Nintendo has released a virtual reality mode for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Here’s how to play the game in VR.
Before you start, you’ll need to pick up one of the two Nintendo Labo VR Toy-Con sets. Both are widely available but the cheaper Starter Set + Blaster kit is perfectly fine if you’re just in the market for some Hyrulian VR tourism. You’ll also need to assemble the VR goggles, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
- The first thing to do is update your copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Navigate to the game icon on the Nintendo Switch dashboard and press the ‘+’ button. If your game is already updated to V1.6.0 you can move on to the next step. If not, select ‘Software Update’, then ‘Via the Internet’, and wait for the game to update. The download is not particularly large, so you should be good to go within a few minutes. It’s also a good idea to keep your Switch undocked and in handheld mode.
- The VR mode for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not an option on the game’s title screen. Just start the game as normal and – assuming you have played it before – pick a save file to resume your adventure.
- Once you’re playing, hit ‘+’ to pull up the in-game menu. Navigate to the ‘System’ section, and then ‘Options’. You’ll see that a new option has been added: ‘Toy-Con VR Goggles’.
- Switch this to ‘Use VR Goggles’, read the parental guidance message, and watch as the screen changes to display two VR images.
- You can also toggle the ‘Aim with motion controls’ setting. Leaving it on will tie the game’s camera to your head movement. Turning it off will mean the camera is controlled by the right thumb stick, which may be more comfortable.
- Remove one Switch Joy-Con controller and insert the console into the Nintendo Labo VR headset. In our experience, the game works best with both Joy-Cons attached, effectively used as handles to hold the headset up to your eyes.
- Finally, find and destroy all four Divine Beasts, find all of the memory locations, infiltrate Hyrule Castle, and defeat Calamity Ganon. We also recommend making some hearty mushroom skewers. They are out of this world.
Breath if the Wild‘s VR experience is a mixed bag. Holding the headset up by hand is tiring, but due to the overall quality of the experience, it’s probably not something you’ll do for long periods. The image is smoother than we expected, and the sense of depth is impressive. However, there’s no escaping that the game was not primarily developed for VR.
That being said, if you seek out some of your favourite Hyrule locations and switch the display to VR mode there’s a lot to like. The fact it’s even possible on the Switch is still kind of mind-boggling.
Interestingly – and I wonder if it’s an inadvertent side-effect of having to manually hold up the headset – the disorientation I’ve experienced with games like Doom VFR and Skyrim VR is almost entirely absent. It certainly takes its toll on the flexor carpi muscles, but my delicate stomach remains undisturbed.
Nintendo Labo VR is definitely a low-fi experience, but if you adjust your expectations accordingly it can be a surprisingly delightful way to experience one of this generation’s best video games.