Fallout 4 VR review for HTC Vive

Platform: PC (HTC Vive)
Publisher: Bethesda Game Studios
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

When VR first became a conversation in the gaming world, I never in my wildest dreams pictured being able to play something like Fallout 4 on a VR headset, at least not in any meaningful way. The complexity of the world, the vast array of quests and characters and the demands of the combat system all seemed like they would be impossible to effectively transpose into a VR experience. Here we are post launch, with Fallout 4 VR effectively ?in my hands?, and I am beyond surprised with the level at which Bethesda was able to pull this off.

For those of you that played the original Fallout 4 when it launched, you are familiar with how boring the beginning of the game is. The first 20 minutes are simple introduction to the story, creation of your character and learning of the controls. This holds true in VR, with nothing really astounding about the beginning of the game. Once you are out of Vault 111 however, and get your first look at the wasteland in VR, you will be hooked. The game obviously doesn?t look as good in VR as it does on a high end monitor running on a beast of a PC, but it still looks amazing for what it is. Certain aspects are off, which are easy to spot, but for the most part the world doesn?t look that much different than I remember. I am running the game on a GTX 1080, so players with older hardware may have a different experience.

Interacting with the environment is a bit off, with no real FEEL that you are picking things up and putting them down. Some games really pull off the feeling of having a body in VR, others don?t. Fallout 4 VR really doesn?t make me feel like my body is there. I very much feel like I am part of the world, but I do not feel present in the world at the same time. Guns and objects that you pick up feel like they are just floating in front of you, as opposed to being objects that you are physically holding. The controls for picking things up and putting them down work well however, which is a definite plus. Use of weapons is also well done here, with triggers firing the guns and melee actually being controlled by meleeing with the controllers. This makes close encounters a highlight of the game, allowing you to just beat on an opponent in VR.

VATS makes a return in an interesting, built for VR way. Instead of cycling through body parts, you activate VATS and then aim at what you want to shoot. The part you are targeting lights up and you pull the trigger, landing the shot. This makes it feel more skill based and realistic, and translates to VR very well. I always felt like I was able to make use of VATS and that it helped me, but was not cheating. I felt that the advantage it gave me was more than fair.

My biggest issue with Fallout 4 VR is the movement. It allows for teleport movement or smooth movement, which may make some of the more sensitive users ill. If you are teleporting, the environment tends to really hinder progress at times, causing you to have to move and twist your controller around in weird ways to try and get it to read where you want to go. Turning remains an issue, as the amount of moving that you will do and the amount of turning in a fight can get you tangled up in your wires very quickly. Using the trackpad to turn is a jerky, halting experience. You are better off teleporting away and trying to get yourself free and back into the fight than you are using the turning controls. With the amount of wandering and moving that you do in this game, the control issues are disappointing, but I don?t have a solution. Moving around in a VR space is still so new and difficult, nobody has truly found the right answer yet.

As a whole the Fallout 4 VR experience is a good one. This is not a 2 hour slice of the game, this is the entirety of Fallout 4 in VR (minus the DLC). You can experience the entire game again from start to finish in VR, which I think is incredibly cool and impressive. I have not played through that far yet, but I do plan to finish the game as time allows me. Unfortunately, I can only pull off 3-4 hours in VR at a time before I have to take a break and do something else. The time I do spend in the world of Fallout 4 VR however makes me forget that I am using a headset and transports me to that world with moments that make the complaints I have all but go away for a time. If you have an HTC Vive (Sorry Oculus users, no support for you guys yet) and the PC to run it (GTX 1070 listed as the minimum), I definitely recommend checking Fallout 4 VR out.

Note: Bethesda provided us with a Fallout 4 VR PC code for review purposes.

Grade: B