Analysis of The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim – VR. All roads lead to Skyrim

Elder Scrolls
Written by Kamran Haider

We thought that there was nowhere left where Skyrim could launch, but we were wrong: virtual reality remained. We plunged once more into the most prolific province of all of Tamriel to verify that such works the Bethesda adaptation to the VR. We tell you everything in our analysis.

When I received my Oculus Rift, one of the first things I did as soon as I installed them was to test how Skyrim would be in virtual reality, with a small homemade patch that gave you the opportunity to try it. I had already been warned that the experience would not be pleasant at all. When a game is not ready for VR, it usually causes dizziness, at least. But it did not matter, it is inevitable that one of the greatest curiosities is to immerse yourself in the universe created by Bethesda and that is the important thing: we all wanted to try it at any price.

Obviously, the price was terrible dizziness and the learning that virtual reality is formed and shaped by experiences completely created with it in mind. It was not going to be as easy as pressing a button. In fact, a few years have passed since that test until we have had the opportunity to return to this video game created, now, by the developer itself. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now a virtual reality game, but some of what we learned from those who are entering early VR is still inherent in it.

To begin with, along the way we soon realized that the horizontal camera axis was prone to nausea and to a lesser extent, the Z-axis, which allows us to move forward. During all this time, the games have been debated in allowing freedom of movement or using small teleports to avoid displacement. But by eliminating this displacement, we also lose realism. What does Skyrim VR use? All the options available and for having, leaving the player to choose which one he feels most comfortable with.

Thus, we can move freely with the sticks, give small instantaneous jumps or eliminate the horizontal panning of the camera creating quick 45-degree turns to eliminate motion sickness. All this within two types of controls: the own Dualshock 4 of PS4 , that turns the game into practically the same experience as the original adventure, with the peculiarity of seeing you submerged through the helmet; or the Move, who try to adapt themselves to the wide range of menus of the game, to allow control by movement of our weapons and spells.

Two controls, a new reality

After trying all the styles in PS VR, the configuration with which I have felt more comfortable is by far the Dualshock 4 and the free movement or, at most, with the displacement in 45 degrees. The PlayStation Move is definitely more spectacular because you can cast spells while moving your hands with energy and the first arrows that you throw with your bow are really spectacular, imitating very well the real movement of this weapon. The swords and other weapons are not so ideal, because not only can you get tired, but the attacks feel ridiculous, waving your arms as if you had a stick in front of you, or any object without any weight.

In addition, using this type of control supposes a sacrifice for the rest of the actions, since we lose the analog sticks in the process. Learning to move using the Move button and the other buttons to turn the camera and navigate the menus is a process that, although it can be tamed, is very unorganized, creating a coarse, slow and imprecise experience. Mastering the movement to go forward or backward, run, go stealth and move the camera cost too much effort compared to the Dualshock 4 and, although in relaxed moments can be tolerated, in full combat becomes boredom. Let’s not talk about diving anymore, where the tutorial tells you to insert your head “under the water” and shake your arms, which usually ends up in positioning errors of the camera or, directly, not interpreting your actions.

Thus, the Dualshock 4, while not as spectacular as casting spells from our own hands, seems a more decent solution, which balances the benefits of the original version with that of virtual reality. Still having some clumsiness, when collecting objects from the ground, for example, but it is much faster and more precise and has very well implemented improvements, such as the ability to point with a glance when using the bow and spells, which feel very natural and where the peephole helps more than the option with motion sensors.

It’s spectacular to cast spells while moving your hands, and the first arrows you throw with your bow, with PS Move.

At the moment, the only version is the one released for PlayStation 4. An HTC Vive version has been announced in the future, while Oculus Rift users will most likely be left without it since Bethesda and Oculus are not very close friends. The one created for the PlayStation VR has seen reduced graphic quality compared to the Special Edition, so the beauty of Skyrim becomes somewhat smaller and provided with numerous saw teeth and somewhat blurred textures that seem more to be able to examine them so closely through the virtual reality glasses. It resembles the original Xbox 360 and PS3, but with longer loading times, of course. The volumetric illumination of special edition and quite a distance of drawing is lost, which causes that in the middle distance we see vegetation, shadows and the rest of the stage detail reality


Even so, the visual part is the most understandable and each one must weigh how much of Skyrim’s beauty he is willing to sacrifice. The result in general lines is notorious, but Bethesda could have made many changes with some dedication that was more comfortable for this version, since some actions and, above all, navigation through the menus, to be exactly the same as in the version original, it is not so comfortable for a VR experience, especially with the PlayStation Move in your hands

Yes, some details have been taken care of, such as changing the interface to the lower area in order to better consult the compass and the life, health and stamina bars, and it is also noted that Bethesda has studied well the behavior of players in these virtual environments, applying filters of image for the moments in which we are in movements, that help (and a lot) to not get dizzy at any moment, although the most prone to it will continue having to make numerous breaks.

Something more tricky is the issue of the price and the edition itself. Normally I do not usually comment much on the price , but The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim VR surprises with a launch to 70 euros in the store of PS4 for a game that has its base in the previous generation, of which neither its Special Edition in the present nor in its edition of Switch has reached this figure. Thus, it resembles the tendency of many of the VR games that it seems that, simply because of this aspect, they must cost more. A patch (although out of payment) for the Special Edition or a combined edition with the normal one without VR would have been much more logical, especially considering that many VR users may have already bought Skyrim once or twice at least throughout all these years.

In conclusion, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR is an experience for virtual reality more than curious and that, along with Resident Evil 7, is the most adjusted to the traditional game. However, unlike the latter, Bethesda could have adjusted much more this edition with better menus and a more organic control for the PlayStation Move, while the experience with the Dualshock 4 is more comfortable, but also more traditional. If you are a PlayStation VR, definitely Skyrim is more than an “experience”, one that allows you to see your universe from a new perspective, but the more you try to adapt to virtual reality, the more things are left on the way.

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Skyrim VR is an experience that for many may not go beyond mere curiosity. With a Dualshock 4 it is comfortable, but traditional. With the Move, it becomes immersive but cumbersome. A conversion that does not find its middle ground, because it was not originally conceived for virtual reality, but it can be attractive to the most enthusiastic of VR.

  • Extensive control and comfort options for all tastes.
  • Being in Skyrim in the first person, really.
  • The control with the PlayStation Move is uncomfortable in the movement and tedious in the menus.
  • The visual section suffers to be able to adapt to the VR.

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Kamran Haider

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