The Walking Dead universe has had its ups and downs. Once the television series, which adapted the comic strip of the same name, bypassed even Game of Thrones in popularity . However, over time, the creators began to “pull the rubber” and mark time, as a result of which interest in their brainchild fell to critical indicators. The show is now drawing to a close, but it is not the end for the MCU, which is awaiting spin-offs and a full-length movie.
The situation is similar with games. In 2012, the Telltale Games studio shot the first season of the episodic adventure game based on the comics by Robert Kirkman , but later quickly got into a box and was unable to offer anything fundamentally new. As for other interactive works on the universe, everything was bad with them until 2020. For example, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct looked and played terrible. Overkill’s The Walking Dead from the creators of the hit series PayDay could have remedied the situation , but it ended up in production hell, turned out to be completely mediocre and nearly buried the studio.
Surprisingly, in 2020, a survival-focused action-packed action game emerged on the margins of virtual reality, a segment still dominated by rhythm games, and it turned out to be one of the best VR releases ever. A plot with moral choices, a very contact and intense struggle with zombies and much more – these qualities shone with The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners . Unfortunately, the next VR project in the franchise did not repeat the success of its brother.
If Saints & Sinners is based on a comic book, then The Walking Dead: Onslaught is already adapting a television series. The main focus is on characters and zombies, which are made in a realistic style, while the surrounding world flaunts blurry textures and low-detail objects. Here are the famous heroes of the show: the leader and central protagonist Rick Grimes, his assistant and second key character Daryl Dixon, the only owner of Michonne Hawthorne’s katana and the most dangerous woman in the Alexandria group Carol Peletier. All of them are allowed to play, and they are voiced by the actors of the series, except perhaps Rick – he was given a voice by another actor who is trying to be like him. Everyone did not do the job very well, except for Norman Reedus., who tried to give the dialogues a bit of emotion.
The game features a campaign on behalf of Daryl Dixon. If you haven’t watched Season 8 of the TV series, the text below may spoil key events a bit.
The Walking Dead: Onslaught takes place after the war with the Saviors. Not wanting to stay in one place with the once-former enemies, Daryl began to rush everywhere and retire from Alexandria. One day, unsuccessfully dodging the horde and breaking the bike from falling, he finds a random survivor with a police car. The story is told by Daryl himself, whom Rick discovers at the very end of the journey. The script lacks stars from the skies and ends up strangely in the finale.
In terms of gameplay, The Walking Dead: Onslaught turned out to be more arcade compared to the serious The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. It is much easier to cut the dead here, the game does not require strong swings with melee weapons. The latter also hits surrounding objects, thereby enhancing the sensation of presence. There has been progress since early developer demos.
But not only with knives, kukri and machete will have to chop zombies – in The Walking Dead: Onslaught there is also a firearm. At the same time, it is interesting that, unlike most VR shooters with an emphasis on physical interaction, reloading here is also lightweight – you just need to insert cartridges into the clip without having to juggle the shutter.
There are as many as 24 weapons in the game. Among them – the automatic bow, known from the TV series, from which Daryl Dixon shoots, Michonne’s katana and Rick’s revolver, as well as such original means of killing zombies, such as a shovel (hit with a handle!) And an ax. But there are problems with the balance.
On the release of The Walking Dead: Onslaught, firearms were almost inferior to cold ones. Shots to the head killed more than one hit, it was not easy with cartridges (they were lying around in a fairly decent amount, but not so many were allowed to carry). In turn, a light swing of a machete or a pinpoint blow with a knife stopped the procession of the dead once and for all. So it was much easier and more convenient to fight their way through the hordes of the dead hand-to-hand.
The developers listened and released a big patch with rebalancing, in which they managed … to make things even worse. Melee weapons now kill with one swing only when they hit the head clearly (which causes big problems with armored undead) and has a habit of getting stuck in enemies for a while, which is rather annoying in such a dynamic game. Firearms, on the other hand, received the long-awaited opportunity to pierce heads with one shot, although there is also an unpleasant catch here – for balance, the number of cartridges at the level was reduced, which, together with the meager ammunition carried by the hero, also causes nothing but irritation.
As a result, if earlier it was fun to chop, pound and shred zombies until the finale, after the update the game lost a certain touch of arcadeness, and this did not benefit it.
Not to mention the fact that the road to this very ending is not entirely easy. It so happened that in addition to the campaign, the game has a raid mode for supplies, and this is pure grinding, which is required to unlock the story chapters. We are in a hurry to collect resources that are used to build (or rather repair) the main buildings in Alexandria, which increase certain characteristics, as well as to upgrade weapons.
The raids themselves consist of a combination of two modes – escape from the horde and survival for a while. During the escape from the horde, the player sees behind him a red wall catching up with him, symbolizing the approaching horde, which, having touched the hero, begins to rapidly deteriorate his health. The task at this moment is a quick run through all the nooks and crannies and buildings in search of any resources.
In survival mode for a while, the player must fight off endlessly appearing walkers until a rescue truck arrives for him.
The biggest problem with these missions is that they are made up of the same locations. Throughout the game, you need to open up new areas for exploration, but in reality, the game just shuffles the same locations, and you have to run around annoying places again. It looks very strange, considering that there are enough unique zones in the campaign.
As a result, in the interval between the passage of story missions, the player must rush through the same shops and trash cans, grabbing everything in his path, and so on over and over again. The most useful thing you can find there is actually a new weapon. On Survival difficulty, the upgrades are not felt so much, and all the interest comes down to using the new guns.
In terms of gameplay, the story campaign of The Walking Dead: Onslaught is very similar to one of the most popular VR shooters – Arizona Sunshine . The gameplay model from the latter is already quite outdated, and Onslaught could be quite a good replacement for it, if not for the forced grind and balance problems.
You can only compare these “Walkers” with Saints & Sinners visually – both projects feel differently, although recently Saints & Sinners added a similar survival mode against waves of zombies.