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The Best VR Games Of 2020

Virtual reality was booming in 2020, especially amid COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions. As Voices reported, more people than ever before were using those futuristic VR headsets to transport themselves to alternate realities and do things they could no longer do under lockdown. Virtual reality wasn't limited to gaming in 2020, with programs like Spatial providing virtual office experiences and Nature Treks VR sending users on a virtual hike. In a time filled with uncertainty, the ability to escape to another realm became more important than ever.


Of course, VR still played a prominent role in the gaming industry in 2020, with more than 30 major VR titles released during the year, including Iron Man VR, Dreams, Phantom: Covert Ops, and more. Plus, 2020 saw the release of Facebook Technologies' Oculus Quest 2, a standalone and PC-compatible VR gaming headset. It's been a big year for VR, so let's take a look at some of the year's best VR games.

Half-Life: Alyx

Valve's Half-Life: Alyx, released in March 2020 for Microsoft Windows and Linux, is set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Players take control of Alyx Vance, a woman in her mid-twenties who attempts to capture a superweapon from the alien empire known as Combine. The game incorporates physical puzzles, survival horror elements, and combat as players use VR to manipulate their surroundings with "gravity gloves." Half-Life: Alyx became an important title for Valve, which saw sales on its Index VR headset double following the game's announcement.


Half-Life: Alyx received high scores on Metacritic. In addition, VG247's Kirk McKeand praised the first-person shooter game's intense moments and the "natural" interplay between characters. "In these crazy times it's so hard to focus on anything, but a VR set and Alyx is like your own personal headcrab, blocking out the senses and letting you puppeteer someone through a series of events where you're the sole agent of change," McKeand wrote. Half-Life: Alyx went on to become one of Metacritic's most top-rated PC games of all time.

The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners

Skydance Interactive's The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is a first-person shooter horror game based on The Walking Dead comic book series by Robert Kirkman. Players make their way through a broken New Orleans filled with walkers and decide along the way what type of person they want to be: will you help survivors or take them down? Hide behind cover, craft weapons, and scale buildings, then partake in intense melee combat.


Saints and Sinners was released in January for PSVR, Mac, and PC. IGN's Gabriel Moss rated the game a 9 out of 10, calling it "a noteworthy step forward for VR gaming." Moss praised Saints and Sinners' portrayal of killing zombies, noting that it has "never felt more satisfying. Plus, the review noted that Saints and Sinners provided some of the most terrifying experiences in a VR headset that Moss ever had. At this point, this game is the closest thing The Walking Dead fans can get to being in the comics and television show.


Kinetic Games' Phasmophobia was released in Early Access via Steam in September, and within a month it became the sixth-most popular game on Twitch and the best selling game on Steam globally, as GamesRadar reported. Players join a group of up to four people as ghost hunters who specialize in urban settings. There are 12 different varieties of ghosts, all of which behave differently, and players must collect evidence to determine which type a ghost is. Although Phasmophobia is not a VR-only title, it does have VR support.


Phasmophobia has seen huge success and received rave reviews from critics. Medium called the horror game a "terrifying experience" that works "exceptionally well" with friends. "Phasmophobia did nothing short of putting me through the horror wringer," reviewer Paul Lombardo wrote. Phasmophobia was only supposed to be in Early Access for a short time, but because of its success, Kinetic Games developer Dknighter decided to keep it there even longer to make improvements. At the time of this writing, a date for Phasmophobia's official release has not been announced.