Despite its original launch in 2012, it seems strange to think of Borderlands 2 as a title originally released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Part of that is down to the game’s reams of DLC, but a lot of it is down to the sheer volume of ports and remasters it’s received. You can play Borderlands 2 on a PlayStation Vita, or jump into the Handsome Collection and play it on current hardware – in 4K no less. Is Borderlands 2 VR a trip worth taking in anticipation of Borderlands 3 next month?
For newcomers, Borderlands is a franchise predicated on a ridiculously huge armory of procedurally generated weapons. Every gun you find in Borderlands 2 has it’s own perks, and this can feel somewhat overwhelming at first. You’ll level your Vault Hunter’s abilities and skills, and earn bigger and more explosive weaponry at a rate that would make more recent titles like Destiny blush.
This core concept of getting a new weapon and using it to earn more weapons is just as fun as it was back in 2012, or even in 2009 with the first game in the franchise. What differentiates Borderlands 2 VR is, as you’d imagine, the transition to pumping it’s cell-shaded chaos almost directly into your eyeballs – and it’s a surprisingly smooth one.
Playable both with PlayStation Move wands and the standard Dualshock 4, Borderlands 2 VR can feel jarring at first – like riding in the passenger seat of your own car. Opening in an icy region of Pandora, you’ll meet Claptrap (the series’ cheerful robot mascot) and, after a brief tutorial on the intricacies of VR movement, you’re off.
The game features a load of comfort options for VR gamers, from “tunnel vision” intensity, teleportation vs free movement, and a way to offset the user’s height. PSVRAim support has been patched in, too.
This is no dumbed-down, VR-centric spin off. This is the full Borderlands 2 experience (sans co-op, understandably). There are no DLC packs included (although these are coming later this year), but there’s still plenty of content to chew through, and even those that have experienced Borderlands 2 before will find a lot to love.
Aiming your weapon in VR takes some re-learning since the game’s multitude of weapons are affixed to your headset’s position, but before long you’ll be blasting bandits and bullymongs with relative ease. Move wands work well, but I ended up returning to the trusty Dualshock to give my arms a rest and also because manipulating menus with a pointer feels cumbersome – not because of any real issues with the game itself, but more due to the precise movements required to tweak one’s loadout.
There’s an option to slow down time to allow for the correcting of mistakes in combat, and while teleportation movement feels like the ideal way to play in VR, playingwith free movement on the left analog stick feels better purely for the familiarity of it. Just be warned – that way of moving can prove a little nauseating in firefights.
Borderlands 2 is just as good as you remember it, full of comedy and ridiculous characters, and while cutscenes aren’t adapted to VR, they’re still a riot to watch.
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