We are forever told the Kobayashi Maru is unwinnable. But, of course, just like Captain James T. Kirk, we know we have the skills to win and become the best space pilot the Federation has ever seen. Star Trek: Bridge Crew lets us live out these dreams in glorious virtual reality.
First, grab up to three friends, who, alongside you, assume the role of officers of the Federation, determining the fate of your ship and crew with every fateful decision – it’s a game that thrives in a crisis. You and your intrepid space-bound band will boldly go to the largely unknown sector called The Trench to assess its potential as a new Vulcan home world. Yet, we could have simply been running modest intergalactic errands, for all we care. Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a game built from the ground up for VR. Your cockpit environment is unsettlingly accurate, and it feels great to just exist in this world, interacting with the ship’s controls, and making decisions like real space pilots. This, one of the best VR games you can find, is a game everyone, not just Trekkies, should experience.
If you only ever play one game in VR, make it Elite Dangerous: it is simply one of the best VR games you can strap to your skull. Its scale is difficult to comprehend, offering a 1:1 replica Milky Way galaxy. A galaxy unblemished by load times, and populated by human players with their own allegiances, agendas, and minute-to-minute missions. If you need a head start, check out our Elite Dangerous guide.
However varied or complex the action gets, your position is always at a fixed point, and that helps to stamp out any potential for motion sickness. You can roll, pitch, and flail about haplessly (the latter happening frequently, we find) during extended play sessions at the mercy of Frontier’s Newtonian flight model without the queasiness setting in. That is absolutely crucial to maintaining Elite Dangerous’s appeal as a long-form game. The Cambridge studio has been among the most forward-thinking when it comes to VR support, and it tells with every second you spent in the cockpit.
Not only is Assetto Corsa an exquisite racing game, it is also one of the best VR games on PC, thanks to the rock-solid underpinning physics model, comely visuals, and fan-requested features. The latter means, naturally, that it is possible to play Assetto Corsa in VR. It supports the Oculus Rift natively, so is no need to stalk the darker corners of the internet in search of a mod or middleware program.
Conceptually, racing a sports car is one of the few time-honoured videogame staples crying out for VR adaptation. Third-person shooters need a serious rethink in order to function as VR games, but the likes of Assetto Corsa thrive with a fixed camera point and the ability to look into mirrors, at apexes, or towards opponents. It’s also made with lasers, apparently.