VR has been around for a few years now, and you might be wondering when we’ll start getting remasters, remakes, and legacy collections. Wait, no, it’s not that old. Maybe we’ll just start seeing sequels, then? Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency is precisely that, and as a direct sequel to the original Budget Cuts, it not only continues the tale of our intrepid office worker but literally picks up right after the first one ends.
If you’ve not played the first game, it’s set within a world where humans have been gradually phased out in favour of automated labour thanks to the low cost of producing robots. This means that a lot of your friends have been taken to HR and never seen again. Thankfully, a strange package arrives on your desk, and what follows is a stealth adventure game that has you escaping the building.
Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency starts you off on the train that you escaped on. Not only that, but it also starts you off with all of your tools, and while there is a small intro into some of what you can do, this sequel is clearly designed for those who already have a good understanding of the world. This means your thrown in at the deep end, and it never gets any easier.
Undoubtedly, that’ll be good news for the fans who love a bit of stealth action, but it also means that if it’s been a while, or you’re new to the series (or VR) entirely, that you’ll feel somewhat overwhelmed to begin with. It’s worth pushing through though; once you’ve failed a few times you’ll start to get a feel for things.
The levels are set up in the same way as the first game; you make your way through different sections and gain new checkpoints as you do so. They feel relatively frequent here, which makes failure feel far less annoying and improves each section immeasurably. That’s not to say you’re not going to get stuck, because you will, but it’ll feel less punishing because you’ll usually only be losing a few minutes worth of progress.
While you still have access to the old tools, it’s the new ones that really change how the gameplay feels in this stealthy sequel. I won’t spoil them all, but I just want to bring up the first one you get, which is an incredibly high-tech bow. You find this fairly early on, and it changes combat completely.
It could be that you’re an expert knife thrower in VR, but I’m crap at it. The bow allows for a more precise kind of combat and lining up a shot with the sights is exceptionally satisfying. You can also fire most small items through it, so if you’ve ever wanted to shoot a felt tip pen at a murder robot, Budget Cuts 2 has you covered. It’s not always effective, of course, but scissors definitely are, and it makes you feel far more powerful than before.
You’ve still got to be stealthy though. Robots can fire quicker than you can and have more ammo, but it’s such a nice change of pace to constantly being on the run. Of course, there are still some enemies that you’re better off not fighting, but I won’t ruin those horrifying moments either. Just be aware that you’re being chased, and that at some point, you’ll probably cry out in surprise.