I’ve always found that one of the best parts of VR is its ability to put you into situations that are both familiar and foreign while being fairly accurate to each one. You obviously won’t be flying massive spaceships across the universe, but it’s also pretty likely that you won’t be commanding a troop of medieval soldiers across a massive battlefield any time soon either, and yet despite that, you will find both of the situations feeling pretty realistic. Then there are the games that manage to take incredibly realistic scenarios like piloting boats or planes and go into such intricate detail with how they work that you can often find them endorsed by professionals of the craft about how accurate it is to the real thing.
I’ve been playing VR for quite a few years at this point, and I’ve come across tons of games that both put me into the fantastical realm as well as the realistic one. Surprisingly, there are so many games out that aim to simulate how something would really work rather than over-the-top depictions of it, and those are generally the games that are the most fun to me.
Whether you’re looking to learn something through a game in terms of history or just trying to see what a VR developer’s approximation of how a spaceship would steer through space, there are tons of VR simulation options, and we’re going to go through the best ones to get you the experience you’re looking for. In no particular order, these are the best VR simulation games.
- Accurate simulation
- Endorsed by professionals
- Lifelike mechanics
Bottom Line Up Front
The best VR simulation game is Elite Dangerous. It combines amazingly in-depth mechanics with graphics that will leave your jaw on the floor at times, and despite its decently complex learning curve, it’s a journey worth taking.
Best VR Simulation Games
Developer: Frontier Developments
Genre: Space Exploration Sim
Elite Dangerous is a game that’s been out long before VR hit the mainstream, but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the best VR games you could possibly find. Players need to take note that although this is a space-fairing adventure, this is as far a cry from Star Wars as you could possibly imagine. What’s on the docket here is a game so hardcore in its simulation of what it would be like to steer a massive spacecraft across endless galaxies on a mission to explore the universe.
Just getting your ship into orbit is a trek in itself, and I’ve never seen a game that takes its flying mechanics so seriously. You will need to take notes in real life on what you’re supposed to do to pull off maneuvers like refueling, navigation, and even just changing speeds.
These are things we take for granted in most games, but in Elite Dangerous, the game wants you to imagine the struggle it would really be to be a new pilot exploring space. Once you get your bearings and learn how all the systems work, the game is almost a meditative experience, and although there is plenty of combat and missions to take part in, the most powerful moments for me were simply steering the ship to the next destination while watching asteroids and stars pass me by.
It’s truly an unforgettable experience that very much deserves your attention.
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes, and Hand Grenades (H3VR)
Developer- RUST LTD.
Genre: Shooter Sim, Arcade Action
Despite the fact that the only real enemies you’re going to be facing while playing the game are a collection of different kinds of sentient hot dogs, the H3VR has become a massive hit thanks to its incredible realization of gun mechanics in the VR world. Plenty of games have reload mechanics and weight simulation when it comes to weaponry, but for some reason, H3VR is the most elite experience you can have in that regard.
Each weapon feels completely unique from the next one, and there are tons of game modes to take part in that, while seeming silly in many ways, do a great job in showing off just how realistic these weapons feel. The audio is incredible as well, and no gun bursts through my headphones like the assault rifles you have access to in H3VR.
If the base game doesn’t thrill you long enough, there are tons of mods for the game, including brand new weapons, enemies to fight, maps to play, and even completely new modes. It’s as good as a simulation as you can find in VR when it comes to firing guns; you just have to accept that the things on the receiving end will be a less than realistic foe.
Blade And Sorcery
Genre: Adventure, Medieval Combat Sim
Steam Rating: 96%
It’s a very difficult thing to simulate melee combat in VR, and this is especially true when dealing with medieval weaponry and armor. Despite the obvious challenges that take place in trying to make an experience like this work, the miraculous and small team at WarpFrog managed to make the impossible work in Blade and Sorcery.
Yes, a game with magic in it isn’t exactly what you’re going to be thinking about when it comes to a simulation game, but the fact is that the weapon mechanics here are second to none when it comes to realistic sword fighting in VR. There are endless weapons to choose from, and each has a specific weight to it that you can feel while wielding it.
Blades clash against blades and shields, and while it’s a little disturbing for sure, the damage physics in this game are crazy realistic, with stabbing attacks and slashing attacks feeling appropriately brutal.
