Game: Borderlands 2 VR
A Borderlands 2 VR code was provided by the publisher.
It has been a good year for PSVR owners in 2018 with the likes of games like Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Tetris Effect, Beat Saber and now with Borderlands 2 VR to close out the year.
Borderlands 2 VR is another AAA game looking to make the jump into VR after largely being carried by Bethesda titles. The result of Borderlands 2 VR is that it mostly works but there is certainly room for improvement.
Borderlands 2, for the newcomers, is a game that puts you in the shoes of one of four vault hunters are you blast away enemies and loot your way across the world of Pandora. As a result, this is one of the lengthier games you’ll come across in VR outside of Skyrim which be a reason it carries a premium price tag of $50. Since this is a six-year-old game at this point, much of this review will be covering the VR aspects and how it works versus the actual content of the game
When you fire up Borderlands 2 for the first time you’ll see that it remains true to the flat version of the game pretty well. The game is playable with either the DualShock 4 controller or with the Moves, but unfortunately, there is no Aim support for the game currently, which is a glaring omission to make with a shooter. Luckily whether you’re using the DS4 or the Moves the controls will be comfortable either way.
Once you get through the initial cutscene, which is a flat image instead of being in VR, you’re put right into the game with a variety of control schemes to choose from.
The default scheme will have you move with teleportation and have no way to jump. For VR beginners this might be the best way to go forward but there are other options to pick from in the options that will open things up for you and yes, include ways to jump. If you’re a VR veteran one of the first things you’ll want to do is strip away the binocular-like blinders and turn down the comfort levels.
There are numerous comfort levels in the game which is really cool since it can take a while to build up your “VR legs” and having these comfort options helps make the game playable to a wider player base.
In my experience with the game so far, with many more hours to come, my impressions are this is a game that feels like VR was tacked on to rather than built from the ground up for. That isn’t entirely a bad thing but with an omission like Aim Controller support and the lack of VR cutscenes, it’s hard to see this as a game that still doesn’t have more potential.
There’s still a lot of content but many fans would agree some the best Borderlands 2 content comes with the DLC and that is nowhere to be seen with the initial launch of Borderlands 2 VR. Another thing missing is co-op play which might be make-or-break for some players given Borderlands has always been a co-op game at heart.
Exclusive to the VR version is the BAMF time ability which slows time down and allows you to turn the tide of a battle. You’ll find yourself surrounded by enemies a lot in Borderlands and it can be a difficult situation to get out of as you get used to the controls. By slowing down time you can line up critical hits and take out some of the hordes before they even know what hit them.
It’s a nice feature but I didn’t find myself using it much as I had too much fun strafing and flicking the move controller backward to backpedal and pick off enemies. The controls did feel clunky at first but I grew to get used to them the more I played. I found myself wanting to switch to the DualShock 4 but I stuck with the Moves and I haven’t regretted it.
Since there will be a lot of looting in this game then you might be excited to hear the looting system works great. If you’re using the Moves then your gun will be in one hand while your free hand (there is also left-hand support) will be used to pick up loot and open containers. This works pretty well and I ran into no issues with this but things became a little clunky when you open up the various menus in the game.
A lot more often than I would have liked I found my inventory screen clipping with another character or with a rock that would force me to turn my head to the side to access my menu clearly, forcing me to constantly hit the recentering button on my controller. It’s a minor issue but it’s definitely there and it can get pretty annoying.
The gunplay feels solid enough in VR but I think I would have rather had a laser pointer instead of a crosshair but that’s just a nitpick of mine that doesn’t take away from the game. Borderlands has many different guns available but they all feel fine in VR. Using a two-handed weapon in one hand might look a little strange but that’s something many VR games have to deal with so it’s hard to find much fault with it. Using sniper rifles looks a tad odd in VR as you don’t actually look through a scope but instead the game itself zooms in to simulate a zooming effect.
I played on a PS4 Pro and while the graphics weren’t bad, there’s really not a whole lot to write home about. It’s definitely not the worst looking PSVR game available on the market but it’s not close to best looking either.
Borderlands 2 VR Takeaways
Despite the issues I have with the game there’s one prevailing point that shines above everything and it’s that Borderlands 2 VR is just a lot of fun to play. Claptrap has become a fan-favorite over the years and seeing him in VR is just icing on the cake.
I would have enjoyed more VR-specific things added to the game that would add to the experience. If you have played Borderlands 2 to death and are a huge fan then you will probably enjoy this title. If you’re new to the Borderlands world I’d probably recommend you to pick up the normal PS4 version with all of the DLC instead before you jump into the VR version. I say that because you’re probably going to want to play more after you wrap up the roughly 25-30 hour campaign.
I would have liked more changes to be made to the game to make it feel this was a true made-for-VR experience instead of having it feel more like a patch to Borderlands 2 that gave it a VR mode. This could easily be remedied by removing the clipping menus, adding Aim Controller support, VR cutscenes, but all in all it’s a solid conversion that’s easy to recommend.
With that said, this is still the core Borderlands 2 experience translated to VR. If you’re looking for another reason to play through the game again and you’re a fan of VR, this will give you exactly what you’re looking for, just with some minor issues but nothing game-breaking.