What are the best VR games of 2018?

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So you’ve just bought a VR headset and you’re ready to play some games. The issue is that navigating the digital storefronts of the Oculus store, Steam VR or Playstation Store can be an overwhelming experience. The likes of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR have been on the market for less than two years, but in that relatively short space of time, the respective headsets have amassed a significant library of games. It’s a nice problem to have and it bodes well for the future of the medium, but which ones are worth playing today? Luckily, we’ve done the legwork and put together a list of must-play VR games, writes Krishan Sharma.

  • A note to HTC Vive owners – some of the titles on the list are exclusive to the Oculus Store, however, most of them can be played on the HTC Vive thanks to the Revive project. Likewise, SteamVR supports OpenVR-compatible headsets such as the Oculus Rift, which means you can play HTC Vive exclusive titles such as Fallout 4 VR and Doom VFR on the Oculus Rift.

Our test PC was powered by a GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card provided by Nvidia. So, what are the best VR games around right now?

SuperHot VR

Don’t be fooled by its simplistic visuals, SuperHot is a game that every VR owner needs to experience. SuperHot drops you into one action movie scene after another where gunfights are bullet ballets as you physically dodge attacks from bad guys with a simple but ingenious twist: time only moves when you do. The slow-down mechanic gives the game a tactical edge as you quickly scan the environment for props to help you clear out a room. It’s gaming’s best recreation of being in the Matrix complete with controls that give you immediate, satisfying and visceral feedback. Don’t miss it.

  • Available on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR

The Climb

‘The Climb’ by Crytek shows just how thrilling virtual rock climbing can be. The Climb puts you in some of the most exotic locations in the world all rendered in stunning detail while the Oculus Touch controllers accurately mimic your hand movements as you reach and grab onto ledges of the mountain face. It all makes for an immersive and tense experience. The only downside is that you’re likely to be sore after every play session.

  • Exclusive to Oculus Rift

Chronos

Chronos is an atmospheric third-person action-RPG that will have you exploring a beautiful and intricately connected fantasy world. Chronos’s third-person camera frames a series of rooms, corridors and ancient ruins from fixed positions, quietly pulling you into the scope of its environment as you control your hero around smartly designed environments. It uses VR in subtle but clever ways to transport you to its game world without physically taxing the user, making Chronos an ideal candidate for long play sessions.

The bulk of the gameplay revolves around combat encounters and character levelling. The fights are tough but satisfying and the twist here is that when you do fall against an enemy, the protagonist ages by a single year. As your character grows older, their bodily strength matters less as their magical prowess takes over, which keeps things feeling fresh. Chronos is one of the earliest VR titles and the fact that it still stands tall as one of the deepest games available on the platform is a testament to its quality.

  • Exclusive to Oculus Rift

Robo Recall

Robo Recall is an adrenaline pumping and graphically impressive VR first-person shooter packed with plenty of personality and funny one-liners. The aim of the game is to rack up high scores by dispatching robot enemies in a variety of ways. The head tracking is put to good use with waves of robots coming through from all angles including airborne death bots. But Robot Recall’s use of hand tracking is what propels the game to the next level. Robot enemies can be picked up and thrown in the air (and juggled in the air with gunfire should you be so inclined) or used as shields, incoming fire can be grabbed and hurled back at enemies and robot limbs can be teared off. No matter how silly it gets, you feel like you’re right in there.

In short, Robo Recall is an almost perfect VR arcade experience that offers up a level of polish not often found in other VR games. What’s more it comes included for free with the purchase of Oculus Rift Touch controllers.

  • Exclusive to Oculus Rift

ARKTIKA.1

ARKTIKA.1 is a dark and atmospheric VR first-person shooter that boasts some of the most impressive visuals seen in VR to date. Those good looks are backed up by very satisfying gunplay, a clever teleport mechanic that gives you more options in the heat of battle and an arsenal of customisable weaponry with which to dispatch your enemies. Like SuperHot VR, this game will have you physically ducking and hiding around corners to land a decisive headshot so make sure you have adequate space in your living room before firing this title up.

  • Exclusive to Oculus Rift

Lucky’s Tale

Lucky’s Tale is proof that VR can breathe new life into existing genres. On the surface, Lucky’s Tale might seem like a by the numbers 3D platformer but playing it in VR adds a whole new dimension to the game. Instead of using thumbsticks, the third-person camera is manipulated by moving your head, which lets you peek at more of the level as you move your character along. It sounds gimmicky, but it actually adds an exploration element as you tilt your head to find the many secrets hidden within each level. The way forward is always obvious, but alternate routes and distractions less so and the game rewards you for finding them with special prizes upon discovery.

