Despite it being considered one genre, VR melee combat games can have many different flavors. You’ve got the physics heavy experiences that rely on realism, the games that just give you crazy over the top powers, and let you roam wild, and then the combinations of the two that give you the best of both worlds. I myself prefer the mix of the two that make me feel superhuman, but every player will have their preferences. Some will love the amazing graphics and realistic combat, others will love the feeling of being a superhuman while following a stricter set of game rules. There is no wrong answer, it’s just your preference. Here are the 8 best melee experiences of all kinds in VR in no particular order.
If you’re interested in VR games that give a great workout and involve more than just combat, check our Top 25 Best VR Fitness Games.
8. Tales of Glory
While many of the games on this list will dazzle you with their graphics and physics systems, not too many will deliver a complete game experience in the way Tales of Glory will. Not only will you get to engage in some of the better Combat VR has to offer with a seemingly never-ending set of weapons, but you will be building your army from scratch, negotiating with Kings, betraying allies, and generally living a full-on medieval fantasy in VR. There is a full physics system at work that makes armorer enemies more difficult to deal with and gives us some of the most satisfying dismemberments around. My favorite part of the game is the jousting and tournament fights which really immerse you in the experience and shows the amount of care that went into this long in the making game. This is as a standout title in every way and it’s incredibly underhyped. The most amazing part of it all is it was created by a one-man development team. If medieval combat is your thing, there is no equal to the expansive experience that is available in Tales of Glory.
7. Until You Fall
In terms of a physics-based experience, Until You Fall pretty much doesn’t follow that formula. While some purists might feel this isn’t a good start for a VR melee experience, those people are wrong. Instead, Until You Fall creates a unique combat system that revolves around guard breaking and hitting the correct strikes in the correct directions. I was a bit put off by this hand-holding aspect at first, but that quickly dissipated as the game allows you to manipulate this system to your combat style in any way you can think of. The procedural generation makes it so the game is never the same twice and each time you fall, you get to upgrade your character so that the next run is more manageable. It’s both infuriating and genius in motion and should be a title looked at going forward on how to do VR melee combat without an elite physics system at work.
6. Swords of Gargantua
Everyone loves to use the phrase souls-like in the gaming world these days. I’m going to follow this trend and call Swords of Gargantua the Dark Souls of VR. It’s procedurally generated like Until You Fall, except there’s a full physics system at work here. You fight from arena to arena facing off against a variety of multi-sized enemies until you get to the boss. It’s a simple formula that stands out because of its fantastic combat system. You have to hit several spots to do the most damage, but you also have the ability to supercharge your weapons, dodge enemy attacks by darting your head left, right, forward, or backward and you can use a variety of different weapons as well. If you’re looking for a challenge that can be taken on with friends, Swords of Gargantua is about as good as it gets.
Ironlights delivers an extremely unique experience that pretty much stands alone in the VR world. It’s a multiplayer melee combat game which has you faced off against your opponent in an arena, each of you gets turns on offense and defense and you have a stamina pool to manage which tells you how much time you have left on the attack. It’s a clever mechanic that demands some serious strategy in order to best the more skilled opponents. When you block your opponent’s attacks, their weapon becomes useless and they must recharge it over their shoulder which, if you’re on offense, quickly creates a thrilling workout as you use every ounce of energy you have to unload attacks on your opponent before your stamina in-game and real-life runs out. The catch is that the combat is in slow motion and you have to be precise with your attacks otherwise you’ll basically outrun your own arms. There are a variety of different weapons to use and it’s supported heavily by the developer with an extremely active Discord community as well.
4. Swords of Gurrah
Not to be confused with Swords of Gargantua, Swords of Gurrah provides the one and only online arena-based multiplayer sword fighting game. Based in a futuristic setting, Swords of Gurrah relies on its unique combat system to get the juices flowing and it works perfectly. See, each time you hit an opponent, your weapon breaks, meaning you can’t just spam attacks and you have to wait a second to recharge. If you block with the right part of the blade though, your weapon will recharge faster and therefore give you a chance to get in a hit before your opponent gets their weapon back. With matches ranging from 1v1 to 10v10 and getting updates monthly, the variety of Swords of Gurrah is incredibly impressive and allows you to get in your melee fix any way you’d like it. There are multiple tournaments with cash prizes semi-monthly as well which ups the incentive to get better and better. The workout aspect is worth the price of admission alone too as you’ll burn tons of calories while working out just about everybody part as you’ll be ducking and dodging as well as attacking and blocking through your time with the game. The sci-fi setting gives a unique flavor to it as well and the world being created has a style all its own. As far as multiplayer melee titles go, this one stands alone as a must-have.