It doesn’t just stop with the weapons, though, as the implementation of armor into the game is incredible as well, and swinging at the head of an enemy wearing a helmet will have your sword clanging off the top of their head, and you’ll have to get creative with how you approach enemies with different levels of armor. There are tons of mods for this one that add weapons, spell levels, modes, armor, and so much more to the game that you can customize it pretty much endlessly if you’d like.
Tales of Glory
Developer- BlackTale Games
Genre- Medieval War Sim
Steam Rating: 81%
Years ago, back in 2009, a game called Mount and Blade was released that aimed to take the medieval genre to the next level; the focus was to create a game that simulated medieval life as well as medieval warfare. Tales of Glory takes that exact blueprint and thrusts it into the VR world.
You play as a disgraced soldier looking to restore your family’s homeland, and in the process, you gather an army, consort with kings and generals, and either take part in another army’s war or build up an army in your own name. You need to manage the economy, keep your troops trained and fed, you also need to manage troop morale and keep your generals well supplied.
It’s a lot to manage, and while that may not sound like the most fun, you’ll also be taking place in massive 300 vs. 300 battles in castles, towns, villages, beaches, mountains, and a ton of other locales as well. You command your army in the game, so that means literally yelling out formations and directions with your voice.
After you’ve given your troops commands, you’ll be fighting as well with a variety of medieval weaponry, and the weapon physics are great here as you’ll be able to block attacks with shields and swords alike while also needing to employ tactics such as knocking a knight off his feet by attacking the legs in order to open up a killing blow.
There are multiple modes available, so you can just hop into a battle at any time if you’d like, and there’s also an arena mode to practice combat too. It’s made by one man, but the medieval simulation at play here is second to none, and there is no experience like it in VR.
Developer: Boundless Dynamics, LLC
Genre: Flight Sim, Aerial Combat Sim
Steam Rating: 97%
There are tons of flight simulators in VR to experience, but since we’re talking about the best, I don’t think any really hold a candle to VTOL VR when it comes to not only accurate flight simulation but also fun in general. VTOL VR puts you in the seat of a fighter pilot, and you’re given a large variety of fighter planes to choose from as you embark across this action-packed journey.
The graphics are nothing to write home about, but the juice here comes in the form of incredibly accurate flight mechanics mixed with full motion controller support, which is something most flight sims don’t actually have in VR. Every part of flight is modeled after real fighter jets, and that realism requires some careful attention to detail that you’ll have to pay in order to properly fly these planes.
Tutorials are abound here and pretty much necessary in a game like this that focuses so hard on the simulation, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll be soaring through the skies like a pro. There is a decently lengthy campaign, and there’s also a mission editor that allows you to create your own scenarios and download the ones that others have built for you. You might be able to find a flight simulator with better graphics, but none feel better handling the controls and the actual flying than VTOL VR.
Developer: Stress Level Zero
Genre- Physics sim, Shooter
Boneworks is an incredibly unique game in the VR space that would have much higher regard in the VR community if Half-Life: Alyx didn’t come out shortly after its release. Boneworks has possibly the most impressive physics system in all of VR. It fully simulates weapon and item weight as well as your own weight as it challenges you to a variety of physics-based puzzles as well as intriguing combat scenarios.
The game has you navigating a futuristic factory where things have gone haywire in a hurry, and it’s up to you to figure out just what is going on in this eerie place. You’ll be fighting off various robots, and other creatures with weapons like guns, swords, and massive hammers, and the physics system at play here supports it greatly.
There are sickening thuds and vibrations that happen when your sledgehammer smashes into a robot’s head, and the grabbing and climbing mechanics also come with that same level of authenticity. You will find yourself having one arduous workout while making your way through the various puzzles and combat scenarios because of it.
There are also tons of mods to alter the experience here as well as multiple modes that you can unlock, making the Boneworks experience one that will last you an impressive amount of time.
2MD VR Football Evolution
Developer: Truant Pixel, LLC
Genre: Football Sim
Steam Rating: 89%
It’s really difficult to nail a sports game in VR. While some games are suited for the genre like tennis and golf, others like football seem much tougher to pull off. That’s what makes 2MD VR Football Evolution so amazing. It’s a simple concept, draw up some plays and take a team of robots onto various over fields and try to score against another team in the 2-minute drill. What makes this become a full simulation game is when you take into account the throwing mechanics on display.
