There are a few ways you can play Skyrim in VR, but which one is best?

Skyrim VR, available on PlayStation VR, is getting a lot of attention due to the scale and overall gameplay it's brought to the 3D gaming world. For some, Skyrim in VR might already be familiar. There are, in fact, a few different ways you can experience the world of dragons and snow in VR. Which one is most worth your time? Let's compare!

PlayStation VR

Skyrim VR in PSVR

Skyrim VR, which was released November 11 on PSVR, offers a complete package that's easy to set up. The PSVR itself doesn't take much effort to get working — you plug in a few cables and a camera — and then all that's left is to install the game the hit play. That's a big bonus for a lot of people who don't want to mess with third-party programs on PC in order to experience Skyrim in VR.

Total cost of Skyrim VR

To calculate the total cost of Skyrim VR on PSVR, let's assume you're starting with nothing.

PSVR Skyrim bundle: Starting at about $540.

PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB: Starting at about $285.

That's a total startup cost of about $825. If you already have a PS4 and PSVR, you'll only be paying about $60 for the game. Not bad, but what's the experience like?

What's Skyrim VR actually like?

Skyrim VR in PSVR

Skyrim VR on PSVR is a complete package; you're getting all DLCs, including Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn. If you've played through Skyrim on PC or console, there's nothing new when it comes to content and storyline.

The PSVR headset is comfortable to wear and doesn't have much of a screen-door effect, but the graphics, powered by my standard PS4, really aren't anything to write home about. There's a lot of popping in when you're roaming the countryside, and there are plenty of artifacts floating around where they shouldn't be.

The PS Move controllers are Skyrim VR's weakest point. While both teleportation and smooth locomotion are available (you can change settings in the menu), tracking can be troublesome and the button layout takes some getting used to.

Bottom line: Compared to other ways to experience Skyrim in VR, the PSVR version is relatively cheap and easy to set up. Graphics aren't the best, and the PS Move controllers can be a pain, but they do let you swing weapons.

See our review of Skyrim VR

VorpX and HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Windows Mixed Reality

Skyrim in Windows Mixed Reality using VorpX

The first time we experienced Skyrim in VR was on PC by using VorpX and an HTC Vive. It's also possible to work this method with Oculus Rift or Windows Mixed Reality (WMR), which we've also tested.

Setting everything up takes more time than with Skyrim VR on PSVR. If you're using a Vive, you have to set up two lighthouse motion sensors in your room, install SteamVR, and go through a few setup steps. Likewise, with a Rift you're looking at setting up a few sensors just right and working through a few other software setup steps. Following that, you're still looking at getting VorpX working; it's not difficult, but it can be a bit finicky.

VorpX is amazing for playing non-VR games in VR

Total cost of Skyrim on Oculus Rift/HTC Vive/Windows Mixed Reality

The cost of getting Skyrim working on a PC in VR is quite a bit more than PSVR if you're starting with nothing.

VR-capable PC: Starting at about $700.

HTC Vive: Starting at about $600.

Oculus Rift and Touch: Starting at about $400.

Windows Mixed Reality: Starting at about $400.

Skyrim Special Edition: Starting at about $40.

VorpX: Starting at about $40.

Starting with nothing, you're looking at about $1,380 for an HTC Vive setup and about $1,180 for a Rift or WMR setup. Sure, you might be able to find a PC for a lot cheaper, which would bring the cost down. If you already have a Vive, Rift, or WMR and a PC to power it, you can start playing Skyrim in VR for about $80.

What's Skyrim using VorpX actually like?

The first thing you notice when jumping into Skyrim with VorpX is how much cleaner it looks. We're using Skyrim Special Edition so graphics have been improved right off the bat, plus there is no issue with our PC running it at its full potential.

