Sequels are a rare thing in this industry. You’re lucky if you get to make a second game, let alone something that warrants a follow-up. Truthfully, there’s a lot of other VR games more deserving of a second shot than Dick Wilde. The first game was a decent shooter with a less-than-decent tone. But, to my surprise, you get all you could ask for with Dick Wilde 2.
Bolverk Games does a competent job ticking the boxes in this downstream shooter. In single-player at least the first-person fish shooting action is as mechanically sound as it was before. Blast away incoming enemies, lean out of the way of attacks, rinse and repeat. It’s one of the cleaner, more concise takes on the genre. There’s no spinning you around in circles or tying you up in needless plot.
Additions are expected but appreciated all the same. This is longer, more balanced and more approachable than the first. It’s not brutally punishing like the first nor is it toned down too much. I still felt myself working up a sweat, though not as often as I did last time around.
Not every change is for the better, though. The original game’s inventive arsenal, one of its few claims to fame, has largely been traded in in favor of more pedestrian weaponry. Highlights are here but, for the most part, you’ll be using more standard-issue instruments of death this time. They still pack a certain clumsy charm. That’s especially true on PSVR where Aim controller support sees knives stuck into barrels as makeshift handles. Overall, though, it’s definitely on the blander side.
Co-op is the big inclusion, though it’s a bit of a mixed bag too. As we said in our co-op-focused preview, the game is unavoidably easier with a second player, sometimes to the point of making it redundant. Sharing the shooting doesn’t fill the void the reduced difficulty creates. Ultimately I preferred to tackle levels by myself with the added challenge.
For all the flashy extras, though, Dick Wilde 2 can’t hide the fact it’s merely polishing a fairly simple shooter. This has the same frills and spills we’ve been having since the launch of the Gear VR, let alone the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. You’ve played this before and, frankly, you’ll know if you want more of it. VR gaming has come way since the launch of even the first game and this feels faintly archaic as a result.
Perhaps the most notable (and my personal favorite) change is that the game is just a little less, well, cruel. There’s still a lot of animal murder going on here but some of the character designs give it a little more justification. Humanoid rats surf the backs of crocodiles as they spit attacks at you, and beavers glide in on ridiculous wooden flying machines. Special mention has to go to the reduced number of irritating and frequently disturbing lines of dialogue from Dick himself. It’s been toned down a lot since last time around and, heck, I even laughed at some of the one-liners he quips between rounds.
Dick Wilde 2 is inarguably an improvement on the first, for what it’s worth. This by-the-numbers sequel remains a decent wave shooter with a rock solid foundation that never elevates itself beyond the limitations of its genre. It’s just a little more balanced, a little less creepy and there’s a lot more of it. Co-op support may be underwhelming, but if you’re still craving the core thrill of simple VR shooting, you could do a lot worse than Dick Wilde 2.