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What Are the Best VR Games?

Virtual reality (VR), or “Spatial Computing,” was sci-fi fantasy decades ago but is now reality. According to eMarketer, about 17.7% of the US population owns a VR headset.  Almost every tech company has their own iterations. Apple’s Vision Pro just came out at the “cheap” price of $3500, and Facebook changed its name to Meta to focus mainly on VR. With VR tech improving year by year, VR is becoming mainstream.

The main usage of VR headsets currently is video games.  Personally, I spend a good amount of time on my Quest headset. I played some games on standalone (in the headset) and some on Windows PCVR (on a computer or console and are projected onto the headset via cable/WiFi).  

Here are some of my favorites by genre. 

First Person Shooter Games

Half-Life: Alyx on Windows. Credit: J. Chen and Valve Corporation.

Half-Life: Alyx (Best FPS):

Deemed the best VR game by many, I had high expectations and was not disappointed. Set between Half Life 1 and Half Life 2, you play as Alyx Vance as she fights against the Combine, an intergalactical empire that took over Earth. Upon release in 2020, this game received critical acclaim. (Available on PCVR for $59.99)

This single player campaign has unusually great dialogue; the old man and Alyx’s chat over the walkie talkie is wholesome and humorous. The game is really beautiful and the opening scene of the distant Combine tower in dystopian Bulgaria shows how stunning VR can be.  Everything from head crabs to the Combine soldiers translates perfectly from the flat screen to 3D. If you have a VR headset, this is a must-play, as this game is the only one that has the top-notch quality of a triple-A title.

A player on standalone Quest. Credit: J. Chen and Skydance Interactive.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners (Runner Up):

Saints & Sinners is one of the best First Person Shooters (FPS) on VR. This single player campaign is set in a cartoonish, zombie-infested New Orleans, where you play as “the Tourists.” (Available on PCVR, Playstation, Quest for $39.99)

Lots of small things immerse the player in the world of “The Walking Dead.” For example, if you stab zombies or people, the knife gets stuck and you have to wiggle your hand to free your knife. The game has a decent plot and I got invested. If you want to slay zombies like you’re in the TV Show The Walking Dead, you’ll like this game. 


Rhythm Games

BeatSaber on standalone Quest. Credit: J. Chen and Beat Games.

From Guitar Hero to Geometry Dash, rhythm games have adapted to the evolution of technology well.

BeatSaber (Best Rhythm): 

Who knew slicing blocks with a lightsaber to songs would be so fun? This game is what people imagine when “VR” comes up, and for good reason: it’s addicting. (Available on PCVR, Playstation, Quest for $29.99)

This game is hard to master, yet it is simple and beginner friendly. Someone who has never touched a VR headset can play this game right out of the gate. One downside of this game is setting it up. Because the official version of BeatSaber has a limited library and requires money to purchase custom songs, this game has to be modded for custom songs, which can take a while.

Fitness Games

Fitness is another common use of VR next to gaming. VR can be a great way to get some cardio in and spice up your workout.

Thrill of Fight on standalone Quest. Credit: J. Chen and Sealost Interactive LLC.

Thrill of Fight (Best Fitness): 

Thrill of Fight (2016) is a really old game that has stood the test of time. It is a simple boxing simulator. (available on PCVR, Quest for 9.99)

The haptic feedback from your controllers when you punch your opponent make the game work. Moving around on your toes and punching the air as hard as you can can be fun, and it’s an incredible workout that will leave you out of breath. Though there are other boxing games like Creed: Rise to Glory that have multiplayer, the mechanics of that game are weird. There is a sequel in the works for Thrill of Fight which will add multiplayer, so I’m looking forward to that. 

Les Mills Body Combat (Runner Up): 

Released in 2022, this game uses the patented fitness method, Les Mills, and turned it into a workout game in VR. (available on Quest and Playstation for $29.99)

If you want a more structured workout, you might want to try out Les Mills Body Combat. You punch targets as hard as you can and dodge obstacles while virtual coaches cheer you on. This game is almost identical to BeatSaber in terms of gameplay, and the mechanics are the same as Thrill of Fight. Most other fitness apps, like FitXR and Supernatural, are subscription based while this app is a one-time purchase with an optional subscription for more content.

Horror Games

Phasmophobia on Windows. Credit: J. Chen and Kinetic Games.

Horror games I believe benefit the most from VR, as the immersiveness makes any horror game 10x more creepy. 

Phasmophobia (Best Horror):

Your job in the game is to survive and identify what type of ghost haunts a house by observing behavior or interacting with the ghost. (Available in PCVR , soon on Playstation $13.99)

Phasmophobia might be confusing at first, but once you have basic knowledge, you’ll be having fun with friends in no time. Phasmophobia is cross platform, meaning a VR player can play with PC players and vice versa. This game is scary, and I’ll never forget when I was picking up my flashlight in a solo game and turning around to see a fleshy demon in my face; I almost had a heart attack. 

Propagation: Paradise Hotel (Runner Up): 

Released on May 4, 2023, this game is one of the newer games on this list. Having a similar vibe to Resident Evil, you play as Emily, trapped in a zombie infested hotel as you try to escape and find your twin sister, Ashley. (Available on PCVR, Playstation, Quest for $19.99)

This single player campaign has a creepy atmosphere and contains lots of jump scares. The graphics are great, which makes fleshy zombies running towards you even more terrifying. The gameplay is really short as it takes 3-5 hours to complete, which is really short for $15. Also, some people complain about the voice acting, but personally I did not mind it.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Chen, Writer

Jonathan Chen ('24) is a writer for the Arts and Entertainment section of the Skyline Post. Jonathan spends his free time playing VR games, lying on his couch and playing jazz music.

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