The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Might Be The Darkest VR Game Yet
The post-apocalyptic VR RPG is now available on SteamVR, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest via Oculus Link.
Skydance Interactive’s highly-anticipated Walking Dead VR RPG The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is finally available on PC VR headsets and boy howdy is there a lot of blood.
Set in the flooded remains of a post-apocalyptic New Orleans ravaged by endless hordes of flesh-hungry zombies, you begin your horrific journey with a brief introduction to the colorful characters that make up the bayous many warring factions. After a quick prologue and some badass exposition, you’re let loose into several open-world environments filled with a generous selection of people to help (or hurt), zombies to kill, and bad guys to outsmart.
Like any good RPG, Saints & Sinners does an excellent job of setting up a primary objective and peppering you with amazing side quest after amazing side quest until you’ve totally forgotten the main mission. After all, an RPG is only as good as its side quests, and Saints & Sinners provides some of the most fun distractions I’ve had in a sandbox VR game to date. Every environment featured in Saints & Sinners has been intricately designed to tell a story, whether it be heart-breaking messages left by family members throughout the walls of abandoned homes, or the gruesome carnage left behind in the streets. Combine this with an incredibly satisfying combat system, and you have one hell of a VR RPG experience.
Broken up into individual days, you begin your journey from a church bus-turned-makeshift home base where you can store new weapons you discover as well as various materials and resources you’ve collected. These items can then be used to craft various weapon upgrades as well as other handy supplies. You can check up on your in-game progress via a large quest board which breaks down your current situation. Once you’re properly equipped, you can then venture out to several different locations throughout New Orleans via an adorable, albeit decrepit motorboat.
While traveling throughout each environment, you’ll come across new objectives, such as finishing off the undead remains of an NPC’s loved one. Your main objective, however, is to gain access to “The Reserve,” a massive collection of nonperishable foods, military-grade weaponry, and other valuable supplies that would no doubt prove useful in the apocalypse. Along with the way you’ll make contact with a variety of characters; some friendly, others not so much. One of the more impressive aspects is the games faction system, which populates the game world with a handful of roving gangs which users can befriend, battle, or — if they’re feeling craft — pit each other against. A branching dialogue system adds further depth to your interactions, allowing you to play the generous white knight or the cold-hearted outlaw.
The real highlight of Saints & Sinners, however, is its unique physics-based combat system. Similar to titles such as Boneworks and Blade and Sorcery, every movement you make has a sense of weight and momentum tied to it. When wielding larger weapons — such as a two-handed ax, for instance, where you position your hands on the handle plays a factor in how fast and heavy your swing is. Hand placement is critical during combat as enemies won’t just go down with a simple tap to the dome. When using blunt or sharp objects, you’ll need to stab/hit zombies with a generous amount of force in order to take out their brains and put them in the ground for good. You could always use a gun, but then you risk bringing an unwanted horde down on your position.
You’ll need to be strategic with each encounter, however. Stab too hard and you risk losing your weapon in decaying zombie flesh or breaking it altogether. When you find your favorite shank dug extra deep in a zombie skull, you can place your other hand on the zombie itself for additional leverage. Healing also has its own unique twist to it. Instead of selecting a med-pack from your inventory and instantly filling their health, you manually bandage your arms. It’s these little moments, and many others, that help immerse you further into the game world.
While we’re only a couple of hours deep into Saints & Sinners so far, Skydance Interactive’s ambitious VR RPG is already one of my favorite VR RPGs. As someone who loved and devoured Arizona Sunshine, it’s awesome to see another AAA developer take another huge stride for the zombie genre.
Feature Image Credit: Skydance Interactive