Fallout 4 VR is finally released to the world on Steam with official support for HTC Vive (and unofficial support for Oculus Rift) to gamers everywhere. A few weeks ago Bethesda also released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR on PSVR to rave reviews, which sent the internet into an uproar about the power of VR to create believably immersive worlds for us all to explore.
But since each of these games release within a month of one another from the exact same developer and publisher, running on the same engines and features a lot of similar ideas and mechanics, the question is clear: Which VR port is better? Skyrim VR or Fallout 4 VR?
That’s the question we set out to answer.
Core Game Differences
While both games are massive, open-world roleplaying games that let you live out almost any life you could ever possibly imagine, they actually have a ton of major differences. For starters, The Elder Scrolls is a fantasy-themed franchise that takes place in the fictional kingdom of Tamriel. The most recent mainline entry in the series, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, features dragons, magic, swords, and shields, whereas Fallout 4 is all about the post-apocalypse with lots of guns, torn down buildings, and radiation.
Those differences are obviously intact for the VR versions of each game as well. Playing Skyrim VR is much like many other open-world RPGs — The Elder Scrolls helped define what that entire genre is, for the most part — whereas Fallout 4 VR feels a bit like an alternate take on similar gameplay mechanics.
You’ll use a lot more ranged weapons like guns in Fallout 4 VR and you’ll spend time exploring the ruins of real-life locations such as Boston. You also level up your character by earning general XP rather than leveling up specific skills by doing them like in Skyrim.
Virtually all of these “core game” differences can be chalked up as stylistic decisions made by Bethesda that don’t swing in either game’s favor. This is just how the games are. Whether you personally prefer fantasy or post-apocalypse settings is entirely up to your own personal preference.
Other than the most obvious core game differences, as discussed above, Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR differ most dramatically in that they aren’t even available on the same platforms right now. If you want to play Skyrim VR then you need a PlayStation 4 and PSVR and if you want to play Fallout 4 VR then you need a powerful gaming PC and an HTC Vive (or Oculus Rift). There’s no way around it.
So as of Fallout 4 VR’s launch, Skyrim VR actually ends up coming out on top in terms of performance, especially on a PS4 Pro. Gaming PCs are more powerful, but Fallout 4 VR just doesn’t seem very well optimized right now. This means that in the future Fallout 4 VR could end up looking much better, but in the short term Skyrim VR is a bit cleaner to look at.
What this also means is a fundamental difference in headsets and tracking technology. Since the PSVR only has a single tracking camera that means you can’t turn around all the way or else it could lose tracking of your head and/or hands. On the Vive or a three-sensor Rift setup, you can move around the room freely without ever needing to worry about tracking accuracy. That’s a pretty big difference and definitely gives the PC VR headsets an edge.
The other platform differences such as the headset comfort just depends on your own personal preference.
Controller Input Differences
This is the biggest difference that’s going to have the largest impact on which game you’ll enjoy more. Skyrim VR features two main control methods: two PS Move controllers or a DualShock 4 controller. When using two PS Move controllers you can either use a teleportation-based movement system or a direct movement system. Direct movement is performed by aiming the PS Move and holding down the Move button. It sort of turns your entire PS Move controller into a joystick since there is no analog stick on the device itself. This method was my preferred way of moving the game because it let me use my hands, which the DualShock doesn’t, while still moving freely, which teleportation doesn’t.
For Fallout 4 VR on Vive/Rift your options are more limited. In short, there is currently no gamepad support meaning you can only use your hand-based motion controllers like the Vive wands or the Oculus Touch controllers. You can pick between teleportation-based movement and direct movement via trackpad/control stick. The Vive’s trackpad just doesn’t translate very well to a smooth movement system in our experience since the trackpad itself is so flat and imprecise. Luckily you can physically turn in your room with 360-tracking on Vive at least, because there is not a smooth turning option — only snap turns.
Final Verdict: Skyrim VR Is Better Than Fallout 4 VR
If you went ahead and read our reviews for both Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR then you’d know we scored Skyrim VR a whole point higher, which may have tipped you off. But yes, that’s right: We think Skyrim VR on the PSVR is a better game than Fallout 4 VR on the HTC Vive at this time.
The reasoning is a mixture of things. As of now, there are fewer performance issues on Fallout 4 to contend with, making for a much smoother experience in general. And even though the PS Move controllers and the PSVR’s limited tracking are far from ideal, we still preferred that setup to the HTC Vive’s wands and complete lack of functioning gamepad support.
You can get Skyrim VR on PSVR or Fallout 4 VR on HTC Vive right now. Bethesda has mentioned that their games will likely release on other headsets in the future, such as DOOM VFR which is on both PSVR and Vive, but we don’t know exact dates for Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR ports just yet.
Let us know what you think of either game down in the comments below!