For those who don’t know, you can now play Fallout 4 in VR, thanks to the release of version four of the Vireio Perception injection driver. The software is still in its alpha phase, but nevertheless, I decided to try it on Bethesda’s latest adventure into the post-apocalyptic Wasteland.
After downloading and then running the software (the developers mentioned that you should run it with system administrator privileges to prevent any issues), I found that I had to tweak various in-game graphics—such as ambient occlusion, depth of field, radial blur, decals and water reflections—to make sure the VR experience worked. The easy way to access these settings was to get a specific mod for the game called “Fallout 4 Tweaker.”
With the mod installed and the specified settings disabled, I activated the game’s launcher before opening the Vireio software. (Both programs had to open in this order, otherwise the software wouldn’t properly inject into the game.) After that, it was a matter of putting on the Rift headset to begin play.
Up Close And Personal
One of the unique controls with Vireio is the ability to zoom out by pressing and holding the middle mouse button or the left analog stick (if you’re using an Xbox controller). You can also zoom in on your Pip-Boy with the Left Shift key or the Back button on the Xbox controller. Zooming out is particularly useful because it’s hard to see most of the in-game UI in VR. From the moment you see the main menu, you have to zoom out in order to see each selection. The same goes for some of the gameplay UI, such as when you have to enter a Power Armor suit or search the contents of a dead body or safe.
You can also make some adjustments to the field-of-view by pressing CTRL and Q together. Unfortunately, it didn't improve on the UI presentation.
Then there’s the gameplay itself. I can control where my character looks just by moving my head around. However, I also had to walk around the level. Overall, the combined movement makes for a nauseating experience similar to Minecraft in VR. On top of that, there were still some latency issues with the software, as well as various framerate fluctuations.
It took some time for my eyes to get acclimated to the game in VR; it felt like I was seeing double images in the center of my field of view. But after a few minutes, I adjusted sufficiently. Combat was intense, especially in VR and in first-person view. I could aim at an enemy with my head and just fire my gun.
At one point, I fought a Deathclaw with my minigun, which was exciting to say the least. When the Deathclaw grabbed me and roared in my face, I actually felt like it was right in front of me. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.
Work In Progress
In the end, I’m amazed that a handful of developers was able to bring Fallout 4 into VR. Of course, it would be helpful if the game supported VR natively, but it’s an exciting notion that it’s possible to make a game support the new medium even if it wasn’t intended to do so.
Granted, there are still some various hurdles to overcome on the software, but it’s not a bad start. We’ll undoubtedly see more progress over the next few months, but Vireio Perception definitely shows some promise.