Best open world VR games: No limits, explore these amazing worlds freely in virtual reality

Best open world VR games: No limits, explore these amazing worlds freely in virtual reality
As one might expect, VR gaming is on a whole new level compared to regular gaming – the immersion is real; you now get to explore gorgeous, impossible worlds, and do exciting, and impossible things.

However, any VR gamer would likely quickly realize that many games designed specifically for virtual reality are either casual experiences, or closed-arena online ones.

Where are the open VR games? What if you wish to dive into a virtual world without any limitations, head into any random direction, and just explore? Well, while there aren't many open world games made "specifically" for VR, there are some big ones that were ported to VR by their developers.

So here's the list of the best open world VR games you can play right now!

Also check out:

What you'll need for open world VR gaming

In order to play the best PC VR open world games out there you'll need a VR headset and a powerful enough gaming PC.

We have recommended specs below if you need to take a look at those, but it's important to note that each game has its own minimum and recommended specs requirements, so it's best to check those out on Steam, for the particular game you want to play.

You'll also want to have some roomspace for your open-world VR gaming. Although some VR games can technically be played sitting down, most are meant for you to play them standing up, and with enough free space around you, for you to be able to extend your arms freely, at the very least.

Best open world VR games right now

Note: You'll need a VR headset and a powerful gaming computer to run the following VR games smoothly.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR

Price: $59.99

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Ah, Skyrim. Perhaps one of the most re-released games ever, it also (luckily for us VR gamers!) received a VR re-release, which is compatible with pretty much any mainstream VR headset out there.

The best part is that due to its age, this game isn't as graphically intensive as some other, more modern VR games, so you're most likely to be able to run this one, even with a modest gaming PC. In fact, I was able to play it on a budget gaming laptop, so – great news, right?

In any case, Skyrim VR takes you into the wonderful, magical open world region of Skyrim, located in Tamriel, according to the game lore. The area you'll be able to explore is huge, littered with interesting small and large towns to explore, caves and dungeons to survive through and loot, and people to talk to and get quests from.

The locations you'll see are pretty beautiful even to this day – tall, snowy mountains, grassy plains covered with unusual flora, forgotten, retro-futuristic ruins covered with traps, protected by wicked creatures and steampunk machines…

Even simply standing near a lake and looking at the starry sky at night, in Skyrim VR, is magical. You'll see several moons behind smooth clouds, or if you're particularly lucky – even a colorful, northern lights-type phenomena in the sky – it's all pretty gorgeous to look at.

With all that in mind, Skyrim VR is arguably the most engaging open world VR game to dive into and explore right now.

Fallout 4 VR

Price: $59.99

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From the same developers of Skyrim and Skyrim VR comes Fallout 4 VR – a post-apocalyptic, retro-futuristic open world VR game based on the same engine, but featuring that entirely different setting. And different weapons!

If you're not fond of exploring Skyrim with a bow and arrow, or a sword, how about exploring the open world of Fallout 4 in VR, with an arsenal of guns and a backpack full of grenades? Or maybe even while wearing power armor with a jetpack mod? It's all here!

The open world of Fallout 4 VR isn't quite as gorgeous as Skyrim, but again – if you're not a fantasy fan and prefer the retro-futuristic vibes of Fallout, this game is hard to beat. It's technically a first person shooter first and foremost, but it does still retain plenty of RPG elements, and most importantly – thanks to its simple FPS, yet open world design – it's pretty perfect for VR.

Explore the world, interact with townspeople, take on quests, meet and hang around with new companions, or dive into the main, branching quest line – it's all up to you!

No Man's Sky VR

Price: $59.99

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Although it had a rocky launch, No Man's Sky has gone a long way over the recent years, and is now technically the biggest open world VR game ever. It offers an entire universe for you to explore!

Just look at the numbers – we have 256 galaxies with over eighteen quintillion procedurally generated planets to discover and land on! That's an 18, followed by 19 zeros!

