Sure, “awesomer” isn’t actually a word, but I’m wild like that, and if you think I’ma be restrained by, like, commonly accepted rules of spelling and grammar, youse be cray-cray. Also, I already used it in my Games that could be Awesome(er) With Live Action Episodes piece, and so far I’ve not been hauled off to Grammar prison, so let’s stick with it for now, eh!?
Anyways, having recently played Resident Evil 7 in Virtual Reality – and having really fucking loved it – it got me thinking about how other games I’ve played would’ve fared had they been in VR too. One of the really cool things about RE 7 was that the VR option came bundled in with the game (it’s an option that can be turned on or off, and doesn’t require a different VR-specific purchase) so that would indicate there’s the possibility of having the “option” thing with other titles, right!? I mean, I’m not a developer, and I’d have to at least double my IQ to even stand a chance of understanding programming, but it seems like Capcom figured it all out, so I’m going to run with the idea anyway. I imagine there are limitations (for example, I suspect Resident Evil 7’s relatively small setting helped make the VR thing possible) but let’s, you know, abandon reality and whatnot, and go to fucking town. Basically, any game’s a contender, regardless of its size, and not necessarily limiting it to 1st person games either.
Wolfenstein: The New Order/The Old Blood
In many ways, I think the Wolfensteins are great contenders for VR, and (my non-understanding of programming notwithstanding) I think they’re already pretty great contenders as is. Their setting, general FPS-eyness, and mechanics are such that they’d fit right into the VR genre, and playing as a dual-wielding, Nazi shooting BJ Blazkowicz would be an awesome Virtual Reality experience (I seem to spend a lot of time just looking at my gun in VR). The oppressive Superconcrete of the Wolfensteins’ alternative history was already a big feature of the games, and utilising VR to accentuate the oppression and claustrophobia of that world would seem like a no-brainer to me. Also, sneaking up behind a massive mechanised Nazi boss and ripping out its hydraulics would be a truly awesome experience in VR.
I don’t dislike stealth games, but I do often find myself getting frustrated with how, sometimes, the technical/visual limitations of 1st person, 2D gaming end up getting me very fucking dead. In RE 7 there are a couple of hide-y bits, and I was struck by how much more intuitive and do-able stealth stuff is when you’ve got a full, 3D rendering of a world to work with, and when, for example, you can actually see if your arse is sticking out in full view of the enemy. As such, I think Alien: Isolation would be a great VR experience, both in terms of the aforementioned intuitiveness, and because the whole experience would be so much more thrilling/terrifying in full VR. I’ve been meaning to return to Alien: Isolation for a while now (if you’re interested, Shelby’s giving it a go right now!), and if there was a VR option, I’d be all over that like….well, like a face-hugger on a face. And not least because being able to run in one direction and look over your shoulder in the other would be a huge fucking bonus!
Generally speaking, VR has great potential for FPS games, so you could pick any number of Triple-A Shooters that would work really well here, but I’ma go with Battlefield 1 – for a few reasons. First of all, there’s a decent amount of variety in the Gameplay, including some stealthy stuff, and in particular, some vehicular action which would be pretty cool in VR. The tank stuff would be great in it because it would really emphasise a lot of the feelings of being trapped in a metal box, and the plane bits would be genuinely breathtaking too. Elsewhere, playing in VR would accentuate the general grimness of trench Warfare, I think, and – conversely – in the desert section, it would provide a real sense of the vastness of the rolling dunes and barren rocks. The opening sequence alone would be spectacular, and it’d be even more affecting in Virtual Reality. Plus, on a personal note, I’m a lot less shite at shooting stuff in VR, so that’d be something of a bonus too……
The Titanfall games are a great blend of FPS action and mechanised FPS action, and would therefore be excellent in VR, I think. Having played the demo of RIGS, I was struck by how much potential the whole mech thing has in Virtual Reality, and stomping around in a fully-realised, 3D Titan would be the shiznizz. Even the bits where you’re on foot would be spectacular, and all the wall-running shenanigans would take on an extra degree of coolness if it felt like you were actually doing it. It might be a tad nauseating, admittedly, but what’s a little vomming when weighed against being a gravity-defying Pilot with a mechanised Robot buddy, eh!?
Metro 2033/Last Light
In many ways, the Metro games are very Resident Evil-ey anyway, given their blending of Survival Horror and Shooty-Shooty stuff, and I think they’d make excellent VR games as a result. Again, there’s an impressive and absorbing narrative that’d be enhanced by the immersion inherent within VR, a palpable sense of darkness given the subterranean setting and – much like RE 7 – the feelings of foreboding and fear at what might be lurking in the darkness would be superb – a shit-your-pants kind of superb admittedly, but superb nonetheless. The Metro games also have some great Stealthy sections too, and they’d be really, really cool with the added up-close-and-personal elements that VR facilitates. Also, throwing knives would be as awesome as all the Batarang stuff was in Batman Arkham VR, so that’s your hard sell right there!
The Last of Us
Ok, it’s not 1st person, but let’s say it was, and let’s imagine how fucking fantastic being bodily in that world would be. I mean, it’d be really fucking fantastic, right!? Again, one of the things that struck me about RE 7 in VR was that pretty much everything just feels more absorbing and atmospheric when you’re actually “in” a Gaming world, and The Last of Us world was hugely compelling and emotive anyways. In VR, that’d all be turned up to 11, and I think it’d be one of the most astounding Gaming experiences ever. Whether you’re creeping past the horrific Clickers, taking on a gang of Hunters, or just VR-ing the genuinely poignant moments between Ellie and Joel, it really would be something quite special. And, given Naughty Dog seem keen on remastering the game for (any and all) new capabilities, it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities either……
Life is Strange
Again, not 1st person but worth a shout anyways. I positively adored Life is Strange, and not least because it had an almost supernatural ability to generate real, proper feelz; and because Arcadia Bay came to feel like a living, breathing place. LiS is a proper “Interactive Narrative Experience”, and Dontnod lovingly crafted a genuinely poignant and absorbing tale about love, loss, and the human condition; and they filled it with an array of sympathetic and complex characters. Even now, almost a year after playing it, it still gives me a weird, goosebumpey feeling thinking about it, and I imagine it would be a world and story that’d positively shine if there was that added som’thin-som’thin that VR can provide. Actually being in Max’s shoes, in Chloe’s bedroom….just wow! Of course you’d have to work out how to use the VR headset whilst it was filling up with your tears, but still……
I imagine the size of the last few Fallouts would be problematic for VR, but we’re not bothering with real-world limitations remember, so I’ma definitely include them here. I was mahoosively invested in the Fallouts anyway, almost certainly to the point of obsession, and that’d be so much more of a thing in VR. In a lot of ways, The Fallouts are similar to RE 7 aesthetically, and when I was playing the latter, I couldn’t help but make the connection. Creeping through VR subway tunnels, using VATS on fully-realised 3D ghouls, actually physically picking locks, and – in the case of Fallout 4 – being able to hold and see a weapon you’d pimped out yourself, or survey the apartment block you’d just lovingly crafted would all be mind-blowingly phenomenal experiences. Sure, I’d probably need professional help and/or be the subject of an intervention at some point, but honestly, it’d totally be a price worth paying!
And there’s my list, for now anyways. I’m sure I’ll think of more at some point, and there’ll be plenty of games I haven’t played that would be great in VR too, but if you’re reading Bethesda, can you please get on the Fallout in VR shit, please? Cheers.
Have I missed any blindingly obvious VR contenders? Am I talking out of my arse with any of the ones I’ve included? Feel free to make (non-anatomically-implausible) suggestions in the comments below…..