VR in 2020 – Is It Worth It?


"VR" by gordonplant (CC BY 2.0)

For gamers, now is the time to consider purchasing a VR system, like the one pictured here (HTC Vive VR headset with 2 controllers).

Virtual Reality (VR) was one of the most talked about new technologies in the last decade, but as of now, there has not been too much buzz around the topic, and many are considering the technology abandoned. That is not the case, as I had the opportunity to buy Valve’s relatively new Index VR headset, and try it for myself. 

I bought four games with the headset, as, after reading the online reviews about them, they are essential parts of a VR game library. One of them, however, is Half Life: Alyx, which is coming out March 23, so I have not had the opportunity to play it. On top of this, I also tried watching a feature length movie in VR, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.

VR Game Reviews

Beat Saber is a game that’s a combination of Fruit Ninja and Guitar Hero, where you slice objects to the beat of music. I found the game to be incredibly fun, as long as you have enough space to swing your arms and not toss a picture frame off your shelf. The game is both simple and addictive, and in some cases, even a workout. There’s also a 360 degree mode, where you have to do the same thing but all around you, which makes for a more challenging but interesting game-play. I don’t recommend playing that mode unless your headset of choice is wireless.

Hot Dogs, Horseshoes, an Hand Grenades is a VR game that proves realism and fun can go hand-in-hand.

Hot Dogs, Horseshoes, and Hand Grenades is less of a game on it’s own, and more of a collection of games. There’s everything from a VR gun range, a near-full VR port of Team Fortress 2, and a zombie-themed shooter game, among others. The details in this game are mind-blowing, with the player having to do everything from cock the gun, to turn off the safety when they want to fire it. It even has a fun twist: the enemies and NPCs in the game are not humans, but instead, they are hot dogs. 

GORN is a cartoonish, gore gladiator simulator where you fight AI Gladiators to the death with everything from your fists to a giant mace. It’s fun to actually get blocked by an enemy and have to move your body to get around it. The game-play is simple yet fun, and while it is not realistic, that might be for the better. You can do anything from ripping your opponent’s arm off to beating them to a pulp, and it makes for a wild game-play experience.

VR Movie Review

Watching videos in VR is honestly less than stellar. It feels like needing glasses to see properly if you focus on something too long, and you’re simply better off looking at a TV or monitor in that respect. The details and colors look too washed-out to pay attention to details in the movie.

My headset, the Valve Index, has the best displays in any VR Bundle, so that does not bode well for the more budget-friendly headsets on the market. However, there is an explanation for this: the display in a headset is designed for smooth motion, rather than pure image quality. So, you may just want to buy a 4K TV instead if you’re looking for a device to watch movies on.


While it makes games more immersive and opens up new possibilities and genres,  VR just isn’t too useful beyond gaming. However, if gaming is what you’re looking for, the fact that Valve is set to release Half-Life: Alyx in March 2020, now is time to strike as the game might open up the floodgates for others, which would catapult VR into the mainstream. 

Traditionally, when Valve releases a new Half-Life game, it’s nothing short of a technological marvel that paves the way for the future. Half-Life 2, for example, pioneered the use of the Source engine, a game engine that aged like fine wine, with games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive still using it today. Now, this new Half-Life entry comes with a new engine designed for VR, and it could be the same kind of pioneer that Half-Life 1 and 2 were. This could be the killer app VR has lacked for years.

If you have the space for it, and the budget (a Valve Index Kit goes for $999 and an Oculus Quest goes for $399) then you might just want to pick one up. The games, the hardware, and the content are all there now, and it’s better than ever.