Steam's VR Game of the Year Award: Who Will Win?
Once again, a year has gone by fellow gamers. The VR gaming world has been quite active with a lot of offerings this 2020 and probably due in part to the Pandemic quarantines, gamers the world over where able to get the chance and the time to play VR games in the comfort of their homes. When it comes to downloading and playing VR games online, Steam has been in the forefront in the review and distribution of these games. With the immense amount of games going through the site, Valve/Steam has organized and created an award nomination for various categories which would classify the best games which were present during the year. This includes the Best game on Steam for VR.
There are many factors that can make a game a good game, a popular game or simply make a game stand out among the rest (and in case of Steam, that's a huge amount of 'the rest'). In today's gaming world with so many games continually coming out on the market, a novel idea has become a rarity. Seldom it is that one can come upon a game with something new and interesting with regards to the game as a whole or add a new novelty to an already existing story line of a long standing game franchise. A game can have such good graphics and sound but without fleshed-out well created characters and a story that immerses one into the game's reality, the game may leave one wanting, dissatisfied and frustrated with the game selections today. It is no wonder why many an Indie game ends up a way lot popular than a high-budget triple A game which follows the same old formulas, story lines and game play. In the world of video gaming, a new idea is always welcome.
So for 2020, Steam came up with several nominees for the best VR game of the year award. Make no mistake, each of these games are the best and most popular among a myriad of games on the site but it doesn't mean the others are less worthwhile playing, it's just that (for practical reasons) Steam has limited the selection to a few. Let's take a quick look at five of the best of them.
The Room VR (A Dark Matter)
The Room is a puzzle solving/mystery game series by Fireproof Games which originally came out for mobile gaming where it became quite popular. The developer has now released this Room title for VR which is also the latest in the game series. You play the role of a detective looking for a missing renowned Egyptologist in 1908 London. The game actually focuses on solving mechanical puzzle boxes which are quite intricate, novel and challenging as they are well crafted with good environmental and object graphics and immersive (sometimes creepy) audio and ambient sounds. The Room VR (A Dark Matter) consist of several areas and realms with their own set of intricate puzzles to solve. Going through them will make one realize that all the puzzles are interconnected in one way or another. An intriguing and interesting game for those who love to bring out the Sherlock Holmes in them.
Thief Simulator VR
If you have ever wondered what it's like to be a thief, then this game is for you. There are many things that have to be done as well as factors involved to be able to pull-off a successful heist. From staking and sizing up the people and places to victimize to having the proper burglary equipment at hand not to mention good enough skill to avoid being caught, Thief Simulator by GameBoom VR will err...show you all the works. Then if you are able to successfully avoid the cops or being found out, through a combination of being lucky and sneaky, you will then have to unload and dispatch the goods in the most un-obtrusive way possible to get the pay-off you swinely deserve. Make no mistake, even if you have the modern means, technology and channels to get the job done, being an efficient and effective burglar is still a heavy challenge to bear. The bright side though is that it's just a game, so even if you're caught, you still ain't gonna end up in the slammer. Lucky You!
Ah, the scariest game on the list and the most popular one too. Phasmophobia by Kinetic Games is a four player co-op online VR game that is guaranteed to scare the pants off you! The only reason why so many players get away with it is because the more the merrier and turning a horror game into a real-time horror comedy seems to be an effective thing to do. Apparently, you are tasked with the job to gather enough proof of malevolent paranormal activity as you explore the given haunted location. Available to you are all sorts of ghost haunting equipment from CCTV cameras, to paranormal environmental sensors like ghost/spirit boxes, EMF and motion sensors, night-vision cameras and a slew of others. Make no mistake, the ghost are out to get you but they tend to avoid confrontations with a crowd. If you want a really spooky horror game, you can play the game solo or with one other monitoring you from a van outside. If you want a much lighter horror comedy, be sure there are three of you inside and one in the van. Make sure to scream, the game's voice interface is good and your companions are sure to hear you.
Where are you? Boo!
Star Wars Squadrons VR
Developed by MOTIVE and published by EA, Star Wars Squadrons VR is foremost a multiplayer VR starfighter combat simulator game set in the Star Wars universe. If you've played similar games like Eve: Valkyrie VR, Star Wars Squadrons VR is a way lot better. Playing the game with friends and acquaintances online coupled with the awesome virtual environment which can be viewed at 360º from within a starfighter cockpit (Alliance or Imperial) gives an extremely breathtaking team experience. Regardless playing the solo campaign will leave you mesmerized as well. Missions vary from destroying enemy capital ships to capturing them as well as laying stake on waypoints or obliterating the enemy starfighters and ruling the day. If you're the type of gamer who's into heavy space combat in VR, this game is for you. The game however has the initial advantage of being a part of the long time and much loved STAR WARS™ franchise.
Half-Life: Alyx VR
Just like Star Wars, Half-Life and the intrepid scientist Gordon Freeman has made it's mark in the gaming world for already so many years. HL is like a household name for gamers and the story line (since the first game) has captured the hearts and gaming time of millions of gamers through the years. The teamwork of Gordon and Alyx Vance has made such a robust and solid story line coupled with the FPS game mechanics of the previous games. Now, Valve releases a new leaf in the overall story in VR where the player gets to play Alyx in an event just before she and Gordon got to hook-up with each other on the quest to save their time-line reality. The VR is awesome and the game mechanics specifically designed for it. The voice acting is good as well (though some of the original casts had to be replaced). The story line will grab you as it sort of twists the original timeline and deviates from it presenting a new direction for players and fans to think about. HL: Alyx was already much anticipated from the get-go and more than satisfactorily delivered what the fans wanted and expected when it finally came out.
And there you have it, five top game nominees for Steam's VR Game of the Year Award. All of the games are good and have contributed to the gaming world in their own unique ways. However, despite relying on the strength of the Half-Life franchise, Alyx has presented a novel story-line twist and a user friendly game mechanic for playing it in VR. It will probably be a stiff competition with Star Wars but not everyone is inclined or has access to advanced flight combat peripherals needed to fully enjoy being a VR starfighter pilot. Also, Alyx VR has a very strong player/user base which has built up during the current pandemic. With that said, HL: Alyx is likely to emerge on top of the VR game competition, but then, your guess is as good as mine.