If you follow TheGamer, you've probably noticed an up-tick in VR coverage over the last month. When it comes to VR, we weren't exactly early adopters: as a catergory, VR has been over-promising and under-delivering for decades. Going all the way back to the Virtual Boy, we've been told how immersive and interactive VR will be, yet the limitations of technology have always held it back and kept VR little more than a novelty.

Until now.

VR showed up in a big way at PAX West this year, and after trying out the latest and greatest from major developers like Insomniac and indie darlings like Schell Games, it was clearly time for us to jump in with both feet and see what VR in 2019 is all about.

RELATED: Insomniac's Stormland Gives Us Hope For VR

When it came to picking the right VR, we wanted something that could play the most possible games at the highest visual quality, something that wasn't prohibitively expensive for casual gamers, and something lightweight and comfortable that was easy to use. We landed on the Oculus Rift S as our VR of choice and couldn't be happier.

Why The Oculus Rift S

If you start exploring VR, you'll quickly find an absurd variety of headsets available. Just between Oculus, HTC, Valve, and PSVR there are half a dozen choices. On top of that are all of the windows mixed reality headsets from HP, Acer, and Dell, and the headsets that use your phone as a display like Samsung VR and Google Daydream.

Finding the right VR can be overwhelming, to say the least, but considering our priorities with VR, the Oculus Rift S was an obvious choice. We chose the Rift S based on 4 factors: ease of use, access to content, performance, and affordability.


Just Put It On And Go

The Rift S connects to your PC with a single cable. There are no sensors to set up, no camera, and it comes with 2 wireless controllers that sync instantly. Once you install the Oculus software, you need only put on the headset and you're off and running.

RELATED: Oculus Quest's Neural-Linked Hand Tracking May Change Gaming Forever

Once you're in, you can establish a safe zone by drawing a boundary line of the floor, meaning you can play in a room any size and shape safely without hitting walls or running into furniture. In-game, the boundary guide will appear when you get close to solid objects. It's an amazing feature that gives you a huge amount of freedom to enjoy your games without worrying about running into something.

The helmet is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to adjust. It even has a passthrough that lets you see your physical environment with the press of a button, which is very convenient for grabbing a sip to rehydrate or to avoid stepping on a cat. The helmet has a speaker, but you'll want to either connect earbuds to the headphone port or use your favorite wireless headset (The Astro A50 Wireless headset works wonderfully) - the sound on the Oculus should really only be used when there's no other option.

The Oculus interface is unbelievably intuitive. From the virtual club house, you can shop in the Oculus store, launch a game, use a virtual desktop with a virtual keyboard, adjust settings, and even decorate your clubhouse. The library imports your games from other platforms, like Steam VR, so you can have them all in one place. Though I occasionally have problems launching Steam games from the Oculus app, and switching to Steam VR is a bit of a hassle. But overall I rate the ease of use for the Rift S extremely high, even for VR noobs like me.

Play Everything, And More

Speaking of content, the Rift S has it all. From Beat SaberSuper HotArizona SunshineTetris Effect, to Until You Fall -  you name it, you can play it on the Rift S through either the Oculus Store, Steam VR, Epic, and even the subscription service Viveport (which offers 2 free months for Oculus users right now).

The recently announced Oculus Link for Quest will eventually give Quest users the option of connecting the wireless headset to PC to have access to the full Rift library. For now, the Rift S still offers the most games, including awesome Oculus exclusives like Lone Echo and Robo Recall. What's more, the Rift S offers a higher refresh rate and one more sensor than the Quest, making it a slightly-superior choice for gaming perfectionists.

Did I Mention How Much Fun The Rift S Is?

It really is. I hate to use the typical VR rhetoric of being "transported" and "fully immersed," but damn if it isn't 100% true. I've spent countless hours in Until You Fall fighting for my life against hordes of the undead and it makes me feel like a blood thirsty warrior. I've had intense emotional experiences playing Tetris Effect. I've dodged bullets in Super Hot, swung around like Spider-Man in Windlands, and faced my fear of heights in The Climb.

These experiences can only be had in VR, and the Oculus Rift S is really your one-stop shop for everything VR has to offer. You don't have to deal with setting up sensors, meaning it's also a great portable option, and it doesn't cost as much as a brand new computer. As I work my way through the Oculus backlog I'm finding incredible experiences left and right, with plenty of new ones coming out every week.


Stay tuned for more Oculus coverage here on TheGamer. We're excited to be part of the action and we'll be doing reviews, previews, guides, and more for Oculus games every week!

An Oculus Rift S was provided to TheGamer for this review. You can purchase an Oculus Rift S from Amazon, Best Buy, and the Oculus website.

READ NEXT: Ready Player One? Facebook and Oculus Announce Social VR Game To Give Your Online Persona An Avatar

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