So yeah, this is by far the biggest VR game world you can explore, technically. Jump into your ship, head into any direction, and you'll stumble upon a new planet you can land on, explore the local wildlife, trade with any intelligent creatures you may encounter, gather supplies, and continue onwards through the galaxy!

It's worth pointing out that flying VR open world games like this one may be a bit uncomfortable for some players, due to the fact that depending on how you fly, it can start feeling like an amusement ride with lots of loops.

Not that flying is all you can do in this game – you can, of course, get out of your ship and explore planets on foot also, so you're not limited in any way.

Elite Dangerous

Price: $29.99

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Like No Man's Sky VR, Elite Dangerous is an open world VR game that has you flying through space, but a game with a much longer legacy.

As opposed to the more fantastical style of No Man's Sky, Elite Dangerous is technically a space flight simulation game, a bit more grounded in realism, although… to be fair, as realistic as a space flight game can be.

As a new player, you start with a spaceship and a bit of money to get you going, faring an open world galaxy waiting for you to explore it, and roleplay as whatever type of character you may want to be. The goal of the game, similarly, is also whatever you set it to be for yourself.

Will you aim to gather as much supplies and earn as much money as possible, or are you purely interested in exploration? Either way, this is one of the best open world VR games for you to dive into, but again, as long as you don't have a tendency to get dizzy from flying VR games.

Best non-VR open world games that you can mod to run in VR

The following is not recommended for anyone but experienced gamers, who know about modding and tinkering with game files. The results from modding a non-VR game to run in VR are often nowhere near as smooth as simply playing a game designed for VR by its original developers.

With that in mind, it can be pretty fun to get non-VR games running in VR, and as someone who does that a lot, I'm happy to report that there is one game that I'd highly recommend, albeit it requires some very high specs from your PC…

Cyberpunk 2077

Price: $59.99 (+$10 for the VR mod)

We've made a dedicated article explaining how to run Cyberpunk 2077 in VR by modding it, so if you're up for the challenge, and more importantly – you have a very powerful graphics card on that gaming PC of yours – it's definitely worth giving that a go!

Speaking from experience, playing Cyberpunk 2077 in virtual reality is incredible. Although you're relying on a mod made by one person for this job, so the game doesn't play as perfectly in VR as a "normal" VR game like the ones from our previous list, you're still getting to explore Night City like never before.

I've clocked in over 97 hours of Cyberpunk 2077 in VR alone, just powering up my character and exploring the city and its outskirts, after completing the main quest line and all the side quests, and I'm still not bored.

Walking or driving around Night City in virtual reality is a pretty magical experience, so if you have the technical know-how to mod your games, and again – a powerful enough computer, it's very much worth it diving into Cyberpunk 2077 in VR.

What are the minimum system requirements for open-world VR gaming?

We'll consider Skyrim VR as the benchmark for the minimum PC specs needed in order for you to enjoy open world VR gaming at a decent framerate, and with decent clarity:

Minimum requirements:
  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-6600K or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD RX 480 8GB or better

Recommended requirements:
  • OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB / AMD RX Vega 56 8GB

Note that each individual game above has different minimum and recommended requirements listed on its Steam page, so be sure to check those out before you pull the trigger on a purchase.

Can I play open world VR games without a dedicated gaming PC?

What about Quest 2 open world games? The Quest 2, and now the Quest 3, are standalone VR headsets, after all, so can you just play open world VR games on it, without needing a gaming PC?

Well, unfortunately the Quest 3 isn't powerful enough to run games at this scale. It's basically an Android device, with modest specs, and that comes with its technical limitations, which are pretty severe if we compare it to a modern gaming PC.

So unfortunately, a gaming PC, in addition to a VR headset like the Quest 3, is required for you to enjoy some huge, open world PC VR games.

There is a glimpse of hope, however, that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas could get re-released in virtual reality, on the Quest 3.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has mentioned that the game was being ported to VR for the Quest 3 a while ago, albeit there haven't been any news since, so we can only hope the project hasn't gotten canceled. Because GTA: San Andreas would be a huge open world VR game addition for the Quest 3, running directly on it, and as such, will not require a gaming PC.
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