The age of consumer grade video game console-powered virtual reality is finally here with the PlayStation VR (PSVR). Sony’s headset isn’t as powerful as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, or as portable as the Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View, and it doesn’t really offer fully-featured roomscale tracking, but it brings VR into the living rooms of over 50 million PlayStation 4 owners at an affordable price with a strong lineup of software.
There are dozens of games already available for the PSVR and it can be overwhelming to look at the PSN Store or gaming store shelves to see so many options. Which games are the best? What if I want a shooter and a music rhythm game, or an adventure title and a horror experience? We’ve compiled our definitive list of the 9 best PSVR games that you can play right now to alleviate those concerns.
There’s something for everyone on this list — guaranteed! The Playroom VR, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s Jack Assault, and other free experiences are not included. You should be downloading those regardless.
The following games are listed in no particular order and several awesome titles were left off that we wanted to include. Make sure you check the footnotes at the bottom of the article for past entries on this list that were retired to make room for newer games. The PSVR has plenty of great games already, these are just what we deemed as the very best so far.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (Our Review)
For a game that wasn’t originally designed for VR at all and has been ported first to the least powerful of the big three VR platforms in the PSVR, Skyrim VR is nothing short of impressive. This really is the Skyrim that you know and love, but now you can enjoy it like never before with the immersive presence of a VR headset. With a large variety of control schemes to choose from and hundreds of hours of content, this is a game that all RPG fans should play as long as you can look past the wonky controls, downgraded visuals, and frustrating UI.
There is just something special about the sensation of walking down the dirt road to Riverwood in VR for the first time, or staring down the throat of a fire-breathing dragon, or even gazing out upon Tamriel from the top of the Throat of the World. Whether you’re a Skyrim-veteran or one of the lucky few that get to see this world for the first time, Skyrim VR is enrapturing.
And if you don’t own a PSVR yet, luckily there’s a new Skyrim VR bundle out there with your name on it.
Arizona Sunshine [Review: 8.5/10]
We were worried PlayStation VR might not be able to handle UploadVR’s 2016 Game of the Year when it arrived in mid-2017, but Vertigo Games pulled off the impossible. Sure, Arizona Sunshine has made some sacrifices to get onto console, but for the most part this is still the same great undead massacre we came to know and love on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
What really makes this version of the zombie shooter shine is support for PSVR’s Aim Controller. Vertigo remastered its campaign with rifle weapons to truly put you in the experience like never before, though there’s support for traditional Move controllers too. The first thing everyone wants to do inside PSVR is shoot stuff, and Arizona Sunshine is the perfect destination for just that.
Sparc [Review: 8/10]
What would CCP Games, creators of the hugely ambitious space sim, EVE Online, know about making an eSport? Better yet, an eSport that’s a real sport too? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot; Sparc is a thrilling tribute to Tron that sees the company stretch its feet in ways we didn’t know possible.
In Sparc you take part in futuristic competitive sports, throwing discs at your opponent while making sure to avoid being hit by their own. Don’t be surprised if you work up a sweat while ducking and dodging as you use two Move controllers to return fire. Gaming has long been considered the enemy of physical activity, but Sparc marks a turning point in that assumption.
Farpoint [Our Review]
The PSVR is over a year old now and Farpoint stands as a testament to the fact that fast-paced, intense shooters are entirely possible on VR platforms. Using the comfortable and immersive PS Aim gun controller, Farpoint is a step above the other first-person shooters available on the platform.
Since launch the developers at Impulse Gear have done a great job adding additional content. There are now even more single-player challenge maps, cooperative levels, and the introduction of a competitive multiplayer mode that fully rounds the experience. If you do decide to pick up Farpoint, you really need to play it with the PS Aim Controller because to play it with just a DualShock 4 instead would be an enormous disservice to both the game and yourself.
Superhot VR [Review: 9/10]
Superhot VR is another game we weren’t entirely sure would translate to PSVR so well, but the developers pulled it off almost flawlessly. Despite some tracking troubles, this is still one of the best shooter experiences you can have on your headset right now.
In Superhot, time moves only when you do. This gives the game a wonderful methodical approach, as one bullet will kill you and you have to wipe out all enemies before they get to you. It’s as much a puzzler as it is a shooter; how do you tackle three men with guns when all you have is a knife and a throwing star? The trial and error of working that out is some of the most thrilling gameplay in VR so far.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard [Review: 9/10]
This is the game that PSVR fans have been waiting on ever since it was announced back at E3 2016. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard does so many things it’s hard to believe Capcom actually pulled it off. First and foremost, it reinvents the stagnating Resident Evil series with a swift kick in the pants moving it from the third-person to the first-person perspective. However, while undergoing that change, this new game also serves as a return to form for the series as its survival horror roots are reintroduced to great effect.
But the most impressive feat by our record is the fact that it delivers a 12+ hour long campaign that’s fully playable in VR with a multitude of comfort options. The atmosphere is haunting, the story is memorable, and the gameplay is rewarding enough to easily make this rank among the top of the pile for the entire horror genre in recent years.
Thumper [Review: 9/10]
Trust me: you need to play Thumper. This game is so hard to properly articulate that even watching a video won’t do it justice. But, alas, that’s what I have here, along with my words, so that will have to do for now. To put things simply, it’s one of the most viscerally satisfying and visually enthralling experiences you can have inside of any VR headset on the market.
Described as a rhythm-violence game, Thumper pits you on a track and asks you to time your button presses, turns, and evasions across a series of dozens of tracks to the beat of a thumping soundtrack geared to make your face melt. It’s dark, twisted, and at-times infuriating, but it’s also simply fantastic.
Stifled (Our Review)
Stifled is a one-of-a-kind horror game that’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. The use of sound to allow you to see the world around you but also alert your enemies creates a terrifying and suspensful dynamic that left me quivering in my shorts.
The pacing isn’t perfect and some other pieces felt lacking, but the core premise of Stifled is so very strong it’s impossible not to recommend it. This game should be experienced by anyone that wants to see how VR as a medium can transform the way we interact with video games.
DiRT: Rally [Review: 9/10]
DiRT: Rally on the Oculus Rift quickly became one of the best VR racing games on the market, period, when it launched last year. The fast-paced intensity of the tracks, the visceral environments, and the pitch-perfect gameplay felt like a revolution for the genre. Now that it’s on PSVR, the action is being shared on a more affordable and accessible device. It’s also pretty much identical to the Oculus Rift version of the game.
The new co-op mode that was built for PSVR feels oddly out of place and like a shadow of what it could have been, but it doesn’t ruin the core of the experience. Despite it all, DiRT: Rally is a rock solid racer that roots you in the experience, piling on the life-risking rush of putting your foot down and sliding a car through a muddy Welsh forest as if you were intent on smashing into something. It’s one of the few VR experiences that can completely immerse you and makes you forget you’re sitting in your living room.
12/27/17 Update: Star Trek: Bridge Crew has been retired from this list to make room for Farpoint.
11/22/2017 Update: Bound and EVE: Valkyrie were both retired from the list in favor of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR and Stifled.
10/4/2017 Update: Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, How We Soar and Battlezone were all retired from the list in favor of Superhot VR, Arizona Sunshine, Sparc and Star Trek: Bridge Crew
3/23/2017 Update: Driveclub VR has been retired from this list with DiRT: Rally taking its place.