Skyrim is one of the all-time greats in the gaming genre. It had everything from flexible combat allowing you to play as a warrior, thief, mage, archer, or a combination of the 4 and induced some of the most wondrous moments I’ve experienced in gaming to date.
Then Skyrim VR came out and the game felt new again. Experiencing these sights, sounds, and feelings in VR is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed and that’s not an exaggeration. It is astonishing. Thankfully, the experience came to PC shortly after PSVR and that’s when the magic really took off with the help of all the Skyrim VR mods. New areas, magic, weapons, characters, it’s literally endless and the best part about the mods is how they increase your physical activity to both increase immersive-ness and in turn provide nice little workout as well. If you’re unclear on how to add mods to Skyrim, check that out.
While we have covered how you can burn 1000 calories in Skyrim VR, here are some mods to go one step further and turn the world of Tamriel into your own gym.
VRIK Player Avatar
As great as Skyrim VR is on its’ own, it didn’t do enough to make you fully feel like you were there wielding the swords, pulling the bows back, or casting the spells. VRIK is here to fix that! Giving you a fully seeable body, arms, legs; you are now fully there. VRIK goes above and beyond the call, allowing your real-life movements to finally be reflected in-game. The fitness aspect of this comes into play with the equip-able holsters. This means you’re going to be reaching over your shoulders each time you want to grab your bow or down your leg if you want to whip out a dagger quickly. It makes you feel like an absolute badass when you can start a battle with a bow, fire an arrow, run up to your opponent, grab a dagger from your leg and cut your enemy down in swift motion. With up to 14 equip-able holsters visible on your body, your options for combat are nearly limitless and it works as a great warmup for the next mods.
Simple Realistic Archery
One of the best parts of Skyrim VR has been the archery. The near-perfect sequence of arrow to bow to release in VR feels so cool that it was disappointing the rest of the game never took the same care when it came to immersion. You simply notch an arrow, pull it back with your other hand, and then release. One issue about the archery though, is that you can fire so fast because the arrow in your hand NEVER disappears (unless you run out of arrows.) With this mod, you are now required to reach over your shoulder for each arrow. That adds a more realistic feeling to being an archer as well as providing an even more potent arm workout than it usually would firing arrows. The mod also allows you to bind up to 25 arrows to different buttons so you can quickly pullout which one you need per the situation. I would advise switching your primary hand back and forth between battles so each arm gets an equal workout. This mod will have the archers of Skyrim VR sore in the best way after a session.
Tweaking the ini. file with Skyrim VR Configuration tool
[VRInput] fShieldLinearVelocityThreshold=4.5000 fMeleeLinearVelocityThreshold=6.0000
If Skyrim VR has one big issue it’s the melee combat. It’s weightless and you can simply wave your hand around like you’re hailing a cab and take out an entire group of enemies. The reason for that is you aren’t required to put any force into your swing for it to register. Not anymore. This isn’t exactly a mod, just a tweak you can make within your Skyrim VR preferences file. That being said, this is a HUGE tweak that changes the gameplay and makes Skyrim VR a much more sweat-inducing experience. You will find the above settings inside the Skyrim VR Configuration Tool. Simply copy and paste those into the search bar and edit the numbers. What these changes do is make it so that your weapon needs a strong force behind it to register. That means you’re going to be putting some heavy swings into taking your opponents out. If you’re a dual wielder or one-handed weapon user, this is going to whip you into shape real quick. It’s simple, if you don’t swing as hard as you can, your weapon won’t register as attacking and you’re going to be destroyed pretty fast. I found that 6.000 is the threshold best suited for me, but you can lower it and test for yourself how hard you want to swing. By using this strictly during a game session, you will really feel like you’re fighting and a finishing blow will be more satisfying because now you’ll feel as if your strength was the reason. This can also be applied to unarmed combat as well and you can turn Skyrim VR into a fantasy boxing match. Your shield bashes are also now required to be swung faster as well. This tweak amplifies combat and provides a great arm workout.
Worried about becoming top-heavy from too much combat? Well going to the menu, accessing VR settings, and setting physical sneak on, you will get a great leg workout if you decide to become a stealthy assassin. Physical sneak allows you to crouch down in real life and have your in-game avatar follow while activating Skyrim VR’s sneak function. This makes you less visible to enemies and able to do double damage if you can attack them without being spotted. This provides even greater exercise as you can combine this with Simple Realistic Archery and work both legs and arms at the same time making for an exciting and tiring combat experience. Depending on the amount of room you have, you can also sneak around your play area to increase the immersion and give your legs even more of a workout. You can also use physical sneak as a dodging tool as well. Arrows fired at your head can be easily avoided by ducking and the same goes for spells and spears being thrown at you too.
Weapon Throw VR
Skyrim VR offers a ton of combat options, throwing your weapon however was impossible, until now. With Weapon Throw VR, your sword or ax can be thrown Thor style at your enemies and even more impressive is that it has auto-return and auto-aim options to make your life a bit easier. You can access the mod options in the mod section of the in game menu. Load up the mod into Vortex or your preferred mod organizer and you’re good to go. This mod is also directly affected by the ini. file tweaks suggested above, so really putting your all into the throw will yield better exercise results as well as more satisfying visual feedback. This is a newer mod, but it has become an absolutely essential one
Dragonborn Speaks Naturally
Did you know that speaking can be exercise? Believe it or not it can. Though normal speaking doesn’t offer much in the way of a calorie burn, intensive speaking such as singing and yelling can definitely qualify as exercise. With this amazing mod, every word in the game can be spoken through your headset during dialogue portions, and even better is the fact that all shouts can now be spoken as well. That means if you’re okay sounding like a maniac, yelling “Fus-Roh-Da!” into your mic will now trigger your shout in-game and although it will leave you out of breath when used in coercion with these other mods, it’s an absolute go-to in my mod list. The process of activating the mod is a bit more extensive than most mods. You have to enable your computer’s speech recognition option for it to work. A search in the main menu of your PC will reveal this option. Simply set it to listening and you’re all set.
While this can be tricky to set up, if you have access to a treadmill, instead of jogging while watching TV, you can instead take a jaunt around one of the most beautiful gaming worlds in existence. With a little bit of practice, you can learn to run at the same speed your character runs in-game. This means you’ll have to have the unlimited sprint mod enabled so there’s no jarring changes in speed. Don’t worry about combat during this time as you’re only looking for a running workout and trying to mix this with attacking will likely end up with something being broken (either you or a household item) While you’re on the treadmill, don’t fast travel. Walk or run everywhere. You can always hop off of it once combat starts and be able to safely shift back and forth after a little practice.
These mods and ideas not only turn Skyrim VR into a great workout but also a more fun and immersive game as well. Are there some mods that I’ve left out? I would love to hear suggestions for other mods that require more physical activity as well.