Lucky’s Tale is a great way to ease yourself into VR and is also free for Oculus Rift owners.

  • Exclusive to Oculus Rift

BlazeRush

BlazeRush is a joy to play and a great example of third-person VR done right. It’s a perfect mix of addictive pick-up and play gameplay, great graphics, near perfect stereo 3D and VR menus done right that you will stay inside your headset for many hours happily racing miniature cars around a multitude of interesting and fun environments. The game is so convincing in its VR execution that you’ll feel as though you can nearly reach out and pick up the miniature cars off the track.

  • Available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PSVR

SuperHyperCube

SuperHyperCube is, in essence, the virtual reality version of Tetris. Easy to play but difficult to put down, this is a VR game that will keep you coming back for more.

  • Available on HTC Vive and PSVR

Resident Evil 7 VR

The latest chapter in the much lauded survival horror franchise was released last year to much critical acclaim, but VR takes the sense of immersion to a whole new level, making Resident Evil 7 the most terrifying VR experience to date.

A word of warning: this is not for the faint of heart and if you’re not a fan of jump scares then we would suggest that you steer well clear of this one. Those with strong stomachs should check this one out right away.

The VR version is a free update to anyone who owns RE7 on Playstation 4 which is a nice touch. Currently the VR version of RE7 is exclusive to Playstation VR for one year so it might just make its way to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive at some point in the near future.

  • Exclusive to PSVR

Lone Echo/Echo Arena

Lone Echo is the game that will truly make you feel as though you’re in space, an experience only made possible with the power of virtual reality. The sense of movement which is something that is particularly tricky to nail in VR feels utterly convincing and Lone Echo’s well-acted story and interesting environments move at a slow enough pace that you can soak it all in and feel the sensation of virtual weightlessness.

Once you’re done with the single player campaign, there’s the competitive multiplayer affair of Echo Arena that will keep you coming back again and again.

  • Exclusive to Oculus Rift

Job Simulator

Job Simulator has long been a VR favourite with its hilarious take on a world where robots have replaced all human jobs. Stepping into Job Simulator, players can relive the glory days of work by simulating the ins and outs of being a gourmet chef, an office worker, a convenience store clerk and a mechanic, each seasoned with a uniquely sardonic twist. Job Simulator was one of the earliest games to sell users on VR and it still stands as one of the best implementations of VR available on the platform.

  • Available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PSVR

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality

Fans of the Rick and Morty TV show should definitely pick up this one. Brought to you by the makers of the aforementioned Job Simulator, it boasts the same enjoyable mechanics of combining objects in your environment to solve puzzles and the razor-sharp wit that makes Job Simulator such an enjoyable experience, but it’s made even better thanks to Rick and Morty’s irreverent brand of humour.

  • Available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PSVR

Project Cars 2

My previous favourite VR racing simulator game, Dirt Rally, has finally been knocked off its lofty perch by none other than Project Cars 2. The photorealistic graphics, spot-on head and hand tracking that accurately mimics your steering animation, and a top notch spatial audio implementation, makes Project Cars 2 a VR showcase. Couple the VR headset with a gaming steering wheel and you have VR racing nirvana. Racing sim fans should not miss out on this one.

  • Available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

Rez Infinite

Originally released all the way back in 2001 on Dreamcast and Playstation 2, Rez Infinite is right at home on VR and is the definitive way to play this classic rhythm game. If you were a fan of the original or enjoy music rhythm-based games in general, you owe it to yourself to give Rez Infinite a try.

  • Available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PSVR

Thumper

Like Rez Infinite, Thumper is a game that was intriguing on a flat screen, but it is simply captivating in VR. The sense of speed and physicality you get as you zip through psychedelic surroundings with an original pumping soundtrack that syncs perfectly with the gameplay is something special. Whether you’re fan of music rhythm games or not, Thumper on VR will pull you right in.

  • Available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PSVR

Sairento VR

Sairento is a mission driven VR action role-play game set in a reimagined Japan in the near future with a deep combat system that involves guns, swords and slow motion that all work extremely well in VR. But what makes Sairento stand out is its twist on locomotion.

You string together leaps in slow motion allowing you to wall-jump, double-jump and somersault your way in mid-air around the levels while fending off waves of enemies. The feeling of verticality you get is unlike anything we’ve experienced in VR so far and it’s the closest we’ve come to feeling like a ninja. Needless to say, a third sensor is almost mandatory if you intend on playing on the Oculus Rift as the game takes full advantage of room-scale.

  • Available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

There you have it – we hope you enjoyed our review of the best VR games on the market. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to get in touch.

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