Review: The Walking Dead Onslaught (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Oculus/span>
  • Steam

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 None
  • Move Required (2)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
Title: The Walking Dead Onslaught
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (8.72 GB)
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Survios
Developer: Survios
Original MSRP: $29.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: M
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The Walking Dead Onslaught is a new PSVR release based on the The Walking Dead TV show. This is not to be confused with The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, which released earlier this year on PSVR and is based on the comics series.

Rey discusses The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners on the PS Nation Podcast, Episode 659. He was very positive about the game, and said it was on par with em>Half Life: Alyx, which is hands down my favorite VR game.

The Walking Dead Onslaught, on the other hand, is a different story. The game is set between seasons eight and nine of the show. I have only seen half of the first season, but the story was easy enough to follow.

The Walking Dead Onslaught‘s developer, Survios, is no stranger to VR, having previously developed Creed: Rise to Glory and early VR powerhouse Raw Data. Daryl Dixon is even voiced by Norman Reedus. What could possibly go wrong?

The Walking Dead Onslaught is an action adventure game with minor RPG elements. Not only is there a full campaign to experience but there is a settlement that has to be built up.

The main story missions are locked behind the number of survivors at your base. Going on supply runs allows the player to gather food (supporting more survivors) and other supplies. The supplies allow players to modify their weapons or build and upgrade buildings to better support the town. However, it quickly became clear that the buildings and upgrading them had little impact on the game.

The player plays as Daryl for the campaign missions, and can choose between three of the main TV show characters for the supply runs. However, I can find no discernible difference between the characters.

Practically everything about the game is a little janky at best. Even the subtitles are placed over the person who is talking’s face.

Some open areas are designed to feel bigger than they are. There are multiple paths leaving the area, and warnings pop up when you are attempting to leave the gameplay area. I like that the areas weren’t cordoned off, but I usually tried to walk down multiple paths before finding the path the game wanted me to travel down. The areas where they didn’t attempt this design were very clearly designed to funnel the player from point A to B with little to no deviation.

The game does a bad job of providing accurate damage feedback. During the first mission, red teeth marks appeared on the screen. I assumed this meant I was taking damage. It’s hard to tell because you have to look down to see your health, and it only appears when you are taking damage. After quickly dispatching the zombie, the health UI disappears. Only when my health was dangerously low did it display at all times, which is not necessary because the whole display has a red hue at that point.

There were many times I saw a zombie open his mouth to bite me. I was able to grab him by the throat before he could attack, but the red marks still appeared. It is still not clear if the red teeth marks means a zombie is about to attack, or has attacked.

In the heat of battle, I could never reliably grab an ammo clip from my waist to reload the gun. Even if I stole a glance to see if a clip was in my hand, it kept showing as an the outline of orange fist that made it hard to see if anything was in my hand. Later I figured out that if I leaned to the side and lifted my butt cheek like I was about to rip one, I could usually grab a clip on the first try.

Grabbing a zombie by the throat makes it pretty easy to quickly put a knife right through one of their eyes and into the brain; instant kill, toss zombie aside, and move on. Except, occasionally it didn’t die for some reason, even though the damage modeled on the zombie shows a direct hit to the eye.

While there are a variety of weapons that slowly become available, the guns are largely useless. Guns have worked well in many VR games, however, the pistols in Onslaught had a constant sway that made it hard to aim down the sights. Occasionally when trying to look down the sights, the view would zoom in and out a little.

I have never played a VR game that had a two handed gun, like a rifle, work well. Here, there is a lever-action rifle that should not be in the game. First, I had to practically tie my arms in a knot to be able to look down the sights. Second, after each shot, I had to use the lever to chamber the next round. It’s hard to describe how crazy the gun’s animation was. The gun jumped all over the place and was thrashing about like a wild animal.

When dealing with one or two zombies at a time, the control issues aren’t a huge hindrance. Once you are surrounded by zombies, the controls completely fall apart. Many times I tried to shove a zombie with my off hand to give myself time to bash in another zombie’s head with my hammer, and my hand went through the zombie. A number of times as I tried to grab a zombie’s throat to keep him from attacking me, the zombie would act like I had a hold of him and then when I turned my attention to another zombie, I would be attacked from the side.

Visuals:
The visuals are the shining light of Onslaught. The landscape of Alexandria isn’t great, but the zombies look good, which is really what counts. The damage to the zombies is also on point, visually. I grabbed a zombie by the throat and shoved him. He fell and hit his head on a car, leaving a blood splatter where his head had hit. Shooting a zombie into the head results in damage to the impact area as well as a blood pooling out of the back of their head as it collapses to the floor.

Part of the tutorial is grabbing a zombie by the throat and stabbing him in the eye. The damage is gruesome but not grotesque. Even better is using a hammer instead of the knife. A few swings to the head and nothing is left. The game expects players to go for the head, but what happens if I try something unexpected? Instead of stabbing my attacker in the eye, I did a few quick jabs to the gut. Some clothing and rotten flesh quickly gave way, leaving an open wound.

Audio:
In a game like Onslaught, the background noises can be an important tool, if done right. If done wrong, it can be downright frustrating. In a few missions, I kept hearing zombie noises behind me. I would push away or quickly kill a zombie so I could quickly turn around, however, nothing would be there. Yet when zombies are beating down a gate and I am hurriedly collecting any supplies lying around, they crawl out from underneath cars and don’t make a sound as they sneak up behind me and start attacking.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
The Walking Dead Onslaught is simply a disappointment. The controls don’t have the accuracy and reliability required to play missions and supply runs on the standard difficulty. The frustration from dying multiple times when it was not my fault quickly outweighed any enjoyment from the game. Not being able to rely on guns left me with a hammer and knife as my main weapons and quickly became repetitive.

The idea of building and expanding the settlement is an exciting proposition, yet sadly has little impact on the game. I don’t mind occasional grinding in games, especially when I know I am working towards a certain goal. With my frustrations, and limited potential to impact the game, my excitement couldn’t carry me through grinding supply runs to build an extended magazine for my handgun or upgrade for my hammer.

There are many great PSVR games to experience and enjoy, The Walking Dead Onslaught is not one of them.

Score:
5.0
* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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