Virtual reality is an interesting business and one that has grown in unexpected ways over the past few years. Multiple companies have been putting out their own VR headsets, and even more, companies are trying to find a way to enter the business. Although VR has many practical uses, the biggest use of VR is arguably entertainment. With dedicated headsets like the PlayStation VR accessory, gamers from around the world are entering brand new realities that they never thought possible. With this newfound technology, it’s hard not to think of all the great games that could be made even better if they were able to be played in virtual reality. So, we’ve done just that. In our opinion, these are the top five games that really need a VR update.
What Remains of Edith Finch
This fantastic narrative-driven game was recently released on the PlayStation 4 and PC. In it, you control Edith Finch, the last surviving member in a family that seems plagued by the curse of death. She returns to her home, a tall and winding building, to finally find out if the family’s curse is real.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a perfect subject for a virtual reality mode for several reasons. First off, it’s what’s known as a walking simulator. In this genre of games, players don’t interact with their environment all that much. Instead of attacking enemies and shooting guns, they idly walk through the world and experience the narrative that unfolds. This would make for an easy VR experience that doesn’t require too much skill from the player. Additionally, the whole game involves experiencing various family members’ final moments. Each brief vignette is completely different from one another, often focusing on a different gameplay aspect and visual style. While some of these sequences might be a bit harder to adapt to virtual reality, I believe the result would be well worth it. As a side note, if you’ve yet to play What Remains of Edith Finch, I highly recommend you do so on your system of choice. It’s a fantastic indie game at a great price, and an experience you won’t forget soon.
Classic Arcade Light Gun Games
Technically, this entry is a bit of a cheat. If you were lucky enough to grow up during the golden age of arcades, you probably remember blasting away at enemies on screen in games like Area 51 and Police Trainer. This genre of arcade games is known as the on-rail shooter, and it’s a genre where VR has found a foothold. In fact, there are probably far more VR shooting galleries than games of any other type. Whether this is because they are easy to develop or have a high level of replayability, the fact remains the same. Shooting galleries are insanely popular for VR users.
Although we have several modern shooters that are fantastic in their own right, I think it would be a great boost of nostalgia to be able to play some of these arcade classics in a virtual space. There’s a literal treasure trove of classic arcade shooting games that could be adapted to the VR, and I’m sure every gamer has their own personal favorite. Whether it’s the creepy and violent CarnEvil by Midway, the massively popular Area 51, or a good old-fashioned game of Big Buck Hunter, the opportunities are endless.
Child of Eden
This on-rails rhythmic shooter is a perfect fit for VR. Released in 2011 and developed by Q? Entertainment, Child of Eden offers an intoxicating and immersive experience unlike anything else. The gameplay is similar to the VR game Rez, which was created by the same developer. You move through levels full of prismatic colors and odd crystal shapes, shooting at enemies to the beat of the music. The game was originally developed to be used with the Xbox 360 Kinect camera, so motion-based gameplay is already an inherent part of the design. The game is an incredible psychedelic journey with soothing electronic tunes to match the mood. I can only imagine what it would look like in virtual reality.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
People love Star Wars, that’s just a fact. For about as long as video games have existed, fans of the blockbuster sci-fi franchise have been eagerly awaiting the day that they can yield a lightsaber and realize their destiny as a Jedi. There have been many Star Wars games over the past few years, with some being more successful than others. Games like Star Wars Battlefront invite you into large-scale battles, while other classic games like Super Star Wars give you a more retro gameplay experience with familiar characters. Despite the large array of games that bear the Star Wars name, it seems like few have been able to deliver the true Star Wars fantasy. Cutting down droids and Imperial scum while using your own custom lightsaber is undoubtedly one of the purest forms of Star Wars excitement. What better place than the world of virtual reality to put fans directly into the shoes of a Jedi? When talking about a virtual reality Star Wars game, there are plenty of shoe-in contestants. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars Battlefront, and even Star Wars Rogue Squadron would make for fantastic VR experiences. However, I think that Star Wars the Force Unleashed is one of the few Star Wars games that prioritizes chaotic gameplay over anything else. There’s an insane amount of fun lightsaber tricks, force moves, and superhuman abilities that you can pull off while playing as Starkiller. Although the story focuses more on the dark side of the force than the Jedi, Star Wars the Force Unleashed delivers plenty of mayhem that would make it a breakneck adrenaline rush in virtual reality.
At its core, Bioshock is a franchise that takes players to incredible locations while simultaneously telling excellent stories. Although the games aren’t exactly horror games, there is a palpable tension in the atmosphere of the franchise. From the ruined underwater city of Rapture to the idyllic floating city of Columbia, the Bioshock franchise presents some wildly imaginative locales. You experience these locations from a first-person perspective, and fend off enemies using a variety of superpowers and guns. In fact, the original Bioshock seems to be a perfect fit for VR, as there is plenty of fantasy fulfillment around every turn. Bioshock gives you the ability to do amazing things like shoot lightning from your hands, direct swarms of angry bees, and narrowly survive deadly situations time and time again. This riveting gameplay is wrapped up in an amazing story that dips into the genres of psychological horror and macabre fantasy. It almost every way, Bioshock would excel as a VR experience. Imagine the stress of taking on an intimidating Big Daddy enemy in virtual reality, and then imagine the amazing feeling of accomplishment that would follow your victory. Bioshock is easily one of the most influential first-person shooters of the modern gaming age, and it’s a franchise that would fit perfectly in the realm of virtual reality.