There is something about being in Virtual Reality and doing different things. From the ability to walk to jump to even swing in different and unique ways. But in order to make those abilities work, there has to be some dedication and hard work put into it all along with giving the player some fun. So does developer Psytec Games, bring what was loved about the first Windlands and improve on it the ways we could have hoped for? Let’s find out with Windlands 2 for PCVR and PlayStation VR.
Windlands 2 is the return to the world of Windalands where you are armed with grappling hooks and a bow, as you soar through the ruins of a fallen world. Embark on a journey to destroy the gigantic titans and save the world from an ancient danger either alone or with friends. So before we begin there will be a few things to know. First, you can play standing, but seated as well. If are not prone to motion sickness or maybe not have grown your full VR legs, you might want to play seated to be on the safe side. Second, don’t try to rush and just enjoy the view of the Windlands world. Third, make sure your controllers are charged or batteries replaced (depending on the platform of choice) as you do not want to be swinging and have your controller die and miss that point where you can continue only to fall to the world below. And finally, I didn’t realize that when I was recording the gameplay footage that it didn’t capture everything in full screen nor did I realize that it only captured the earlier parts of the game. So for that, I apologize. But with that said, let’s continue…
In Windlands 2, you play as an apprentice Hunter as you are journeying with your master, Tohir (who actually has awesome hair) to rid the world of the titans to an island of Sacred Mountains, dangers, and mysteries. When you first start, you are greeted with the energy that only a master (and their hair) like Tohir could bring and it’s here where you get to test out your bow. I will say it just took a few shots to really get the hang of it all. But it’s when you get off the ship to start swinging that you realize how much fun it is to do so in this world. In fact, you can just move with such fluency, but you have to be careful when landing or you could slide off a cliff or any other high point. It will take some getting used to, but once you have this down, you will be swinging and wall jumping like nothing else.
The storytelling is done with voiced NPCs who will give you different missions to accomplish. Like with one of earlier missions, Sarala has you trying to find different parts to help restart the power core but needs these additional parts that have to be gathered so then it could be restarted. It’s not the missions that are hard, it’s trying to swing around and at various levels of heights while trying not to end badly for you. But you may need to set some time aside as some quests could take much longer than you might think, and really, that’s part of the fun.
In Windlands 2, you do have a jump button that can help gain that extra height at times to be able to extend your grappling hooks as far as they go in hoping that it will reach a contact point. At times, I did misjudge this only to keep falling down and have to keep trying. But it’s when you are swinging through this beautiful world and have to start fighting the titans that you realize that swinging is not the only thing you have to do, but remember that you have a bow for battles that can become more challenging as you dodge, move, swing out of the way, and hopefully get to higher ground to take them out. If not, you will have to keep trying over and over until you do. But again, like the swinging mechanics, using the bow while swinging really starts to become second nature as you continue on. But it’s the earlier stages in Windlands 2 that make you appreciate the larger battles that will encounter later on as well as the bonus time trials to the finish line as well as trying to collect items in a certain amount of time.
Let’s talk about the graphics and the sound. When you look at the world of Windlands 2 in a non-VR way, you do get a sense of what the world might be like. It’s not until you are in full VR mode, that do you really appreciate how beautiful the world is visually. Being able to see things in the distance as you are swinging that is clear to point out just helps you get ready for where you might need to turn next. Swinging through this world is done with such grace that there were times that is all that I did and forgot about the missions I was on as it was that much fun to do. There was something about the sounds the soundtrack that just made the adventure that much more soothing. Yes, you can hear the fire from the enemies and the voices from the NPCs were ok, but there is just something about swinging while listening to the music that compliments the gameplay experience that you should experience yourself.
There are some things that I hope to get updated. I placed on PCVR and no matter what I tried, I could not start a single-player game and I am not alone. I had to go into Multiplayer and localhost to be able to start the game in a single-player experience. Which on the PSVR version, this was not an issue. So I do hope there is a patch that comes to address this. Second, I do hope the jump button gets tweaked a little as I mentioned, there were times when I jumped only to misjudge the spot I needed to hit. And third, online. I tried on PCVR and PSVR at different times of the day only to not find anyone on. I think it would be a blast to play with others as it may make some of those boss battles a little easier.
Windlands 2 brings the fun of the original and improves on it in many ways. It gives us the ability to have some fun and challenges in ways that only Virtual Reality can allow. It shows us that no matter how stressful our lives may be if we just keep our heads held high, our dreams can be reachable even if we have to swing to capture them.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some leaderboards to try and climb and see if anyone is online that wants to play.