First Impressions: Sandbox Survival Takes Center Stage in The Walking Dead Sequel for PSVR2, PSVR

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is widely regarded as one of the best virtual reality games on the market. As a horror game with an emphasis on survival, the release tasked you with exploring an apocalyptic New Orleans, scavenging for supplies and crafting useful tools to help you stay alive. Skydance Interactive’s sequel, annoyingly named The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Chapter 2: Retribution [Urgh – Ed]looks set to extend those core principles further.

We were treated to a 13-minute demonstration of the title, which really whet our appetite ahead of the release’s 2022 arrival on PSVR and 2023 launch on PSVR2. The biggest change is that you can now head out on expeditions at night, when the undead are at their most aggressive – and visibility will be a constant thorn in your side. Fortunately, you can use flares to your advantage, attracting the interest of the undead and giving you the opportunity to slip by.

Everything in the sequel looks tactile in a way that only virtual reality can provide. You have a backpack that you use to store your weapons and supplies, and you can take it off at any time to rifle through your inventory and pull out any essentials that you may need. Being able to change your loadout by physically reaching for different weapons on your person looks like superb fun – especially when one of your options includes a chainsaw.

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Interestingly, the developer made a point of noting that it’s using haptic feedback to underline the illusion of cutting through corpses. Therefore, when you’re chainsawing a foe, you’ll physically feel the resistance as the motorized blade tears through their flesh and bones. It’s obviously quite gruesome, and the game doesn’t shy away from the gory stuff, but it’s not overly gratuitous – it just looks really satisfying.

Of course, there’s much more to the game than just chopping up reanimated stiffs. We got to watch an entire quest in its entirety, as an intoxicated priest requested the recovery of an artefact from a nearby speakeasy. The developer pointed out that there are many approaches that could be taken, and you don’t even necessarily have to complete the objectives in any specific order – you can prioritise what’s important to you.

In this specific mission, however, the speakeasy was filled with undead – and attempting to open the locked doors inside prompted party time. With music blaring, the attention of nearby walkers was attracted, and it was explained to us there are multiple ways you could proceed. However, in this instance we watched the player pick off the undead while shooting down speakers – again, it looks more satisfying physical doing this than aiming with an analogue stick.

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One of the things the developer was keen to impression is that the 3D audio will help you to locate the position of all the speakers, as your ears will be able to locate the source of the music. In addition, new laser pointer attachments for many of the weapons will enable you to be more cautious with your ammunition, and secure those all-important headshots. You can even attach a laser pointer to the bow-and-arrow!

Perhaps most impressive of all is that what we saw was just a tiny slice. According to the developer, you’re let loose in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and you’re pretty much free to go wherever you want, when you want. The sandbox is yours to explore, and while you will need to be conscience of your vitals – this is the kind of game where you need to eat and drink in order to restore your energy – it looks like a title that’s just begging you to poke at it.

While it is coming to PSVR, and we’re sure it’ll be great on Sony’s original headset, we think this is going to really shine with the enhanced control capabilities of PSVR2. Part of the appeal here is the flexibility that the motion controls afford, and the PS Move wands are really beginning to show their age now. Factor in the visual improvements you’ll inevitably benefit from on PS5, and we reckon it’ll be worth the wait.

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Is your trigger finger itching for this undead adventure in New Orleans? Did you play the original Saints & Sinner? Survive the comments section, and let us know below.

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