We take a look at Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency, which was just released for PC-based VR headsets. We went the Oculus route for this review.
Budget Cuts 2 is like a movie sequel where things only really make sense if you’ve already seen the first one. We hadn’t played Budget Cuts yet, so we went ahead and completed the first game before starting this one. In it, you’re a worker at a company that’s slowly letting go of its human employees in favor of automated robots – getting rid of many of your colleagues one by one. The game starts where you receive a mysterious package and the message is that you need to leave the building as soon as possible. It feels a bit like that one scene in the original Matrix movie where Neo hides from the agents at his office, which is of course a cool reference and a good setup for a stealth-based VR game.
The sequel starts at the exact moment the first one ends – not just narratively, but also in terms of the gameplay mechanics. It builds from there as well, so I strongly recommend getting the first game if you haven’t played it already. And don’t worry, it’s well worth it and the Steam version is currently 75% off during the holiday sale.
Of course this means that the game comes with a bit of a learning curve, even though it does feature a brief tutorial to get you up and running (from the robots that are out to get you). Budget Cuts 2 relies less on the throwing mechanics of the first game and features more ranged weapons, which is a good move in my book and makes sense from a narrative point of view. In the first game you were on the run, throwing things in a panic – here you feel more in control and ready to fight back, so to speak. The game also introduces a VR staple in the shape of a bow and arrow mechanic, but with a twist in that you can load up your weapon with a variety of real life objects for varying effects (depending on how blunt or heavy they are, for instance).
Budget Cuts 2 shifts the narrative focus from you at your office to a larger plot that involves all of humankind, and there’s a broader scope in terms of level design and visual styles here as a result – no longer being confined to office environments. It’s not all nail-biting suspense though, since the game features plenty of funny moments both narrative and in terms of gameplay (where you can get creative with the tools you use as weapons). The plot is a change that advances the game and helps it become a more diverse experience than the first one, making it a worthy sequel.
Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency is definitely challenging and I’d advise players to start with the first game. The game’s environment could have been a little richer in terms of content (outside of the basics that support the core gameplay), but this is a solid stealth adventure that’s now part of a double feature and I’m not ruling out we’ll get a third one as well. I’ll be there when we do.