We rather liked the original Windlands on PlayStation VR. The satisfying movement and exhilarating sense of speed and altitude made for one of virtual reality's early successes -- at least, if you had the stomach for it. This holds true for Windlands 2, but the sequel isn't just reuniting you with a pair of grappling hooks and calling it a day. There are two major additions to the experience, namely co-op multiplayer and the ability to switch your hooks for a bow and arrows.
We played the 15-minute demo on the Oculus Rift with Oculus Touch controllers, which will of course roughly translate to PSVR and the Move wands. Joining us aboard a boat to a new land were the three other players, and while we acclimatised to the controls, a gigantic serpent-like creature twisted and turned above our heads, demonstrating immediately the vast scale of the environment.
Once we were in a proper level, we were given a point to reach across the stage, where a boss was waiting. T co-operative play was very free-form; it didn't take long before all four players had spread out, making our own way to the boss fight across a network of trees and other grappling points. Presumably, in the final game, you'll be able to engage in voice chat, which should help everyone stick together or at least help guide each other, but this wasn't present in the demo, and so the co-op felt a little flat. Still, at least the intuitive grappling hook gameplay is as fun as we remember. It didn't take us long to get back into the swing of it, catapulting ourselves across gaping chasms and chaining jumps together.
We arrived second to the boss, which was a quadrupedal robot with shields on its legs. What became clear was that all four players were supposed to fight the robot together, as the two of us that did make it found the encounter to be very tough going. We could switch to the bow and arrow at will by holding down a trigger button on one controller, then grabbing and pulling with the other, as you would in real life. Despite the easy controls, it was difficult to line up a shot, especially against an enemy who was moving rather quickly. Again, with all players present, the fight would've been easier, but a lack of communication options saw us struggle.
Both of these major new features need some work, then, but there's plenty of time for that. It's encouraging to see Psytec Games expanding on what it achieved with Windlands, and hopefully it will be able to deliver a fun, and more diverse, co-op adventure later in the year.
Windlands 2's new additions aren't quite there yet, but they should make for a more fleshed out adventure when it launches later in 2018. Did you play the original Windlands? Are you excited to jump into the sequel with some friends? Swing by the comments below.