CS:GO VR: Is it Real?

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man in VR headset standing in front of a computer

As the technology advances, we as gamers are slowly introduced more and more to serious titles utilizing the virtual reality’s range of possibilities, instead of being constantly fed with colorful, Sunday afternoon games. Having a proper Counter-Strike port to the VR devices would be a dream for every maniac of the constant heroes-villains struggle. However, it’s a sad fact that CSGO in VR is still not available.

There could be a couple of reasons for that. It would be unfair to say that Valve is ignoring virtual reality gaming. Not only there is a growing base of headset-and-pilot-ready games in Steam Store, but also they’ve decided to refresh the carrying franchise, Half-Life, with a VR game, namely Half-Life: Alyx, being a prequel to HL2 and its two extra episodes. It’s safe to assume that this game’s reception will be crucial for further plans of developing landmark Valve games in that technology. In the meantime, let’s see if there’s anything similar to CSGO that can serve as a satisfying counterpart while we wait for events to unfold.

What are the VR alternatives to CSGO?

While nothing compares to the mighty Counter-Strike, it’s not very challenging to find a good instance of a VR game like CSGO. Zero Caliber seems to be aiming at a similar vibe, yet without the glamour of colorful weapon skins and more into the dirty battlefield feel. Fans of a more futuristic setting might want to check out Iron Blood, which is all about dynamic and frantic gameplay. If you have a decent gaming PC to handle the rendering, you may also check out Contractors, last year’s early-stage release praised for its efficient use of Unreal Engine and advanced kinetics tracking the movement of the whole body with extra plugins for standard VR equipment.

What’s interesting, even the best games in that vein cannot compare to a single project, which is still in development, but has already garnered a great following and is widely appraised on the Internet, and it’s called Pavlov.

The Best CSGO VR Alternative

At first glance, Pavlov might not seem like much. The models and the engine look a little bit dated before the premiere took place, but it’s all compensated by a swift model of VR steering that implements pseudo-realistic movements needed to do even the basic things like pulling out a knife or reloading a gun. This, on one hand, leads to funny-awkward situations like not being able to handle your gun properly or dropping the weapon, on the other hand, is very immersive and eventually can lead to tricks like sneaking up on someone and pulling out the cartridge from their gun. The big, undeniable plus of the game is that it has a livid community workshop that supplemented the map roster with a lot of map ports from CSGO, which is why it’s popular among CSGO players. Also, the choice of guns is obviously based on those found in Counter-Strike games, with a small variation when it comes to heavy guns. It also means that mechanics, like throwing smoke grenades and holding angles, are very portable. Below’s a quite entertaining video of ZF clan fooling around in Pavlov (warning, slightly explicit content).

Getting ready for VR shooters

It’s worth keeping in mind that although the virtual reality is not a fresh thing and it in its most available form does not reach the best quality performance, it still needs decent hardware to operate. First of all, check if your computer specs meet the requirements of the games you want to play. While many modern titles are quite resource-consuming, Pavlov can run even on weaker PCs. Still, if you’re lacking in RAM or GPU, it might be a good idea to upgrade first before you get ultimately frustrated with your gaming station. If that’s settled, look for a VR headset that will allow you to view the game world in full 360. There are many different products, along with a Steam-default set, but you have to check what suits you best. Last but not least, you need some hand controllers. These might come in a package with the headset, but not necessarily. You can also look for gadgets like the BeswinVR Vive Gun controller, which simulates the grip of a rifle or an SMG.

Will CSGO VR take long to come around?

The main obstacle a potential VR version of CSGO would need to overcome is the precision and pace of VR-controlled gameplay. Counter-Strike’s rhythm has been refined through the years and it’s a competitive game that specifically demands fast reactions and high accuracy. The upside of a keyboard-and-mouse control is that people with low stamina and a less sporty constitution can develop a good reflex to respond to the shooter’s challenges. In VR, your player character is as quick as you are. Additionally, even with a good eye, one can be not able to aim precisely to fulfill the task that a classic CS hit-scan provides. It a pretty safe bet that a legit, playable version of VR CSGO would need to wait until the technology develops some sort of an augmented precision interface. Keep in mind that the premiere and reception of Half-Life: Alyx might be a big step towards that direction.

So, how to play CSGO in VR in summary?

As we’ve shown above, a CSGO VR game is still miles away. We can blame that on many factors, two of them being the technological limitations and a lack of a specific idea on how to convert CSGO dynamics into a fully interactive experience. We’ve got games that can play the part, like Pavlov, and they will surely bring many more notions to the table. Those willing to battle the terrorists in virtual reality need to be patient and look out for any news following other Valve VR games’ releases.

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