Hagen had a lot of fun with Sains & Sinners and the second part also makes a good impression when you play it – even if it seems to be a nicer look-up in the first place.
By my test is me The Walking Dead – Saints & Sinners remembered as a very good VR survival title. Especially because of the very successful physicality, when I grab enemies and push them away, take weapons out of the backpack in both hands and then use them with a lot of momentum or climb up gutters. Accordingly, I was looking forward to the Gamescom 22 also an allusion version of the successor The Walking Dead – Saints & Sinners – Chapter 2 – Retribution to get your hands on. So much in advance: This absurdly unwieldy name is almost my biggest criticism of the sequel after my season unfortunately passed all too quickly.
When I put the VR glasses on, I find myself in a department store. The NPC behind the switch is really in a chatting mood, given my limited time with the demo, I suppress the dialogues, then, as usual from the predecessor, I throw bandages lying around over my shoulder into my backpack – well, it was on the first try It’s the wrong shoulder, because the inventory is on the left, and the two-handed weapon on the back is on the right. I still want to grab a nail-studded baseball bat in the corner, but the devs encourage me not to over-pack my inventory because I’m supposed to find even better weapons soon. Well, let’s go to the door of the raft. On the map, I select the hotel that the demo’s quest takes me to.
The loading screen informs me that it is already day 70 – as time progressed, some new materials spawned in the predecessor, but the zombie hordes on the streets also grew in some cases. However, I don’t know at what value the game starts. Since Chapter 2 continues the events of its predecessor, it would also be conceivable that the timer for the immersion would not be reset to 0. As I step off the raft onto the main street, I see a figure in the distance. I’m thinking of seeing a walker and want to brush up on my melee skills. However, the shadow turns out to be a living enemy who opens fire. I quickly unholster the pistol and shoot the adversary down. Just as I’m going through the reloading steps (magazine out, new magazine in from the pouch on the chest, possibly pulling the slide if there’s no bullet in the chamber), a walker, attracted by the shots, grabs me by surprise. I shake him off, grab his head, draw my knife, accidentally hit the pommel first, then twist the blade with the push of a button and ram it into the undead’s skull. The knowledge of survival from the predecessor is slowly coming back, the fun of the “tangibility” of the game world is immediately back.
In front of the hotel entrance, a developer outside of virtual reality calls out to me: “Warning!”. I draw my pistol and look around frantically, but he just wanted to draw my attention to something new on the ground. There is a laser pointer as a weapon attachment, which I immediately attach to my gun. Just find the hotspot at the front of the barrel with your hand and switch on the light with the touch of a finger and you’re ready to go. The next walkers are hit easier this way. The neglected hotel with its noble but battered furniture is an atmospheric backdrop. Not only the environment, but also the models of the enemies look noticeably better than I remember them.
During my hectic exploration, I find a bow and arrow (they get the next laser pointer straight away) and an Uzi. In the courtyard I want to go Rambo, but after a few hits from the enemy archers I have to retreat and wrap a bandage around my arm to heal. The Uzi is less cool, but faster to use. However, the AI still doesn’t seem to be the brightest. She’s either already forgotten I was there or is very inefficiently looking for me. In any case, the opponents run through the yard with their backs to me and will soon be history. I find a pastor at a large bar in the foyer. I end the encounter with lead instead of words. The experiment shows: Even in Chapter 2, quest-relevant NPCs are not safe from me if they meet me personally instead of talking to me over the radio from a safe distance.
I take a coin from the priest as a quest item, which I can put in a vending machine a few streets away, which turns out to be a secret door. It was marked as a target in the HUD, but the developers assure us that it was only included for the fair demo to speed up the quest. Inside, I pull myself into a ventilation shaft (that didn’t exist in the predecessor, if memory serves me), which leads me to a ballroom. You shoot down a few walkers in sight, jump out and realize too late that I should have looked around more closely. With the Uzi, however, the next pack is soon fought off.
The devs encourage me to search the ground, and so I get a brand new Part 2 weapon for the finale of the session: a chainsaw. Sti(h)echt I have to grab it with one hand and yank the string with the other. The saw comes to life, and the controllers reflect this with a slight continuous vibration. The next walker lags behind and is a split personality after that. I can’t help but laugh at this over the top scene. In a back room I activate a fuse box and a loud waltz sounds. The guys and gals from Skydance Interactive are already giggling around me, I look around. First nothing happens, then walkers fall down from the balustrade – many walkers. The scene doesn’t quite celebrate violence with gruesome detail like Dead Island 2 (in the preview), but let me put it this way: some enemies die little by little. However, I proceed in an uncoordinated manner and am eventually overwhelmed by the Horde. I looked for a switch in the area to turn off the music. As the developers reveal, the solution would have been to shoot up the speakers in the corners of the room.
Chapter 2 – Retribution seems to me after my allusion session primarily a nicer lookup with manageable innovations. It will be interesting to see whether the weaknesses of the predecessor in terms of AI behavior and sneak feedback have also been improved. In any case, I had a lot of fun with the very successful VR battles and am looking forward to the release of the new Saints & Sinners.