You can change the power of your throw from realistic to complete insanity, but the realistic throw is the best one because it takes into account not only your anticipation of routes by your receivers but also your ball placement, throwing motion, and throwing power.
Plenty of football players, specifically quarterbacks, have sung the praises of VR for how closely it can simulate parts of the game, and it’s because of VR games like this one that they show that praise. You will definitely have a sore arm after a while, but the incredible realism on display here, mixed with the ability to draw up any kind of play you’d like, makes this experience one that is truly endless with the amount of fun you can have.
The Thrill of The Fight
Developer: Sea lost Interactive LLC
Genre: Boxing Sim
Steam Rating: 95%
There are a bunch of more recent boxing games that have come to VR lately, but honestly, the original of the bunch is still the reigning heavyweight champion, and it’s honestly not even close. The Thrill of The Fight puts you through a gauntlet of boxing matches, and although the campaign mode doesn’t last that long, it leaves an incredible impact on you. The boxing here is completely physics-based, and that means you’ll be putting actual strength into your punches.
You can adjust this in the menu so that it’s almost a 1×1 representation of your actual strength, or you can alter it so you perform an instant knockout half the time; it’s up to you. Those that choose the realistic settings will be treated to several tough bouts against increasingly tough opponents that will cause you to strategize, keep your positioning in mind, as well as your space to dodge and sway between moves.
The Thrill of The Fight heavily emphasizes room scale, so you need to be sure you have some space to move around because you’ll be needing it as your opponent’s punches are physics-based as well, so you’ll need to be dodging around and ducking to avoid attacks on a regular basis. This is one of the best workouts I’ve ever had, period, and remains the standard for boxing games in VR.
Developer: Thomas van den Berge
Genre: Painting Sim, Educational
Steam Rating: 96%
VR is a passage into a world where you can become something you might not have necessarily thought you would become otherwise. For example, I’m not much of an artist. I’ve always enjoyed doodling around and whatnot, but never enough to take it seriously. It always seemed like I didn’t have the right pencils to sketch or the right paintbrush to paint, and it just seemed like too much to consider.
That’s why Vermillion VR blew me away. It treats you as if you’re the world’s most prolific painter and gives you every tool imaginable to do just that. Instead of worrying about purchasing expensive painting equipment, you will get everything imaginable that a painter could need here in an experience that transforms VR from a gaming platform into an artistic tool.
You can mix colors, change the size of your canvas, use a variety of different kinds of paints, and more without the worry of the cleanup or maintenance needed. You can save your paintings too, so there is never any need to rush. Obviously, using a paintbrush on an actual canvas would be more precise, but this is as close to that as you can find without splurging on an art studio space. Once you’re done with your painting, you can turn it into an 8K image or even make a 3D model of it.
Vermillion VR is a game that proves VR is not just a tool for gaming but a tool for teaching as well, and I can see it being used as a tool in schools in the near future.
Developer: Downpour Interactive
Genre: Military Sim
Steam Rating: 74%
If you’ve been in the VR space for a while, you’ve likely seen your fair share of VR shooting games. These come in all flavors, and even ones like H3VR come with their fair share of ridiculousness that might keep those looking for a fully immersive shooter engaged. That’s where Onward VR comes in.
This is an incredibly realistic and slow-paced military simulation that encourages teamwork and planning rather than sprinting around and jumping around while shooting guns. If Pavlov VR is Call of Duty, then Onward VR is definitely Rainbow Six.
There are definitely shooters with better graphics and more varied gameplay, but the shooting here is top-notch, as is the realism in the damage you take and what it really takes to line up the perfect shot on your enemy. There are solo missions, but you will get the most out of this experience online with friends. Firefights are incredibly intense here, and due to the full utilization of room-scale here, you can duck, lay on the ground, roll out of the way from a grenade, and anything else you might need to do to survive.
The guns are all very realistic feeling and require a specific reload technique as well, mirroring their real-life models. For those looking for something more methodical than Pavlov VR and more serious than H3VR, Onward VR is definitely the best military simulation you can find.
No Man’s Sky
Developer: Hello Games
Genre: Space Sim, Action-Adventure, Open World Multiplayer
When it comes to flat-out awe in VR, no game has consistently left me with my jaw on the floor more than No Man’s Sky. While Elite Dangerous is an incredible space travel simulator, it is only that. You don’t get to explore planets or really engage with the universe in any other way. No Man’s Sky is a full-fledged space exploration simulator.
