Launched yesterday, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is a heavy physics-based survival adventure game set in the zombie apocalypse of the Walking Dead universe. In this video and article, we wanted to showcase the core gameplay mechanics without spoiling too much of the story.
Cas and Chary VR is a YouTube channel hosted by Netherland-based duo Casandra Vuong and Chary Keijzer who have been documenting their VR journeys since 2016. In partnership with the channel, Road to VR shares a curated selection of their content.
The video might spoil a little of the first mission only. If you don’t want spoilers at all, just stick to the article. If you’re looking for a scored analysis, check out the Road to VR review of the game.
I’m about four hours into the game and I am enjoying it a lot, even though I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to horror and I need to take breaks every so often to calm down! Yes, the game does the Walking Dead series right. I haven’t read the comic books, so the TV series is my only reference, but in the series, you could feel the tension whenever people were out in the apocalypse. Nowhere is safe, the undead are everywhere, and the living are usually even more dangerous. The game feels exactly like this, except instead of watching it happen to others, you’re living it.
The core gameplay consists of a couple of things. First of all, the game is story-driven with fully voiced characters. Even your own character has a voice (you can choose between a male and a female voice). When you meet NPC’s, you’ll get dialogue options, allowing you to shape the conversation. There’s also a psychological aspect to the game as you’ll be given several moral choices in your playthrough.
After the tutorial and an introduction story, you’ll find the safe resting area where you can craft things like weapons, helpful items, and character upgrades. There’s a bus with a map of the game and a recycle bin where you can convert found materials into scrap. This scrap can then be used to craft. Materials can be found almost everywhere when you visit places for your missions. You will find yourself going back to the safe area often to recycle materials and to rest up.
Throughout the game, you’ll be assigned tasks that will take you to multiple places. Each place has randomized events, loot, and Walkers. For those that don’t know the series, Walkers are the zombie enemies you’ll encounter in this game.
Your character has six holster spots: two on your belt for weapons, two on your chest for a flashlight and a journal, and one over each shoulder for a backpack and a heavy weapon. The journal serves as your objective guide, map, character info, crafting recipe reference, and hints. The backpack stores a limited amount of items and there’s a slot inside for another weapon as well.
Combat has a nice physics-based feel to it; not to the obsessive extent of Boneworks (2019), but still enough to make it feel engaging. For example, all weapons have weight and each weapon has its own kill animation and sound effect that makes the kill feel pretty satisfying. Walkers can only be killed if you pierce through their brains. Trying to stab their heads lightly with a shiv won’t work—you’ll need to use a bit more strength to pierce through it. However, a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire will go through much easier if you use two hands and some force, but you’ll also drain your in-game stamina meter faster. Yes, you also need to pay attention to your stamina. If it runs out, it’ll be harder to swing weapons.
Your character can also get sick. When your health is low, you’ll start coughing loudly, luring any Walkers around towards you. And it doesn’t help that you can run out of ammo or weapons easily. Weapons have durability so after a couple of uses they can break.
You also have a watch on your left wrist that indicates when bells in the city will ring and cause the streets to be flooded by Walkers. Best not to be around when that happens. So your only option is to go back to the resting place often and tactically choose what to bring with you on your next mission.
As said before, this game isn’t for the faint-hearted. The environments can be dark and eerie. It’s certainly a challenge, but even though I’m a baby when it comes to horror, I still want to venture further as the game intrigues me a lot.
The only complaint I have so far is that you can’t physically crouch, there’s only artificial crouching with the press of a button (which is weird for a VR game), but that aside, the game is well done. There is also more to this game than I could fit in this video and article. So if you like what you’ve read so far, I suggest diving into it yourself. Good luck!