Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good penis pun every now and then, but when that’s the most interesting thing about your game, you’ve got a bit of a problem.
The original Dick Wilde was little more than a shooting gallery with colourful graphics and a title that made YouTube want to demonetise videos. While its sequel, Dick Wilde 2 does a few things to try and improve on the old formula, the tedious gameplay loop of standing still and pointing at things remains; as you’ll be able to see in this week’s Ian’s VR Corner.
The original Dick Wilde saw you rooted to the spot on a stationary raft, shooting at wave upon wave of aggressive, swamp-dwelling critters. The gameplay was as varied as the contents of a packet of Ready Salted crisps and it was incredibly tough, a combination that frustrated many of its players.
Two years down the line and Dick Wilde 2 has, to its credit, at least tried to improve on the failings of the first game. You’re still rooted to the spot and tasked with shooting at aggressive, swamp-dwelling critters, but now the raft you’re stood on drifts slowly through a collection of canals that are littered with junk and debris.
If you want to survive this ride, you’ll need to shoot all the wildlife as fast as you possibly can because it’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed. There’s an odd difficulty curve in Dick Wilde 2 that sees levels fluctuate from the sedate to something akin to juggling with flaming knives and back again within a matter of seconds. And that’s just in the early levels that I played, so God only knows how tricky it gets in later sections.
It’s not just cranky creatures that you have to contend with though, the aforementioned junk needs shooting too. Collide with any piece of floating debris and you’ll take damage, however by shooting it you’re awarded cash. The more cash you have at the end of the level, the better the guns and health upgrades you can purchase from Dick before you move on. It’s a neat enough concept, but there’s a fine line between fun and frustrating when it comes to keeping you and your raft safe from harm and Dick Wilde 2 crosses it with surprising regularity.
Being the shooting gallery that it is, Dick Wilde 2 on PSVR ditches DualShock support and is controlled by either twin Move controllers or the Aim controller. I used an Aim controller to record the video above and I was pleasantly surprised by how well support for it was implemented.
There was a refreshing lack of controller drift and the position of the handles on my virtual guns exactly matched where my hands gripped the aim controller. That sounds simple enough but some games fail to achieve even that basic effect, which is something that can cause an unconscious disconnect with the game world. Dick Wilde 2 absolutely nails it though, and I always felt like the virtual gun in my hand was firmly in my grasp.
Shooting all the things works well then, which is great news for a shooting game, sure. Unfortunately shooting all the things is as far as Dick Wilde 2 goes when it comes to letting you interact with its world. None of the guns need reloading and your ammo is infinite so, once you’ve unlocked an automatic weapon, you can just keep your finger on the trigger and paint a line of bullets around the level. This makes for an OK arcade experience, sure, but this is the furthest you can get from an immersive, engaging shooter as possible.
It’s not just that I found Dick Wilde 2 boring, I mean, I did, but there were also quite a few problems with its general presentation. In the video above you’ll be able to see a section where the water around Dick’s raft bugs out and completely disappears, leaving his raft floating through the air. There’s a point where, after activating a power-up my gun looses all of its sound effects. There’s even evidence that the developers didn’t bother to get a proofreader in to check the spelling and punctation in their mission briefings before they published the game.
Dick Wilde 2 is scruffy, it lacks all but the basic ingredients of immersion and the bizarre difficulty curve makes some enemy encounters feel cheap and unfair. Perhaps I would have had more fun playing the game in co-op. Perhaps I’d have enjoyed a boss fight if I’d have got to one. These are possibilities, sure. But when you feel like you’ve seen all the game has to offer after shooting your way through one level and you’re still not having fun by the fourth, well chances are you never will.
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.