Best VR games 2018

Virtual reality might have sounded like a doomed gimmick when the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive debuted last year. Not so much anymore.

Since then we've seen everything go right for VR as big publishers like Bethesda have dipped their feet into the market, and hundreds of new experiences have become available. Also, VR headsets are bordering on the realm of affordability, which has recently caused a huge amount of people to buy VR headsets, growing the market in the process.

I've been invested in VR since early 2016. Given how many new people ask me what games I recommend, I figured I'd list my top 10. Let me show you the way.

10. Robo Recall

Platforms: Oculus Rift

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There are a lot of gallery shooters on VR, to a point where half the top lists you see out there include several of them. Honestly, I find these games quite boring after a few minutes... except for Robo Recall.

This sci-fi shooter is extremely well done, with one of VR's best presentations, and an adrenaline pumping style of action that makes you feel like a superhero. Using a variety of gestures you can swap between weapons like the shotgun and revolver as you defend yourself from swarms of robots that are just begging to be shot in the face. 

It'll give you a better workout than any other game on this list, and remind you that arcade-style shooters can still be fun in 2018... provided they support VR.

9. Vanishing Realms

Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

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When you're new to VR and just looking to see what it's capable of without spending too much money, Vanishing Realms is a prime choice. This action adventure is built similar to The Legend of Zelda, with puzzles, equipment upgrades, and combat.

Unlike a lot of VR games, it's well composed with a good gameplay flow that helps keep the game interesting over a few hours. Eventually, you'll want something more that a smaller game like this just isn't capable of providing, but at under $19.99 you'll walk away satisfied and ready to make VR a full time job.

8. Onward

Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

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I'm yet to find another online VR shooter as compelling as Onward. This modern war simulator is very serious about creating a genuine environment where technique and communication are required to survive. Because of its die-hard aim for simulation, I don't recommend playing this game until you feel comfortable in VR, especially since its community isn't exactly nice and will trigger you by calling you a noob.

Nonetheless, the experience is second to none if you're a multiplayer FPS fanatic. In the game you have to actually reload your gun by pulling out magazines, throw grenades using your arm, and prone on the ground to get behind low volume cover. It's more exercise than a Tae Bo workout, but I'll be damned if it doesn't make you feel like a war veteran once you play a few times.

7. Chronos

Platforms: Oculus Rift

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Chronos has remained a staple in the Oculus Rift's software arsenal since launch. This adventure game could admittedly have just been built in non-VR, but its VR elements make it far more interesting by offering a true sense of scale in its epic environments as you combat a variety of fantastical enemies and solve puzzles.

This game is quite long at over 12 hours, so the value proposition is better than 90%+ of VR games out there. If you're down for a single-player experience and want something more story oriented, this is your jam.

6. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR

Platforms: HTC Vive, PSVR

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One recurring theme with VR games is they just don't last long. Heck, most of the games I own I've played for less than one hour, which is pitiful when you consider these games cost more than $30.

For this reason Skyrim VR is a winner. I mean, come on, it's Skyrim, that same game you played for over a hundred hours. You know what you're getting here, and it's going to entertain you for a long time, especially if you like petting dogs and chopping skeletons to bits. The only problem is, yes, it's $59.99, and the code isn't as optimized as games that have been built for VR from the ground up. Even then, it's a way better buy than most games out there.

5. Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

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I'm not even into Star Trek and I've found this game remarkable If you're actually into Star Trek, I have a feeling you're going to climax playing this game.

In Star Trek: Bridge Crew you command the USS Enterprise along with a crew of other players who serve roles such as Captain, Helm, Tactical, and Engineer. You have to manage systems, engage in combat, and more from the inside of the famous spaceship. Since it supports non-VR, you can invite your friends to join you see why the game has been a favorite among VR enthusiasts.

4. Audioshield

Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

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At a time when I was really disappointed in the play value of VR games, Audioshield saved me from tossing my HTC Vive and Oculus Rift onto ebay. This rhythm game is actually very simple; you use two shields attached to your arms to block colored balls as they come at you. Think of it as the VR version of Dance Dance Revolution.

I've already spent over five hours playing this game, and regularly go back for more. It's especially good if you take the time to import your favorite songs. Oh, and I should mention this is a particularly solid game for showing off to your friends, since it's universally enjoyed with a low barrier to entry.

3. Lone Echo

Platforms: Oculus Rift

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Out of all the single-player games available on VR, there's nothing quite like Lone Echo. This sci-fi game won most best of VR 2017 awards, and for good reason. It has the kind of story you'd enjoy even if it wasn't in VR, and instead of simply forcing VR gameplay into an experience that doesn't need it, it makes use of the hardware in clever ways that show what the future holds.

In a way, this is a dream game for fans of astronomy and outer space. It really feels like you're out there battling to survive.

2. Elite Dangerous

Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

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I have over 60 hours in this game. Yup, I'm addicted.

I've always wanted to fly around in outer space in a video game, and until now that dream hasn't been realized. Elite: Dangerous might be a very slow paced game, and one that has issues making you reward loops, but it's the closest thing humanity has to being able to simulate flying around the Milky Way. 

This is the kind of game where you'll need to guide your own path, and find your own way to entertain yourself. It's a sandbox through and through, which may test your patience. But if you give it time and some of your energy, you're in for one incredibly good time.

1. VRChat

Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

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VRChat isn't only free-to-play, it's the most compelling VR game available. The idea is simple: jump into a virtual chat room where you can hang out with other people, play games, role-play, and talk about how bad 2017 was. On paper that might not sound very interesting, but there's something remarkable about experiencing social environments in an immersive alternate universe, especially since the game supports a level and character editor, resulting in virtually infinite content.

VRChat has been trending hard the past couple weeks after top Twitch streamers jumped into the game, resulting in more than triple the number of active players in that period. Although the game doesn't require VR, it's selling people on the idea of it. Heck, I know three people who are buying an Oculus Rift this month because of this game.

This is the way.