As December falls, we can only scratch our heads over the madness that has been 2020. But, we’d much rather scratch off the drama of the world and leave it in the crosshairs entirely. If only for a moment. In fact, we’d much rather narrow our vision on to the more wondrous world of VR entertainment. And let me tell you, we’ve seen some outstanding performances these past eleven months. And not just virtually, either.
It takes a great deal to go above and beyond the standard marker in mainstream gaming. Making money and smashing the boundaries isn’t something done with ease; especially when developers face such tough competition. But, these select few (ten to be exact) have proved themselves as more than capable of wearing the VR crown this year. Despite barely scratching the surface on some cross-platform titles, these VR kingpins have still managed to accrue a minimum of a million dollars plus in revenue.
Sure, Red Dead Redemption 2 might’ve made $725 million on its opening weekend — but that’s beside the point. When it comes to VR, these developers truly have created magnificent works that any hardcore virtual-reality fan can be proud of. So, without further ado, let’s feast our eyes on this year’s favourites.
10. Firewall: Zero Hour (PS4)
Coming in at number ten is the PSVR-exclusive smash-hit, Firewall: Zero Hour. With its relatively basic, but surprisingly lengthy variation of playable contracts, Firewall allows players to dive into online battles and fight to complete goals and earn the local currency, “Crypto”, in order to purchase better loadouts pre-game. And, while that may seem somewhat cliché of a shoot-and-loot action extravaganza; Firewall: Zero Hour gift wraps all the little things that we adore and places them into one elegant VR package that offers countless replays.
9. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (PS4, Windows)
Even after nine years since its initial release, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is still on the mind of every RPG fan from San Francisco to Tokyo. With its immersive world filled with wonders, powerful narrative and roots, and, of course, enough dragon slaying to satisfy a bloodthirsty warlord; Skyrim still rests as one of the best RPG titles of the decade. So, by building a VR edition of the global favourite, fans are able to pick up where they left off and forget that nine years have even passed, to begin with. And, to be fair, I think that’s what we’ve all needed this past year.
8. Arizona Sunshine (PS4, Windows)
The relatively short but incredibly addictive zombie survival flick, Arizona Sunshine, is the perfect way to kill a Sunday afternoon. With a worryingly dim series of events taking place, you, the player, must navigate through the scorching landscapes of Arizona in search of an escape from the stalking undead hordes.
It’s dark, and it’s oddly picturesque considering the nature of the plot. But, despite some of its shortcomings, Arizona Sunshine still managed to scope the eighth spot in 2020’s highest-grossing VR greats.
7. Blade & Sorcery (Windows)
Blade & Sorcery was built singlehandedly by one incredibly ambitious individual who only wanted to do one thing: create a medieval sandbox like no other. With the ability to master melee, ranged or magic combat; Blade & Sorcery acts as a stepping stone towards building from your weaknesses in any way you see fit. Heck, even if you wish to wave a sword around your head like a swingball in a blaze of glory; Blade & Sorcery still manages to satisfy your hunger for wacky combat with style. Or, depending on your swordplay methods — no style whatsoever.
6. Pavlov VR (Windows)
Pavlov VR does one of many things, but standing at the pinnacle of its crowning achievements is managing to keep the multiplayer market going strong. Sure, there might be an entire stream of similar titles in the pipeline, but Pavlov manages to compress the key points in any favourite shooter and cram them into a thoroughly enjoyable online VR experience. With old but familiar game mods that many of us never grow tired of, Pavlov doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It does, however, keep it spinning.
5. Job Simulator (PS4, Windows)
Since its global launch in 2016, Job Simulator has managed to steal hundreds of hours from millions of family homes with its hilarious narrative. With its tongue-in-cheek approach to everyday jobs, such as a store clerk, mechanic, or even a chef; Job Simulator hands you the tools needed to poorly execute your role responsibilities. Whether it be a photo exchange over at the office cooler or having to serve a hotdog to a robot; this VR instant classic brings joy to all ages.
4. Boneworks VR (Windows)
Often being referred to as the turning point in next-gen VR gaming, Boneworks sits as one of the most physically engaging titles in VR history. With its on-point attention to detail and complex physics system, players can feel the weight of every weapon and manipulate the world at their very fingertips. Whether it be the flimsy ashtray on the floor or the hefty dumbells cemented to the ground; Boneworks puts all of its eggs into one basket by making you understand the weight of the world as you power through a gripping tale crammed with carnage.
3. Superhot VR (PS4, Windows)
Superhot VR provides a rather minimalistic approach to action gaming with its black and red art style. Although, unlike its predecessor available on Xbox One and PS4, this VR remake manages to tally up everything that made the original great, and produce an even greater experience. With its innovative design and fluid combat that stands tall in an ocean of similar titles, Superhot VR proves worthy to any action fan who enjoys the strategy behind every enemy encounter.
2. Half-Life: Alyx (Windows)
Half-Life: Alyx proved to be an instant classic due to its long-term fan base of the original series produced in the early noughties. But, even without the Half-Life community backing the ambitious VR newcomer; Alyx still managed to be everything that we wanted and more in a VR title. In fact, there’s just as much tension and drama as there was in the originals. However, with a VR headset thrown in, you can most definitely expect a more immersive feel to the iconic franchise.
1. Beat Saber (PS4, Windows)
Coming in as the highest-grossing VR game of 2020 is Beat Saber; the simple yet fantastic slice-and-dice rhythm game from Beat Games. With its basic concept that still manages to snag hundreds of fun-filled hours, players are able to slice through an epic score in style with the power of two neon sabers. Of course, it sounds rather simple in context, but Beat Saber might just be the ultimate workout that’ll keep you from ever retreating to the couch again.