There are literally thousands of planets for you to explore with fascinating new species to discover as well as aliens to interact with, strange structures to uncover, and even entire space stations to visit. This is very much a survival game, so you will need to maintain your oxygen levels as well as your suit temperature as you travel to these strange and dangerous worlds.
You will also be soaring through space in a variety of different space crafts, each one moving differently than the next while requiring careful control to pilot them efficiently.
The entire experience is entirely online, so you’ll get to explore the entire universe with friends if you want. You can also travel to other players’ bases, take part in special story add-ons called expeditions, and so much more than the experience is pretty much limitless. All of it is supported by some sharp VR physics that will have you manually pulling out weapons, using menus, and building different structures needed to survive in this mysterious universe.
There is no space exploration simulation close to what you’ll get with No Man’s Sky.
Genre: Winter Sports Sim
There haven’t been any great winter sports games in quite some time. It used to be a huge part of the videogame sports landscape, but in recent years it’s pretty barren title-wise. VR wouldn’t seem like the most obvious place to find a resurgence in winter sports games, but it certainly has one title worth taking a look at. Powder VR lets you choose skis, wingsuit, or snowboards and lets you loose on a variety of different mountains and trails.
The graphics here are great and gives you a perfect rendition of what it’s like to be on a high mountain in a blizzard tearing up the trails.
I’ll be honest, I suck at snowboarding, so when I tried this one in hopes of getting an accurate simulation of snowboarding, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I sucked at Powder VR too! One thing that stands out big time here is the simulation of speed. I felt real fear in this game when I would be tearing down the mountain at a breakneck speed, and the sound effects go a long way into making you feel that momentum build up.
You will actually have to sway your hips and upper body here to simulate the movements of skiing and snowboarding, and the result is a great physical experience that closely mimics the movements you’d make doing the actual acts.
I can’t speak for what wingsuits feel like in real life, but here they are incredibly fun to fly, and the feeling of building up speed while soaring down a snow-covered mountain on one of these things is simply electrifying. Powder VR deserves far more popularity than it’s gotten, and it’s the best winter sports simulator I’ve ever played.
Project Cars 3 VR
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Genre: Racing Sim
Racing games in VR are excellent in general, but few of them really focus on the simulation aspect in the way that Project Cars 3 VR does. You get an absurd selection of cars and vehicles to choose from as well as a ton of tracks to race on too. This series is known for being a racing simulator that takes no shortcuts in terms of ease of control, so I heavily recommend you get a racing wheel controller to make this not only more realistic but more fun as well.
This one is a bit more forgiving when it comes to the direct simulation aspect of the game, but the result is a game that feels far easier to play while also retaining a ton of realism as well. You will be driving to speeds exceeding 100 MPH, so right off the bat, you need to be prepared to face some wild speeds as it really does feel like you’re going that fast.
There are over 200 cars to race with more planned for additional content, and you have several modes to choose from, including online, career mode, custom races, and rival challenges. Of all the racing games I’ve tried in VR, Project Cars 3 VR is the most realistic and most accessible one I’ve seen, and it provides hours of fun; just be sure you grab that racing wheel first.
Question: Which is the Best VR Headset?
Answer: The Valve Index is the best overall headset. It has amazing resolution, the best controllers, and an impressive FOV that makes every VR game better because of it.
Question: Which is the Best VR Simulation?
Answer: Elite Dangerous is the most hardcore VR simulation that you can find. Its attention to detail is absurd and creates one of the most immersive simulations you could imagine.
Question: What is the Most Realistic VR Game?
Answer: Hot Dogs, Horse Shoes, and Hand Grenades depicts the most realistic gun usage in all of VR. Although you’re only shooting at sentient hot dogs in the game, the gun physics, sounds, and reload procedures are so intricately detailed that it’s hard to believe they aren’t actually in your hands.
VR finally takes the term “Sim” that’s been thrown around for decades and makes it a reality. These games require a lot of thinking and a lot of time in order to get the most out of them, and that’s because they all are dedicated to making the experience feel as realistic as possible. The range of games here is impressive too, so I’m betting that you’ll be able to find one that will fit what you’re looking for.