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Best Action: Raw Data at Steam Powered
"For when you're in the mood for pretending to be some kind of awesome ninja, there's Raw Data."
Best Flight: Eagle Flight at Steam Powered
"Ever wanted to feel as free as a bird? Eagle Flight makes that dream possible."
Best Rhythm: Thumper at Steam Powered
"Occasionally brutal and exceptionally fast-paced, Thumper is a rhythm action experience like no other."
Best Family: Beat Saber at Steam Powered
"Use virtual sabers to slash beats away in this energetic rhythm game ideally suited for family gaming."
Best RPG: The Elder Scrolls V at Steam Powered
"An epic tale in every sense, Skyrim is one of the best RPGs out there, and it's even more stunning in VR."
Best Shooter: SUPERHOT VR at Steam Powered
"Every move counts in this first-person shooter that heavily relies on your reaction skills."
Best Story: Hellblade at Steam Powered
"A sometimes bleak but always fascinating exploration of how mental illness can leave one feeling alone."
Best Puzzle: Transpose at Steam Powered
"Solve puzzles by manipulating gravity and bending time in this gorgeous puzzle game."
Best Horror: The Exorcist at Steam Powered
"Expect to be disturbed in this intense horror experience."
Courtesy of Steam
Unlike the early Schwarzenegger film (Raw Deal) from which its name derives, Raw Data is an interactive action-adventure tour de force. The year is 2271, and a sinister corporation rules the world. As a qualified resistance operative, it's up to you to infiltrate its base, effectively killing all devoted staffers along the way.
Designed from the ground up for virtual reality, Raw Data is a lot of fun to play through. You have an extensive arsenal of weaponry at your disposal including everything from dual pistols to pump-action shotguns and even katanas. In short, it's a full-fledged gaming experience you can share with a friend thanks to the in-game co-op mode.
There's also multiplayer in the form of the Hostile Takeover PvP mode in which you can battle it out in up to 5-on-5 matches. Variety is plentiful here as you're able to choose from four hero classes, each of which is equipped with bespoke abilities that lend themselves to different play styles.
Ever wanted to ascend into the sky like and explore the world from an eagle's eye? Well, Eagle Flight is one of the best ways to live out that dream. Granted, you can only explore the city of Paris, but it's a beautiful city no less.
In Eagle Flight, you'll find yourself soaring past numerous iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, admiring old sights in a new way, as you've never seen before. There's a loose story bundled in too. In it, humans have vanished from the face of the earth, leaving a but land full of wildlife and vegetation. Sometimes you even face off against enemy birds. Don't be surprised if you have to engage in the occasional dog (or, uh, bird) fight.
Multiplayer bird fights are also an option since Eagle Flight allows for up to six players to participate. It's pretty exciting working with others as a seemingly unstoppable bird of prey.
courtesy of steam
Though you could play Thumper with a traditional controller, it's a lot more immersive with an HTC Vive. The premise is bizarre: On your way to confront a giant beast from the future, you — a space beetle — must attempt to survive an ostensibly never-ending series of tunnels.
The tunnels themselves make for a punishing journey, as you have to quickly in order to get through the many obstacles in your path. Thumper is not an easy game by any measure, but it is thrilling nonetheless. Its dance-inducing soundtrack, for instance, is exhilarating and encourages you to move faster and improve over time.
Thumper consists of nine levels of rhythmic tunnel exploration with a series of boss battles interspersed throughout. It takes a little time to click, but once it does, it'll put your reflexes to the test. That is, if you're not exhausted by the time you get there.
Everyone wants to have their very own lightsaber to swing around, and in Beat Saber, you can. As the title suggests, the goal is to use your saber to slash away at a series of "beats" thrown at you like Guitar Hero riffs.
By beats, yes, we're talking about the musical kind, so it's important to keep in time with the rhythm. In addition, different beats necessitate different sabers, and you have to send them in different directions too. The campaign is, therefore, quite challenging and ensures you get the hang of things in no time.
