A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR is an open-world action role-playing game (RPG) available for the PlayStation VR. This version of the hit game has been enhanced with various VR-specific features, including full 360-degree immersion and motion controls via the PlayStation Move controllers. The VR environment adds an extra level of immersion, but the optional motion controls bring with them an extra layer of complexity that requires a lot of practice to use effectively. Skyrim can be a graphically violent adventure, depending on players' actions, filled with bloody combat that can be extremely brutal and bloody. The game also has alcoholic beverages that can be consumed to the point of drunkenness, as well as illicit narcotics that can be taken, and some women in the game are referred to as "whores."
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What's it about?
THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM VR brings players closer to the fantasy action than ever before, thanks to the power of the PlayStation VR. It's a dark time in the world of Skyrim, as civil war has broken out between the Stormcloaks and the Imperial Army. Worse still, Alduin the World Eater, a dark dragon prophesied to bring about the apocalypse, has returned to wreak havoc and foster chaos. The only hope for the people of Skyrim lies in "a warrior with the body of a mortal and soul of a dragon", the last of the Dragonborn: the Dovahkiin. You are that warrior. And now, thanks to the PlayStation VR, with its immersive 360-degree visuals and a range of motion controls, you don't just play the role of hero -- you live it. Raise your shield. Swing your sword. Take careful aim with your bow and let your arrow fly true. Follow your own path and find your destiny.
Is it any good?
This adventure drops you deep into one of the most critically acclaimed adventures of all time, as long as you can deal with some frustrating controls and motion sickness issues. There's no shortage of games that promise to let players "live the adventure," but with the advent of VR technology, gaming is getting even closer to truly delivering on that promise. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR literally puts players right in the middle of the Skyrim world, thanks to the painstaking work developers put into bringing the classic RPG to the PlayStation VR. The minute the adventure starts, you can't help but need a few minutes to really take in the scope of everything. It's one thing to see Skyrim on a flat screen, but it's another thing completely to be surrounded by it. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming and disorienting. Players will definitely need frequent breaks to avoid vertigo in the game and to adjust to the real world again.
For the full VR experience, players will want to use the PlayStation Move controllers to take advantage of the game's motion controls. How long you'll use those controls, though, depends greatly on how much you're willing to practice and deal with the occasional frustration. Moving, for example, is done via a point-and-click teleporting mechanic or a smoother stick-controlled walking method. The first has you zipping around like The Flash, but it's a jarring change that can increase the disorientation until you get used to it. The second method, while more natural, interferes with the combat, as it requires heavy use of the left Move controller ... which is the same way you're supposed to control the left hand. Of the two, the teleport seems to be the best option. Combat is also a bit tricky when using the Move. Each Move controls the actions of one hand. Whether you're swinging a sword, casting a spell, or pulling a bowstring, it's done via somewhat natural motions. But due to the quirky responsiveness of the Move, it takes a lot of time to find that "sweet spot" of responsiveness and positioning. Of course, you can always ditch the Move in favor of more traditional game controls on the DualShock 4, but then you lose that extra layer of immersion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about choices and consequences. What are some of the factors involved in making tough choices? Are you more likely to avoid conflict and combat when given the option, or are you more willing to instigate fights wherever possible? What are some ways to look at potential long-term consequences of choices you make in the moment?
Talk about virtual reality and the evolution of the technology. What are some of the benefits and drawbacks to virtual reality gaming? How has the technology changed over the years, and what are some of the ways it may be used in the future?
- Platforms: PlayStation VR
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: November 17, 2017
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.