Virtual reality has been touted as the next ‘big thing’ in gaming for many years, but in truth, it is already hugely popular.
A range of titles offer a great VR experience, on PC and consoles, and the hope is that continues into the next generation. VR offers an immersive and involved gaming experience, very different from that of a standard gamer, and the future for the genre is bright.
Tech Radar explores some of the best games to hit the VR headsets in 2021, and they include the likes of Half-Life: Alyx, Resident Evil 7 and Bethesda’s massive open world of Fallout 4. In addition to that, VR is slowly integrating with eSports, with titles such as Echo Arena, Echo Combat, Onward, and Space Junkies drawing players. That is a niche that improved technology will seek to develop into the mainstream.
One of the key game genres seemingly suited to VR is racing. Driveclub VR is one example of the type of game fans are keen to play, but in general racing games do lend themselves to VR. The worlds are not open, meaning developers can concentrate more on the experience and less on building worlds.
Oddly, the most obvious game that could exploit VR is EA Sports Formula 1 titles. They are mainstream, would appeal to a huge fanbase very quickly and help build momentum behind the technology. The 2021 Formula 1 season started up again recently, with Lewis Hamilton favorite to take a record eighth title, according to Bwin’s F1 odds, but racing fans cannot control the British driver in a VR experience on console as yet. Despite being a sport widely associated with VR in terms of training simulators and the like, there is no function in the big-budget games to integrate the technology, which is a shame.
Formula 1 is perhaps the most obvious sport to have VR support, and gamers do miss out, but if you are a petrol head looking for your speed fix, you can find some other excellent titles below.
Project Cars 2
Supported by the PC VR headsets, Project Cars is not a new title, but it does offer a great VR experience and a great driving simulation. Project Cars includes more than 120 different cars and over 100 unique track layouts. Project CARS 2 delivers the soul of motor racing in the world’s most beautiful, authentic, and technically-advanced racing game. With Project Cars 3 offering a more simplified interface than the previous two titles too, those looking for simulation in their racing should check out the 2nd entry in this franchise.
GT Sport VR
Any racing fan of a certain age will get a little dewy-eyed when thinking about the Gran Turismo series, as it has been a staple of the console scene for many years now. The VR version of the game feels like a watered-down imitation of the actual title, with a few more assists in place to help you get the most out of the experience, rather than the challenge. That might not appeal to all, but with luscious detail in the cars and rendered tracks flying by all around, it is not to be missed and is one the best VR experiences exclusive to the PlayStation VR headset.
Going back to the Formula 1 example, consoles might not have caught up with VR just yet, but iRacing VR does put you in the cockpit of an open-wheeled car if you so desire. If Formula 1 and Lewis Hamilton are not for you, then there is an option to race in NASCAR, dirt track vehicles and concept cars. Once you have selected one then it is time to pick from a selection of more than 100 tracks, all laser scanned for accuracy. It is a subscription-based service, but for racing fans, it is unrivalled as a VR experience.
Dirt Rally 2
Looking to get a little gritty? The Dirt Rally series continues it’s domination of this racing sub-genre by offering some of the most realistic driving gameplay available in a headset. Tackle real off-road courses from around the world with some of the best car physics available in or out of the headset. Drift, Slide go airborne and don’t forget to listen to your co-driver as he lists off the next obstacle between you and victory. New racers may feel overwhelmed by the difficulty, but stay the course and you get to experience what may be the most realistic racing sim out there.
There you have it folks, those are just a few of the best simulation racing experiences available in Virtual Reality. For extra immersion, do yourself a favour and pick up a racing wheel to enhance the VR experience even further. I guarantee, once you play these with raing wheel in your hands, you’ll never go back to playing without it!