside a game compared to looking into a game world through a screen. Skyrim VR really feels like you are inhabiting the fantasy region of Skyrim and you can really immerse yourself in the world and the adventures that are possible within it.
If you want to play a truly immersive RPG, then Skyrim VR has the potential to provide an amazing experience and is one of the main reasons why Skyrim VR is worth buying, even if you have played many hours of Skyrim on another platform. From my experience, once I started playing games like Skyrim in virtual reality, it was hard to go back to playing on a 2D screen.
Combat In Skyrim VR Vs Skyrim
Regular Skyrim has fairly mediocre melee combat mechanics, but archery and spell casting are done well. The unmodded version of Skyrim VR actually manages to make the melee combat worse, to the point where playing as a melee combat character is quite underwhelming.
However, with the addition of a few mods, you can transform the combat in Skyrim VR into a satisfying, engaging, and challenging experience, where you move and swing your weapons in a realistic way, further enhancing the immersion factor.
You can swing your sword and block as you would a real weapon, reach for your arrows, draw and aim your bow realistically, and hurl spells from your hands in a hugely satisfying way. I’ll provide a list of essential mods to improve combat in Skyrim VR later in this article.
Skyrim VR Controls
Depending on what VR headset you are using, you may need to adjust the controls to get Skyrim VR working just as you want it. Thankfully, there are official controller mappings for most major VR headsets and a large collection of custom bindings that you can choose from.
My own experience of using the Quest 2 in Air Link mode was a seamless experience and the controls worked perfectly from the start. My HP Reverb G2 on the other hand caused a lot of frustration for some time until there were reliable custom controller bindings available. I can now play Skyrim VR easily without any issues on either of these headsets.
There are plenty of options to adjust the “comfort mode” settings for those more prone to motion sickness, and it is easy to switch between smooth turning and locomotion, and snap turning and teleportation movement.
Personally, I always prefer smooth turning and locomotion and have rarely if ever experienced any motion sickness when playing Skyrim VR, particularly after installing some mods to smooth out the rough edges of this otherwise excellent game.
Let’s face it, the default UI in Skyrim VR, particularly the inventory management system is terrible. It’s almost like the developers didn’t care about the VR port and just rushed this port out the door without giving it the love and attention it deserved.
Thankfully, there are a number of wonderful mods, such as SkyUI that dramatically improve the UI and inventory management system, making accessing the various options and managing your inventory a fairly pleasant experience.
Bethesda usually prices The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR at around $40, despite the fact that the base game is more than 10 years old. This seems a bit excessive, but the good news is that it is on sale at least a few times per year, so if you’re not sure about committing, you can keep an eye on the price to buy it when it is available for a discount.
I do take issue with the full-price status of Skyrim VR, as the VR port is not very well executed, and in my opinion, does not have the quality of a premium release. I would have been delighted to pay full price for a well-polished VR version of Skyrim, but it is only with considerable help from the modding community that we have ended up with a world-class VR RPG.
Is Skyrim VR The Full Game?
Skyrim VR contains the complete Skyrim experience, consisting of the core game, as well as the official add-ons, Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn. You can experience everything in Skyrim VR that you are able to experience in the flat screen version of Skyrim Special Edition.
Is Skyrim VR Just The Special Edition?
Skyrim VR is based on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, but it has been adapted to accommodate VR gameplay. You can only play Skyrim in VR with the VR edition.
Is Skyrim Better In VR?
The unmodded version of Skyrim VR is not as enjoyable as playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on a computer screen due to numerous issues that detract from the comfort and enjoyment of playing this game. However, once you install some mods to fix issues with the VR version, it becomes a much better game.
I enjoy playing RPGs to immerse myself in a world, story, and character. VR is a much better way to do this than playing a game on a flat monitor, and if you already have a VR headset, you will know exactly what I mean. If you don’t already have a VR headset, it is very difficult to describe the feeling of VR, and it really must be experienced.
If you are prepared to install a number of mods to fix some of the known issues with Skyrim VR then you will be rewarded by the most immersive and enjoyable version of Skyrim that I have ever played. Without mods, the VR version is not as good as regular Skyrim.
Is Skyrim VR On Oculus Quest 2?
You can only play Skyrim VR on Oculus Quest 2 if you connect to a VR-capable PC via the Link cable, Oculus Air Link, or other WiFi solution. You cannot play Skyrim VR in standalone mode as the Quest 2 does not have the sufficient processing power to run Skyrim VR.
What Mods Do You Need For Skyrim VR?
Whilst you don’t have to use any mods to play Skyrim VR, you can quickly and easily make Skyrim VR a much better game by installing some mods. Personally, I use a relatively small number of mods that fix all of the major issues and make the game look and play much better. If desired, you can spend hours or days installing hundreds of mods to completely customize the game.
If you want to get started modding Skyrim VR, follow the instructions in this article from Upload VR. Here is a list of the best mods I currently use for Skyrim VR.
- SKSEVR – The Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) is an essential tool that is used by many Skyrim mods to expand scripting capabilities and add additional functionality to the game.
- SkyUI VR – This mod revamps the user interface and inventory system, making it much easier to use.
- HIGGS VR – This mod will make your interactions in Skyrim VR feel much more realistic, as it provides hand/weapon collision, weapon two-handing, realistic object grabbing, and more.
- VRIK – VRIK will display the player character’s body in SkyrimVR and animate it to match your movements. You can draw and sheath weapons with natural gestures and can even bind actions to gestures on each hand, reducing the need to open menus.
- Onyx VR Weathers – This is a weather mod that creates more realistic weather conditions for Skyrim VR.
- Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch – This fixes a long list of known bugs with Skyrim VR.
- Static Mesh Improvement Mod (SMIM) – This mod greatly improves the appearance of countless static 3D models in Skyrim VR.
- MystiriousDawn’s HD Skyrim Overhaul – This creates beautiful photorealistic textures for landscapes, buildings, and scenery in Skyrim (over 148 textures).
- ELFX – Enhanced Lights and FX creates more dramatic and realistic lighting.
- Smilodon – Smilodon improves the combat experience by enhancing combat AI, adding mechanics such as timed blocking and attacks of opportunity, and making combat faster by increasing lethality. It is lightweight and uses minimal scripting.
- MageVR – This mod introduces VR-optimized actions that let you immersively use spells, weapons, potions, poisons, shouts, powers, realistic archery, and soul gems and pick locks all without accessing a menu.
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