How to Run Shift 2 Unleashed in VR Using VorpX

Shift 2 Unleashed came out in 2011, well before consumer virtual reality existed. Despite its age, however, it can be played in virtual reality thanks to VorpX, a program that can make many older games display in stereoscopic 3D in a VR headset.

These older games often have a lot of issues when using VorpX, since they tend to use a lot of graphical tricks that break down when viewed in 3D. I'm happy to report that Shift 2 Unleashed works very well in 3D. There are a few graphical issues here and there, but they are limited. Most of the time, it looks perfect.

In this guide, I will show how to get Shift 2 Unleashed running in VR and talk about what the experience is actually like for both the cockpit and third person views.

What You Will Need

VorpX - $40

VorpX is a program that can make a traditional 2D game render in stereoscopic 3D in a VR headset. Shift 2 Unleashed is fully supported by VorpX, so you don't need to do anything special to make it work. I know VorpX has a mixed reputation, but if you are interested at all in playing non-native games in VR, it's an incredible tool. You can read my overall thoughts on the program here.

To play Shift 2 Unleashed in VR, all you have to do is start VorpX and then launch the game normally.

Overall Experience

I'm actually surprised how well Shift 2 Unleashed plays in VR. VorpX natively supports this game, so you don't need to configure anything at all. It uses Geometry 3D rendering, so you get perfect stereoscopic visuals. Since the game is so old, you should have no performance problems. You don't need a super high end machine to run this one.

It uses the Immersive Screen Mode, which displays the game on a large 3D screen in front of you. The game visuals don't entirely encompass you, but you don't really notice this when you are in a race. VorpX has to do this to get the proper world scale. The HUD is resized properly for viewing in VR, so you don't have to look to the far edges of the screen to see everything. In many ways it feels like a native VR title.

You even get head tracking in the cockpit cam. It's not perfectly one to one, so don't try to push the limits by looking around the cockpit or anything like that. You could get motion sick from the disconnect. But it's just fine for looking into the corners during a race.

If you want to play in the third person cam, I highly recommend turning off Head Tracking in the VorpX options. The head tracking works by emulating the movement of the right stick of a gamepad. In third person, this causes the camera to move backwards from what you expect. It's awkward and distracting. It's best just to disable it and treat the game like you're playing on a large 3D TV.

There are some graphical issues, as you would expect, but they are minor and don't take away from the game. The menus work just fine, but you should use the EdgePeek function, since some elements get misaligned otherwise. In third person views, you will notice some issues with the headlights on night tracks. The light beams have a shadow on their edges. It's noticeable, but not too distracting. It's not noticeable in the cockpit cam.

Some background buildings have depth issues. You can see they are just a flat plane instead of an actual 3D building. It's only a problem for certain areas of some tracks. Most of the time there is no problem at all.

Better than non-VR?

Using VorpX to play a game in VR can be a bit of a mixed bag, so I always like to ask if the game is actually improved by the VR experience, or if it is more of a curiosity that doesn't add anything to the game experience.

In this case, it's a huge improvement. Being able to see depth makes it much easier to feel how fast you are going and how much to slow down for corners. Similarly, being able to look into the corners made it much easier to drive a natural line through the corners. I was driving much better immediately when playing in VR.

The only downside is the few graphical issues. While some background elements can look a little weird, it's not that bad and certainly doesn't offset the benefits of viewing everything else in proper 3D.


I wasn't expecting much from a game this old. Aside from a few graphical issues, this has become the definitive way to play the game for me. I highly recommend it.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

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