After what seems like an eternity, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality headsets are finally here. They are no longer weird prototypes held together with duct tape, or uncomfortable developer kits, they are the real deal – final consumer-grade products that will usher in a new era for video games.
So, your headset has arrived, you've set up the required beast of a PC so you can actually run the thing – if you're a HTC Vive owner you clear a big space to walk around in too – and finally everything is plugged in and ready to go. Then what? You're going to need some games, but with so many weird virtual reality experiments and games with only partial VR support, finding one actually worth playing isn't going to be easy.
Fear not, below are seven VR games that you should check out.
Set out in Earth's orbit, Adr1ft is one of the most visually stunning VR games on the market. After your space station has been partially destroyed, players embark on a journey through the wreckage to attempt to get things running again and make it back home to Earth – a premise not dissimilar to Oscar-winning film Gravity.
Floating around space offers some truly stunning visuals, but the tense gameplay means there's little time to admire the view. The player is required to collect oxygen canisters from around the environment to power thrusters and fill an oxygen tank. Unfortunately for Vive owners, Adr1ft is currently an Oculus Rift exclusive, although it is heading to other headsets soon according to creative director Adam Orth.
Elite: Dangerous is the premier space trucking game, and has been available for well over a year now. But with the launch of the VR headsets comes full Oculus and Vive support, making a great game even better.
It seems like Elite was practically designed for VR, as even without a headset, players must look around the cockpit to access various menus. Having your head movement tracked makes this even more intuitive, making VR the best way to experience Elite. Whether you choose to go exploring, fighting or simply be the UPS of space is up to you, but with a VR headset it feels that much more authentic. Just don't get too close to one of the suns, in VR it's really quite scary.
Space seems to be a common location for the big VR games, which is understandable as VR works incredibly well when in a cockpit. Unlike Elite, Eve Valkyrie is a combat focused affair, so if you want to be a space trucker this may not be the one for you. However for those seeking a more action packed experience Eve Valkyrie is perfect.
Fast-paced space dogfights are the name of the game and with VR they are better than ever. All that is required to locate a target is to physically look around, no more badly suited analogue sticks that take an age to move.
As a concept Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes may not sound amazing, but in practice this is a riveting, often hilarious and tense experience. One player sits with a VR headset on, with which they can see a bomb in front of them. The other player sits in the real world without headsets, unable to see the bomb, but with a copy of the bomb defusal manual.
Through communication alone, players most co-operate to defuse the bomb through the completion of puzzles that adorn the bomb, all while a timer slowly ticks down. The defuser must describe the puzzles as the others figure out how to solve it. Chaotic. If you don't own a VR headset, you can still play the game on PC and have a... wait for it... blast!
Despite both major VR headsets only just launching, Esper 2 is a sequel to one of the most successful VR games to date. The original Esper launched on the Samsung Gear VR and now its sequel is here as one of the most interesting launch titles for Oculus.
A puzzle game at its core, Esper 2 will sees travel to incredible locations, solving a range of complex puzzles and slowly discovering what's going on in its mysterious world. The puzzles alone are more than enough to hold your attention, but with a voice cast that includes the likes of Nick Frost and Lara Pulver, you know you are in for a good time.
It's such a simple idea that it's amazing there aren't already dozens of mini golf games launching with the Vive. With mini golf you don't need to be able to walk around a ton of space, and of course the motion controls are a perfect fit, meaning this could be one of the most realistic experiences currently in VR.
However, unlike mini golf in the real world, the designers can bend the rules of physics here, leading to holes are more complex than anything you'll ever see at Butlins. Sure you could go play mini golf in the real world, but where's the fun in that? You'd have to interact with real people after all.
Vanishing Realms: Rite of Steel is perhaps the most interesting, yet unproven game on this list. A Vive exclusive, this first person RPG promises full room scale VR, utilising all the features of HTC's headset. Swing your sword by swinging the controller, walk around the environment by walking around your VR room, it sounds almost too good to be true.
In terms of design, Vanishing Realms is reminiscent of Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series, meaning it's likely the thing we are going to get to an Elder Scrolls game in VR for some time. With the promise of life size monsters, there's certainly scope for an immersive and terrifying game. If a massive orc appears in front of us, chances are we will end up running into a wall in the real world.