A Tale of Two Underwater VR Games


Throughout the years, I’ve played numerous first person games. These games are often considered some of the most immersive games on the market because you see the events of the game unfold as if you were witnessing them with your very own eyes. When you apply VR to such games this furthers the immersive quality by giving you the 360 capability to look in any direction without the aid of a controller or keyboard. However, there is often a debate that first person games don’t convert seamlessly to VR. I decided to personally put this theory to the test today.

Within my Steam library I only have two VR games that I originally played without a headset. One is called “Subnautica” while the other is “Narcosis”. Though they come from very different genres, they both happen to take place underwater. For both games I had to use a mouse and keyboard with the VR headset in order to enable the full functionality of the game. This took a little bit away from the independence of VR, but overall was not a large hindrance. The aspect I enjoyed the most was being entirely transported to another world. This was especially the case with “Subnautica”. Having scuba-dived when I was younger I was pleasantly surprised that “Subnautica” in VR was able to mimic the freedom that comes with it. Looking around and being surrounded by colorful underwater aliens was an exciting experience.

“Narcosis” on the other hand, was also enjoyable, but for an entirely different reason. “Narcosis” is a game in which you are trapped within a futuristic, dive suit at the bottom of the ocean while trying to survive. You don’t have the freedom of swimming through different environments like “Subnautica”, but are instead weighed down by the sheer mass of the suit. Its large and claustrophobic, but it definitely adds to the horror aspect of the game. The bottom of the ocean is already a mysterious and scary place, so being transported to it with the use of a VR headset increases the fear aspect of the game. It’s one thing to see terrifying ocean creatures on a screen versus having them swim right in front of your face.  

Though the controls aren’t as seamless as they would be without using the headset, the immersive quality of VR overshadows these setbacks. I would definitely replay these games entirely in VR, and recommend others to also do so!

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