3. Skyrim VR
While you’ve been beaten over the head with Skyrim on everything from consoles to PC and even your Amazon Echo, it truly doesn’t compare to immersing yourself in the world of Tamriel from an in-person perspective like Skyrim VR grants you. While most will praise the game for its use of magic and archery in VR, playing as a melee character is plenty viable too. It’s not a physics-based system, but with some tweaks to the Ini settings which you can find out about right here (Skyrim Mods). The options for melee weapons are solid to start, but then you add the mods to it and you have a never-ending arsenal of weapons to fight with. The blocking mechanic works well enough in VR too and it never gets old running upon your enemies, activating a slow-motion dragon shout and taking out everyone like a medieval John wick. It’s also a great workout as well especially against some of the spongier enemies you’ll encounter throughout the game that can take more of a beating. You’re also able to dodge enemy weapons and spells yourself which enhances the immersion in a game that’s often criticized for not providing enough of it. You can also just go through the whole game as an unarmed boxer, and let me tell you there are few things more satisfying than punching a dragon in the face. If you have somehow missed out on one of the greatest games ever made, I highly advise you to give it a shot in VR and see the beauty and power of one of the most wonderous game worlds the way it was meant to be experienced.
2. Hellsplit: Arena
Some people simply can’t handle fighting other humans in VR. It’s too realistic, the blood disturbs them. Whatever it may be, it’s certainly an issue that some come face to face with when playing VR games. Hellspllit: Arena thankfully arrived and cured all those fears, because there ain’t no humans in this party, they’re all undead or skeletons. That doesn’t mean you aren’t getting realistic, bloody action in this game though as it’s one of the more gore-filled and gritty combat experiences available in VR. You fight from arena to arena taking on waves of undead enemies and dodging vicious traps on your way to fighting the unique bosses which require specific strategies and items in order to defeat. In between levels you’ll be able to purchase new armor, weapons, and potions to aid you on your journey. The Graphics are fantastic and the physics system at work is incredible. You’re able to grab undead enemies by the head and smash them into each other, cut off body parts and throw enemies around all in uniquely creepy and gothic looking environments. The melee combat is weighty and feels so real with impact sounds and haptic feedback all on point. This is one of the best uses of melee combat in VR and is easy enough to hop in and out of without investing too much time into it.
1. Blade and Sorcery
Every genre has a godfather and from here until the next phase of videogame evolution, Blade and Sorcery will be viewed as just that when it comes to VR melee combat. It’s hard to even classify Blade and Sorcery as a game because there really is no winning. You generate random waves of enemies and you either defeat them or you don’t. There’s no level progression, there’s no story, the enemy variety isn’t even that numerous, but it doesn’t matter for one reason. The combat physics at work here are simply incredible. Every slash or stab that you put forth feels as real as can be and the sound effects and controller feedback adds onto that in a big way. You’re just as vulnerable as your enemies, but with your ability to slow down time to plan your attacks, you essentially become a rampaging killing machine. The base gameplay is thrilling enough and has enough in it to let you live out your Game of Thrones fantasies, but it’s when you add mods into the equation does the combat truly go next level. Star Wars, Samurai, Game of Thrones, Avengers, Ninja’s, and everything in between have their arsenals, armors and on certain mods even enemies available for you to experience and it pretty much makes Blade and Sorcery a candidate for one of those games that just seems infinite. It’s not just the fun that makes this game stand out. The workout aspect is immense depending on your playstyle and there are options to just fight through infinite waves if you were feeling particularly dangerous on that day. It’s not just weapon and armor mods either, there are voice packs, entire level recreations from different games and movies as well as completely original game modes within Blade and Sorcery that feel right within the theme of the game while expanding on some of the promise that so many can see in the game.
It feels so basic at its barest, and yet that basic is better than most developer’s amazing. The feeling of being an overpowering force of nature and being rewarded for your physical ability is an incredible feeling that still has not been matched in the 2+ years since Blade and Sorcery has been released. The developer supports it greatly too and recently released an update that adds tons of new features to the game. It should be noted that although these changes are great, most of your mods will not be compatible with this version of the game just yet, so it might be best to use the U7 update until those get converted.