By the time Borderlands 2 VR had made it's way onto the Playstation Store late last year, I was already a couple of trays of mince pies into my Christmas holidays. That meant my last proper piece of VR coverage on the site (aside from my PSVR Games Of The Year list) was a look at the unbelievably dismal, Gungrave VR.
If only Borderlands 2 VR had released a little earlier in December. Then I could have finished 2018 on a high note rather than a deflated sigh. You see, Borderlands 2 VR is one of the few titles on the Sony's VR platform to offer a full, 25+ hour campaign and as such it's worth shining a spotlight on it for the first Ian's VR Corner of 2019.
Borderlands 2 VR places you inside the entire Borderlands 2 experience, minus its 10 DLC chapters and signature cooperative multiplayer. The lack of multiplayer is particularly disappointing considering how much fun tooling around Pandora with your mates was in the original release, but the extra immersion that VR brings balances things out nicely so you won't miss it too much.
As you'll be able to see in the video above, I played the game using two Move controllers. Borderlands 2 VR can also be controlled with a DualShock but it lacks Aim support. Locomotion with the Move controllers is very similar to that of Skyrim VR, but thanks to my experience with that title, I found navigating the environment to be quite comfortable and relatively frustration free.
In fact, Borderlands 2 VR should be applauded for the amount of comfort options it has hidden away in its menus. In the video above I played with the majority of them turned off but newcomers to VR will be able to extensively customise the experience to tailor to their skill levels.
Borderlands 2 VR is a game of two halves - shooting and looting, and both are handled rather well when dual-wielding Move controllers. Your right hand holds one of the millions of guns available to you whilst your left hand is free to initiate melee attacks or snaffle up loot from nearby chests and containers. Move tracking worked really well here and I didn't encounter any controller drift during my time with the game.
When in combat, enemies in Borderlands 2 VR often come thick and fast and for newcomers this has the chance to be a bit overwhelming. To combat this, Gearbox has added a new feature to the game called BadAss Mega Fun Time - or BAMF Time for short. When triggered, BAMF Time slows down the action for short periods, allowing you to cope with swarms of enemies or safely deliver large amounts of damage to bosses.
Whilst most of the combat works well, scoped weapons are dire in Borderlands 2 VR. I get my hands on one at around the 15 minute mark of the video above and it's worth checking out, just to see how clumsily they've been implemented. Scoped views appear as tiny, flat images in the center of your vision and inside these magnified boxes the frame-rate of the gameplay drops to about 10 fps making aiming accurately at a moving target almost impossible.
Another minor criticism is that the HUD elements occupy your peripheral vision so checking your health or your location on the mini map can be a strain on the eyes. Added to this, the multiple inventories can be a bit confusing and clumsy in VR, especially when playing with the Move controllers instead of the DualShock as you'll need to employ an odd 'drag and drop' mechanic to swap out weapons and items.
Borderlands 2 VR's gameplay does feel slightly dated now and its quests, particularly those close to the start that involve a lot of back and forth, can get a bit tedious. This is especially true if you've already played through the game in its original form. Second time around the hilarious script and loveably wacky characters are less likely to distract you from the grind and, until the game properly opens up around the three hour mark, it can feel rather monotonous. Revisiting familiar flat locations in VR does breathe a fresh lease of life into a game though and returning players should at least get a kick out of that.
Thanks to the generous length of the campaign, Borderlands 2 VR will satisfy anyone who's been clamouring for a more substantial VR experience. It's an incredibly well produced VR title that looks beautiful in 3D and it's faithful recreation of a much loved game. If you've never visited Pandora before, I'd say Borderlands 2 VR is a must buy, however returning Vault Hunters may be slightly undewhelmed.
If you enjoyed this episode of Ian's VR Corner, you can catch up with my previous adventures over on YouTube in our VR playlist, where I've covered Valheim VR's motion controls mod, Doom 3 VR Edition and everything we know about PSVR 2 so far. You can also read our list of the best VR games.