I love me a good shooter. It’s a known fact that when I was a kid I spent almost £4 million** in the arcades playing Time Crisis and House of the Dead. I grew up throwing money at these arcade games that let me shoot nasty things in the face, but damn it was expensive.
Today I can do that from the comfort of my own home thanks to PSVR, and naked if I want to. (Yup, I’ve played PSVR games naked.) Admittedly I’m not able to play the classics I grew up on but that’s not really an issue, especially when games like Dick Wilde are readily available for less than it’d cost to get halfway through Time Crisis in the arcades.
Dick Wilde is a PSVR shooter. You take on the role of a hapless hillbilly who has crafted himself an arsenal of guns from everyday bits and pieces. And that’s as far as we’ll go with character development and story; there is no character development or story. Instead, you just need to defend yourself from waves of enemies to survive for as long as possible and try to take the top spot on the online leaderboards. Or perhaps you could play locally with three other players and pass the headset around to compare scores? There’s a dedicated mode for that – perfect for when you’ve got a few mates round.
The game puts you on a hillbilly raft. Your job is to take aim and fire. That’s about it. Don’t be fooled, mind you, because Dick Wilde is a bloody hard game. It might seem easy at first, but once you’ve pushed through the first few waves things can go awry pretty fast. Crocodiles move slowly towards you – easy pickings – but then you’ve got these nasty fish that pop out from under the water to shoot you with their horrid gunk. Get this on your face and you’ll be partially blinded for a short while, though this can be avoided by ducking and dodging the incoming gunk.
There’s a good variety of enemies in Dick Wilde, so much so that when you hit the higher-numbered waves you’ll soon be spraying and praying. Or at least that was the case for me. I’d end up getting gunked in the face by the jumping fish, hacked at by the leaping piranhas, and then shat on by some pesky seagulls. When it got to this stage I’d just give up hope and fire blindly whilst the beast of nature slowly devoured me. Existential crisis incoming…
It’s still good fun even if you do die regularly. It’s all about learning how the weapons work. Dick Wilde gives you the choice between a handful of different weapons and, depending on how you play, a bit of variety within them. If you choose to play with the PS Move wands you’ll get to dual wield your weapon of choice. Mine’s the nail gun, just in case you were wondering…
However, if you play using the new Aim controller then you’ll be in for a bit of a treat. Your weapons will turn into rifle-style variations of the dual-wield setup and you’ll enjoy the comfort of using something that resembles what you’re holding in the game. I’m not too keen on the way the PS Move wands are used as guns, so this was a true pleasure.
Each gun has its own qualities, too, so it’s not just a case of the weapons all being technically the same but looking different. The shotgun will let you fire off powerful shots, albeit slowly. But then if you change the fire-mode to double-barrel, you’ll be able to deal more damage over a bigger area. This was very handy when the piranhas got a little too close for comfort. Most of the other weapons in the game have an alternate fire-mode so it’s always good to test your skills with the armory available. Plus, each gun comes with its own pros and cons, so there’s a nice challenge to be had – just watch out for the recoil on the nail gun. It’s a true bitch.
The game’s levels are varied, though not by much. There are three islands that each have their own three maps, so to speak. One will be the normal mode, the other two will be the hard mode and insane mode. The islands all have their own themes, one being a swamp, one being where dinosaurs have resurrected from the frozen ice, and the other being a lovely lagoon. Each area has its own enemies; so in the swamp the slow movers will be the crocs, whereas in the lagoon they’ll be hammerhead sharks. The enemies are essentially the same but with a different coat of paint on them, but it’s nice to have a little variety anyway.
Graphically, Dick Wilde is actually really nice! No, really, it is. The colourful cel-shaded graphics help hide the shortcomings of running a VR headset on the relatively weak PS4, and it works really well. I’m usually a little put-off in PSVR games by the noticeably low resolution and non-premium graphics, but I don’t think I ever gave it a second though with Dick Wilde. It just looks so clean.
It’s not all rosy though, and I did find a few things that peeved me off a little. For one, the voice-over really started to grind on me after the first 15 minutes. There are only a few pre-recorded comments and jokes that play over the game, so after you’ve heard them once you’re not going to be happy to hear them over and over and over and over an – you know what I’m getting at. It was just plain annoying and made me wish I could turn the voice volume off. Alas, that brings me to my second gripe: Where are the options? Perhaps I’m just being dim and can’t find them, but the lack of volume controls is a real arse.
I suppose, if I’m being picky, I’d say that I was a little disappointed with the lack of some mini-games, or perhaps some other modes. What’s present in the released product isn’t bad – not by long shot – but a few little extras would have been nice.
As it stands, I’m a big fan of Dick Wilde, and not just because it’s got a slightly naughty name. The tracking works brilliantly, regardless of whether you’re using one PS Move wand, two, or the Aim controller. This is a big thing when it comes to the gameplay, so the fact the developers nailed it has really helped create a solid shooter. If you spent all your pocket money in arcades as a kid and have now grown up to spend your wages on your own virtual arcade in your living room, I recommend dropping a few quid/bucks/euros on Dick Wilde.
Dick Wilde PS4/PSVR Review
If you've got a hankering for a colourfully fun shooter that doesn't take itself too seriously, Dick Wilde won't do you wrong. The lack of extra modes is a bit of a bummer, but the general gameplay and presentation more than makes up for it.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital code provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed using PS4 Slim/Aim Controller/PS Move wands
**I didn’t really spend £4 million in the arcades. Probably about £200 between the ages of 7-15. Felt like millions…