Because we're taking a non-VR game and making it VR-capable with VorpX, there are understandably quite a few small tweaks that must be made to get it all just right. Your hands seem enormous, controls aren't quite snappy, and your view might be a bit obscured. To get the view right, VorpX has an auto-scan feature that takes only a few seconds. The menus you'll have to tweak yourself, as they're pretty much unreadable by default unless you zoom back a bit.

You'll also have to deal with the controls yourself, and if you're using WMR, your motion controllers will show up as Vive controllers. There isn't the same type of true movement as you get with Skyrim VR — swinging a controller won't swing an axe — but you can see the controllers in-game and they are labeled with whatever way you map the buttons.

One of the biggest advantages with Skyrim on PC is that you can use the wide selection of mods as long as your PC can handle the load. You can also step back into third-person view to see your character or to play full time, which isn't possible with the PSVR version.

Bottom line: Skyrim on PC using VorpX with HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or WMR is a great way to play thanks to sharp graphics, but it does take quite a bit of setting up and tweaking to get right. It's also quite a bit more expensive when starting with nothing.

PC and Trinus PSVR

PC and Trinus PSVR

This one is a bit different than the others. If you have a PSVR and a PC, you can technically use your headset as a display by using Trinus PSVR and VorpX. While SteamVR games work natively with Trinus PSVR when it comes to a 3D stereoscopic view (what we expect from true VR), using something like Skyrim that isn't natively 3D requires more software, like VorpX.

This is by far the most complicated way to see Skyrim in VR, due to having to set up and configure both Trinus PSVR and VorpX. Once you have Trinus PSVR working and your PC thinks the PSVR headset is an HTC Vive, you can use VorpX as you usually would.

Setting up PS Move controllers to work with your PC and Trinus PSVR is an entirely other issue that's time consuming, often frustrating, and arguably not worth the time or cost. If you're going this route, you'll likely end up back with a gamepad or keyboard and mouse while using the PSVR headset.

How to connect PlayStation VR to your PC

Total cost of Skyrim on PC with PSVR

Going this route is relatively costly for what it offers, but it's still a viable option. We will assume that you're opting to forego the PS Move controller setup.

VR-capable PC: Starting at about $500.

PSVR headset: Starting at about $280.

Skyrim Special Edition: Starting at about $40.

VorpX: Starting at about $40.

Trinus PSVR: Free trial.

For a PC, $500 is a middle area. You can no doubt build something yourself for less, and there are far more expensive options out there. With this in mind, we're looking at a total cost of about $860 to get Skyrim running on PSVR through a PC. If you already have a PC you suspect might be powerful enough to run everything, the cost comes down to about $360.

What's Skyrim on PC through PSVR actually like?

This experience is very much similar to playing through Vive, Rift, or WMR, except there are more hoops to jump through because of Trinus PSVR. It's a wonderful tool, but it does take some time to set up and get right.

All the same VorpX tweaking as with the other headsets is required here, and since the Move controllers are (likely) off the table, you're using a keyboard and mouse or gamepad.

Bottom line: Strictly speaking Skyrim, you're better off buying the PS4 version of the game and playing it there. Move controllers work without all the hassle and you have to go through far less tweaking to get a workable game.

Wrapping up

After testing all three methods, it's clear that Skyrim VR for PSVR is the cheapest and easiest to set up and deal with in the long run. However, it is hindered by blurry graphics. The PS Move controllers aren't the greatest, but swinging in real life and seeing your weapon come down is a thrill.

Skyrim on PC using VorpX is a solid option, whether for Vive, Rift, or WMR, but it is an expensive route and you'll have to deal with a lot of tweaking to get things right. Your motion controllers, while appearing in the game, simply simulate a gamepad.

Skyrim on PC through PSVR was our least favorite way to play, as it took the most setup and wasn't really more special than using the other PC headsets. However, it remains a viable option to try out for anyone who has a PSVR and PC kicking around.

Have you tried Skyrim in any sort of VR way? What were your impressions? Are you interested in getting this aging game working in 3D? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section!

PlayStation VR


PlayStation VR


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