Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2017 before the PSVR version of Skyrim VR launched, but has been republished before the release of Skyrim VR on PC. We’ve already seen these places inside Sony’s HMD, but now it’s time to see them again with even better visuals on the Rift and Vive.
For VR gamers E3 2017 was like a greatest hits of Bethesda’s back catalog. Between Fallout 4 VR, which we already had very high up on our radar and the newly announced DOOM VFR, we didn’t think there was much room left for more from the ZeniMax-owned gaming powerhouse. But then at Sony’s press conference the following night we learned that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is also getting the full VR treatment, this time coming first to the PlayStation VR (PSVR.)
After going hands-on with the game and awarding it our crown of Best PSVR Game at E3 2017, the anticipation is mounting. As someone that’s continued playing Skyrim off and on ever since it came out, across multiple releases, characters, save files, expansions, and mods, I’m thrilled at the idea of returning to the snow-capped mountains of the north. So excited, in fact, I decided to run through some of my favorite areas in the game and put together this list of the 11 most amazing places that I can’t wait to explore again in Skyrim VR. If you’re a Fallout 4 fan, make sure to also check our list of places for that game right here.
Aurora (The Northern Lights Sky)
I am not personally afflicted with the travel bug in real life. I don’t have the urge to explore the whole wide world, at least not yet, or visit dozens of other countries while backpacking and hitchhiking. In fact, most of the time I am content to just stay at home with my family, kick back, relax, and enjoy a nice game or movie. But the Northern Lights are an exception. I don’t know what it is about that particular sight, but I want to see them in person before I leave this Earth. Luckily, you can see a gorgeous facsimile in Skyrim VR when it releases. Just look at that screenshot!
Raven Rock (Solstheim)
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is still, to this day, one of my all-time favorite games. There’s something about its bizarre landscapes, twisted setting, and incredibly unique architecture that appeals to me like no other fantasy world. In the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim you get the chance to visit a small sliver of the world of Morrowind so you too can witness why it’s such a beloved entry in the long-running franchise. Now maybe they can add VR support to The Elder Scrolls Online and let us all explore it in its entirety in VR with updated graphics.
The Throat Of The World
If you follow the main storyline in Skyrim for any length of time at all I highly recommend that you at least get far enough to visit the Greybeards atop Skyrim’s tallest mountain known as The Throat of the World. Once you reach the very tip top you can gaze down at the world and take in the magnificent size of it all. It’s breathtaking. Let’s hope the visuals on the PSVR can live up to the majesty this vista deserves.
Winterhold Mage’s College
When I play Skyrim I always start out intending to be a mage and eventually devolve into a hack ‘n slash killing machine that lops off heads left and right. It’s my nature, I suppose. But every now and then I’m able to continue down the path of magic long enough to join the Mage’s College at Winterhold and the journey up to this beautiful palace is always worth the trouble. Ascending to its precarious position at the edge of a cliff with nothing but a thin bridge connecting it to the rest of the world will be quite the perilous journey in VR.
While traditionally known as the Nordic afterlife, you don’t have to die in order to visit Sovngarde during your playthrough of Skyrim. You’ll eventually venture here on the main questline if you stick it out and you’d be hard-pressed to find a good reason not to. This place is simply gorgeous and its easily one of the most beautiful areas in the entire game and will be nothing short of spectacular to see again rendered with the immersive power of a VR headset.
Vahlok’s Tomb (Solstheim)
The Dragonborn DLC gets two shout outs on this list. This second entry is for a specific tomb that you can go to in Solstheim and although it isn’t as massive or sprawling as some of the other places on this list, it’s worth including for the experience alone. The Lost Legacy sidequest takes you here and you’ll get to face off against all manner of Draugr, including the red-eyed corrupted one shown above. Can you imagine staring down this enemy while going face-to-face in VR?
Don’t let the name fool you: Blackreach is a much more interesting place than it sounds on moniker alone. The bright blue lights emanating from the mushroom-like trees give off a very other-worldly Morrowind-esque vibe that’s mixed with the bright and wonderful stylings that only Skyrim is known for. You’ll likely visit this location a handful of times in your dozens or hundreds of hours playing Skyrim, so there is plenty of opportunity to soak in the beauty.
Visually Whiterun isn’t the most impressive city on this list. It’s actually a bit bland. But in all likelihood it will be the first major city that you visit and approaching it from the distance, seeing its buildings sprawled out in a large area with the castle at the center, is a treat that rewards your adventurous spirit. You’ll likely spend a lot of time in this city during the early levels before you move on to grander things, but it’s nice to remember where you came from once you’re take a break from slaying giants and dragons like they’re mudcrabs for the day.
Despite the ominous rib cages and various other decaying corpses, the Eastmarch Springs are actually quite nice. The green water and somewhat toxic fumes are oddly alluring while the steam rises from the warm liquid’s surface in the middle of the snow-tipped plains. Bethesda’s art direction is top notch here and it’ll be extremely pleasant on the eyes to pay it a visit again in VR.
Solitude is one of those city’s that is better off if you do decide to judge a book by its cover. Inside the walls it’s a bit bland and doesn’t hold as much excitement as its outer persona alludes, but the journey to Solitude — much like the Mage’s College — is half the fun. Following the river up towards the city and seeing it spread across the cliffside is a delight to see and the sense of scale is staggering.
Headless Horseman’s Graveyard
Finally, this is easily one of my absolute favorite encounters in the entire game. At night time while exploring the wilderness you might be visited by the Headless Horseman’s ghost. If you’re quick enough to keep up and follow him he can actually lead you somewhere really thoughtful and interesting…but I don’t want to spoil it here. Just go find him!
BONUS: Your House
When you get Skyrim VR it will include all of the official DLC packs, which means Hearthfire is available from the start. That lets you build your very own home — or you can buy one in many of the game’s cities. While the location of “Where is home?” will change depending on who is playing and the contents will vary based on what you collect and display, there’s nothing quite like visiting home after a hard day’s work of adventuring. Why not ask your husband or wife in the game to cook you a pot of stew while you unload your treasures?
Editor’s Note: This article was previously published on July 15, 2017. We are re-running it as a companion to our Skyrim smooth locomotion hands-on preview.