Once you know how to play SteamVR on the Oculus Quest and get your hands on an Oculus Link-compatible PC, you’ll be ready to start buying gorgeous PC VR games that the Oculus Quest 2 can handle with its portable graphics. These are the best Oculus Quest 2 SteamVR games that you can enjoy without having to buy a Valve Index.
The Best SteamVR games to play on your Quest 2
Half-Life: AlyxHalf-Life 3 in all but name, Half-Life: Alyx isn’t just a huge game-changer to the classic franchise in visuals, gameplay, and story — it’s also arguably the best VR game on any platform. There’s a lot of ways in which the 15-hour campaign succeeds, but to scratch the surface here, its enemies are terrifying, the graphics and environmental storytelling will impress you, the controls and teleportation make your actions feel natural, and the world feels interactive across the entire campaign.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
One of the most famous and acclaimed games of the last 10 years, Skyrim has hundreds of hours of gameplay to dive into, giving you far more bang for your buck proportionally than most VR games by far. In terms of this port, VR controls make Skyrim’s basic combat feel far more dynamic and intense by making you blast or slash foes yourself while dodging attacks in room-scale mode — though you can also play with a controller. Like any Bethesda game, it’s buggy, but look past those, and you can really dive into the world where there’s always something else to do.
Star Wars: Squadrons
A first-person flight sim set mostly after Return of the Jedi where you suit up for both the New Republic and Imperials, Squadrons has ten unique ship types, customizable loadouts, tricky-to-master controls, and both single-player and cross-platform multiplayer. You’ll have fun with a gamepad but buy a joystick if you want the most authentic flight experience. Well-reviewed Star Wars games are hard to find these days. While we enjoyed Vader Immortal and Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, Squadrons is a far more in-depth, replayable experience.
A horror game that took YouTube by storm, Phasmophobia lets you become a ghost hunter who actually encounters a variety of dangerous spirits — unlike the ones on TV. Using various tools and an optional squad of teammates, you must find a way to summon them and collect information on what type of ghosts they are. Just be careful: they listen and respond to your voice, and the jumpscares only get more frightening in VR.
Playable on PC without headsets but VR-enabled, Tabletop Simulator comes with classics like Chess and Poker, along with thousands of community-made games, options for homebrew role-playing campaigns like Dungeons & Dragons. There’s also DLC for popular board games like Scythe and One Night Ultimate Werewolf that feature actual assets from the physical games. It’s great to connect with friends living in other cities or while you’re all stuck indoors.
No Man’s Sky
After launching in 2016 to negative reviews complaining that its world was empty and boring, No Man’s Sky became the comeback story of our gaming generation after the developers kept adding incredible content to the world for free, including space pets and mech suits. The VR version, originally made for PSVR, is more visually stunning when powered by a PC and makes you feel like a true intrepid, galactic explorer.
Want to play Mirror’s Edge, only designed specifically for virtual reality? STRIDE is the answer. You swing your arms to propel yourself forward, so you’ll actually have to break a sweat while leaping from rooftops or wall-running. STRIDE has a variety of single player modes, including an endless running mode where you must survive while snipers aim at you and time trials, but there’s also multiplayer staples like King of the Hill and Horde.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Using Bing Maps, cloud-based computing, photogrammetry, and tons of patches to add as many real-world locations as possible, Microsoft’s developers have built a realistic, traversable environment spanning the globe for you to explore in a variety of faithfully recreated planes. Using your gamepad or HOTAS, you can fly literally anywhere, day or night, in any weather. As a simulator, you don’t have any goals or missions beyond mastering your pilot training and enjoying the ambiance — whether that sounds blissful or boring will depend on the player.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition
As a third-person game that you must play with a gamepad, Hellblade may not seem like a natural fit for VR, but the haunting story and impressive graphics make it more than work. In this combination action/horror/puzzle game, you play as an 8th-century warrior struggling with mental illness as she combats gods, humans, and personal demons — both real and psychological. Already a very intense game visually and thematically, Hellblade only becomes more so when experienced in VR.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular shooters for VR gamers, Pavlov technically has a Quest 2 App Lab port already — Pavlov: Shack — but even still, the PC version has far superior graphics, mechanics that the Quest 2’s processing can’t handle, and a WWII update the Quest 2 lacks. With dedicated servers, multiple game modes, and shooting that requires fast reaction times and skillful aiming, Pavlov has a lot to offer for fans of multiplayer.
DCS World Steam Edition
For those flight game fanatics who find Microsoft Flight Simulator too purposeless or dull, DCS World in VR may be a better fit — though it won’t be “free.” It comes with two planes and two maps, but beyond that, you’ll pay about the cost of a full game for every new plane or helicopter, each from different wartime eras and sporting historically accurate tech that makes each feel unique. We include it here because its fans tend to spend hundreds of hours in this game, mastering the controls and completing the hundreds of available missions, or just having fun in its sandbox.
Still new to VR and looking for new content to enjoy? The Lab contains a few hours of free minigames that’ll help you acclimate to touch controls. Made by Valve, The Lab has tons of cute and silly secrets that’ll make you want to spend plenty of time exploring. It’s not the most in-depth experience by any means, but it’s honestly more fun for an afternoon than many paid VR games.
BONEWORKS is designed for players who are comfortable with intense VR experiences, so those prone to motion sickness should hold off on this. If you’re able to play it, though, you’re in for a VR shooter with a heavy emphasis on realistic physics and some serious Half-Life vibes. And weapons. Lots of weapons.
Oculus + Steam = the best of both worlds
Oculus Rift games and SteamVR games both give you better graphics than the Quest 2 can offer, but generally speaking, the best Rift games are just like the best Oculus Quest 2 games: They’re built specifically for VR, which tends to equate to interactive mechanics and shorter runtimes. This can be true with some SteamVR games, but the platform has a lot more traditional video games that happen to be ported to VR, which means they’re more likely to last you for more than a few hours.
You get the best of both worlds with Half-Life: Alyx, which combines a decently long campaign with a virtual world that’s fully controllable with impressive motion controls. And while it looks more visually impressive on Valve’s own VR headset, Alyx can be even more immersive on the Quest 2 since you can use Virtual Desktop to play it wirelessly and make City 17 fully untethered.
Simultaneously, SteamVR gives you VR-ified ports of popular PC titles like Skyrim that’ll likely never hit Oculus’s storefront for legal reasons, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which is too graphically intensive for the Quest to handle natively. By buying one of the best Oculus Link Cable alternatives and getting the best Oculus Quest 2 SteamVR games on your headset, you’ll get access to hundreds of hours of content that you’d otherwise have to play on a flat-screen.