2016 was not a great year for me. I got Trump and a cancer diagnosis, so things were not cool. To escape the pain of my existence, I decided to fulfil a dream of mine (while I still could, haha), and picked up Sony’s little headset that could. As a child of the eighties, I saw virtual reality as the pinnacle of science fiction, and I could hardly believe that Sony was offering an affordable and satisfying VR experience for my very own living room. In short, 2017 was way better than 2016. We still have Trump, but I’m currently cancer free and living, at least occasionally, in a virtual world. My twelve-year-old self’s mind is officially blown.
Relax, haters, this is not a PSVR list. But I’m an unabashed VR guy, and I won’t apologize for it, or for my list. The way I’ve decided to do my top ten is simple: I’ve ranked the games that kept me coming back; the games that I thought about when I wasn’t playing, and the games that got me to wake up early to play before other responsibilities took precedent. These may not be the highest ranked games in town, but they are the games that kept me turning on my trusty PS4 over and over again.
#10 – Little Nightmares
Little Nightmares is a game that will never escape the shadow of Playdead’s masterpiece Limbo, but it is a fantastic title nonetheless. The dark fairy-tale setting, adorable but mysterious protagonist and its ability to tell a compelling story without bloviating for hours through melodramatic cut-scenes is a lesson Hideo Kojima seems unable or unwilling to learn.
#9 – Raw Data
Raw Data may be a port from the beefier PC VR units, and it may have a steep learning curve with the Move controllers, but it makes my top ten list at number nine. The ability to freely move about the virtual landscape duel wielding pistols or chopping robots in half with a freaking katana sword is pretty damn incredible. It may be little more than a wave shooter, but it’s the best of the bunch and easy addition to my top ten.
#8 – Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Middle-earth: Shadow of War is bigger and better than its predecessor in most ways, and is a ton of fun. Stringing together combo after combo, and totally murdering countless orcs is more satisfying than I should admit. It would be higher on the list, but for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, the game doesn’t seem to have the heart of the original, but it still comfortably makes my list and number eight.
#7 – Arizona Sunshine
Arizona Sunshine, the PC port from Vertigo Games gave us PSVR players a full zombie campaign with free locomotion and another reason to use the awesome Aim controller. I never mastered the Move controllers on this one, but the Aim worked great. Some folks complained about the gun’s accuracy, but for those of us who know you have to line up the front sight with the rear sight, like on a real gun, this was never an issue.
#6 – Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 7 is an amazing addition to the RE series and the first true triple A title playable in VR. It was the one of the first titles I played in VR and an experience I will never forget. I remember the first time I approached the back of that terrifying house. I stood on the virtual back porch, the midday sun shining bright. I couldn’t move. Straight ahead of me stood a doorway, completely dark. I’m almost embarrassed to say that it took me about five minutes to muster the courage to walk through the door. That sense of terror was there the whole time, and I often found myself wondering why I would put myself through so much stress. It’s almost too scary. In fact, if I wasn’t such a little scaredy cat, this would probably have scored higher.
#5 – Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is just a blast to play. The massive open world is beautiful, it controls brilliantly, and has a remarkably compelling story. I can almost guarantee that it will be a juggernaut franchise for this generation and the next. This is what a system seller looks like.
#4 – Farpoint
Farpoint with the Aim controller is an absolute must play if you’re a fan of the PSVR. The team at Impulse gear flawlessly implemented the aforementioned Aim controller, which makes playing Farpoint one of the most intuitively easy games to control I’ve ever played. The wife and I sometimes take turns playing, and despite never playing shooters, she picked it up right away. The rifle shaped peripheral makes playing this game feel completely natural. The free DLC that Impulse Gear keeps dishing out is just the cherry on top.
#3 – Salt and Sanctuary
Salt and Sanctuary came out on the PS4 in 2016. But it came out in March of 2017 on the PS Vita so suck it. Am I using a loophole to shoehorn one of my all-time favourite games onto the list? Yes, but my list, my rules. Besides, the Vita is my favourite way to play the game. The 2D side-scrolling graphics, the awesome hand drawn characters and levels, the kick ass boss fights and the seemingly endless upgrades make Salt and Sanctuary one of my all-time favourites.
#2 – Skyrim VR
I was glad to see Pure PlayStation Czar Chris had Skyrim VR on his list as well. I must admit that it felt strange to put such an old game on the list, but I knew there was no way I could keep it off. Full disclosure: I’ve never played Skyrim before. I’ve played all of Bethesda’s Fallout’s but for some reason I had never tried Skyrim. I’ve been playing Skyrim VR since its release with the Move controllers and I simply can’t get enough. I actually bought the strategy guide for this game. I haven’t bought a game guide in a decade or more. In other words, when I’m not playing it, I’m reading about it, deciding what mission to do next. The immersion is borderline ridiculous.
#1 – SUPERHOT VR
SUPERHOT VR is unlike anything I’ve ever played and is my favourite game of 2017. Imagine being able to act out the most awesome action scenes from every great action movie and you have SUPERHOT VR. That description doesn’t really do this game justice. In fact, it’s a game you just need to play. It’s easy to pick up and play but hard to master and extremely addictive. It’s always a hit when showing off the PSVR to friends and the flat version is a blast to play as well. I’m currently waiting impatiently for the sequel.