When I laid hands on the first fantasy game that I had ever played, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I was immediately hooked. The open-world game was rich with lore and diverse regions to explore. Coupled with great soundtracks and well-designed ambience, Skyrim was able to draw players in with its deep immersion – only limited by its technological interfaces at that time. After all, despite its best efforts, players could only interact with the game through a mouse and keyboard, and see the expansive world only through a 2D screen. However, all this changes with the introduction of virtual reality.
For the first time, players were able to truly walk around and explore this world with new eyes. They could stand in the middle of a wide open plain and “look around” at the scenic views the game had become well known for.
Combat was enhanced in particular through the use of VR. Gone were the days of button mashing and remembering the keyboard shortcuts for combat. Now, players get to hold weapons and shields in their hands, or actually wield magic should they choose to. They now come face to face with their enemies and feel as though they are truly in battle – presented with a level of immersion impossible without VR.
However, intense immersion may come with a few drawbacks in such an immersive combat fantasy game. Experiences that were once far removed, may now actually feel “lived” by the player.
Draugr depicted in the image above, are zombie like creatures in the game. Imagine the scare players may experience when they feel like they are actually placed in the world. They go about minding their business and find themselves stumbling right into such a creature. Such experiences may feel much more vivid in VR, and game designers will have to take this into account.
Blade and Sorcery VR
Another VR game that I really like is Blade and Sorcery. Unlike the story and immersion centred Skyrim, Blade and Sorcery is a multi-player combat game that allows players to duke it out in an arena. While realistic combat is difficult to come by in games, Blade and Sorcery is at the top of its class in providing it. Combat and magic are realistic, and allows players to relive their childhood fantasies with its wide array of mods. Players can battle with lightsabers, or in medieval gear and with magic. The game also allows players to perform “trickshots” in combat, and have become an increasingly popular sub-goal in playing the game.
Despite its ability to bring realistic combat to the player, its visuals do seem clunky, and movement may not always be very natural. Players have complained of weird perspectives in game regarding their in-game limbs, which do break immersion for some players. Overall, it is an enjoyable game to play and sets the foundation for VR games of the future.