Apart from being a ton of fun to play, Beat Saber works really well as a form of exercise, too, because it encourages dancing and reacting to the beat in real-time. So if you love getting sweaty, this is the game for you.
Previously available on just about every platform possible, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a phenomenal roleplaying game made better by an immersive set of VR enhancements.
You play a prophesied hero known as the Dragonborn, as you explore a vast world gaining magical powers, crafting weapons, and upgrading gear. Contrary to popular belief, the campaign is relatively short if you want to just focus on the main questline. Then again, that's hardly the point of Skyrim. Instead, the idea is to lose yourself in the world for hundreds of hours on end, partaking in side quests, getting to know characters, and even getting married or buying property.
When you do decide to chase after dragons and steal their power, combat is as flexible as you want it to be. You can focus on magical skills or physical strength. Whichever you choose, it looks fantastic in VR. You'll soon feel like you're actually there, living out your life in a Tolkien-style fantasy macrocosm called Skyrim.
SUPERHOT VR is violent, yet strangely beautiful. Set in an environment where time only moves when you move, the unconventional first-person shooter gives you the perfect opportunity to plan out your steps and work out how best to tackle a room full of enemies.
That's vitally important as you're always outnumbered and outgunned, so you need to think about what you're doing. While you duck and dodge around the slow-motion bullets coming your way, the ability to grab weapons from fallen enemies is a big advantage as well.
SUPERHOT VR also includes its SUPERHOT FOREVER update which is home to a challenge mode, where only headshots are effective against foes, as well as a high score chasing mode.
It's not a particularly long game but when it's this much fun, brevity is forgivable.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice wasn't specifically made with virtual reality in mind, but it was designed to be played using headphones. That lends itself well to this VR edition of the game, aptly named Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice VR Edition. The story is heartwrenching. Following a Celtic warrior who suffers from psychosis and is coming to terms with the loss of her dead lover, this mournful tale serves as a fascinating look into the effects of mental illness.
Action is divided into exploration, puzzle-solving, and fight scenes. The combat is basic but satisfying having been developed by Ninja Theory, the studio behind seminal classics DmC: Devil May Cry and Heavenly Sword. It's the unfolding of the story that will grip you the most though. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is more relevant than ever right now, even if the setting is distinctly historical.
Unfortunately, the VR Edition doesn't support motion controls which is a shame, but it's still worth diving in with your HTC Vive for the sake of immersion. Oh, and just to forewarn you: Tears will be shed.
In a universe where time and gravity are used to manipulate the world, Transpose is an intriguing, almost dreamlike puzzle game in which you have to create looped recordings of your actions before working with and combining them.
Predictably, the more you play, the trickier the puzzles will be. Along the way, you'll have to adjust your thinking. Despite the challenge, though, Transpose feels intuitive. Its difficulty curve is pretty smooth so you have plenty of time to slowly adjust to what it expects of you. Anyone that loves a good puzzle will enjoy what's here.
Although it's occasionally disorientating, you'll soon enjoy feeling so thoroughly immersed in this eccentric fantastical world.
Some virtual reality games are a little too real. The Exorcist: Legion VR is one of those games. Much like the films that inspired it, it falls in the horror genre, so don't blame us if you get scared.
Part investigation, part exorcism, you'll find yourself learning more about demonic exorcism than you ever wanted to before. Each chapter runs for about 20 to 25 minutes, which is just enough to keep you hooked. It also gives you the chance to face a new demonic entity at every turn.
The environments within each chapter are so realistic you'll soon find yourself enthralled. You get to use trademark exorcism tools in addition to seeking out hidden artifacts along the way. There's a mysterious stranger who offers up cryptic messages, too, further ramping up the unsettling fear.
The Exorcist: Legion VR is short, but you won't forget it, particularly if you scare easy. In that case, you might want to skip it.