A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is a virtual reality action game for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Based on the popular The Walking Dead franchise, the game's extremely violent, bloody and gory played from a first-person perspective, and lets you kill several zombies at once using a variety of guns and other weapons. It's possible to dismember, decapitate, and impale the undead, shoot their head off their shoulders, smash them with bats with nails, and much more. Players will mimic the actions such as swinging a bat and pumping a shortcut, using motion sensors. It's also a very scary game. Players will also hear "s--t" and "f--k" in dialogue, and can find and drink alcohol in some areas.
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What's it about?
Based on the popular television show, THE WALKING DEAD: SAINTS & SINNERS is a virtual reality (VR) game that takes place in a ravaged New Orleans. The city has fallen to Walkers – hordes of the undead that are feasting on any human survivors. You play the role of The Visitor, who must fight your way through enemies with any weapons and supplies you can find, avoid getting attacked (and avoid dying from your wounds if you are stricken), meet characters and perform missions, and unravel a larger mystery tied to the outbreak. Played from an immersive first-person perspective using a motion controller in each hand, you’ll roam around the city and interact with survivors. You’ll also have to make some tough choices that can impact the story line, the characters you’ll meet, and future missions. During combat, you’ll position your hands to aim and fire guns, swing axes and bats, use a crossbow, and even use a kitchen “spoon” a zombie to incapacitate it.
Is it any good?
While not a perfect adventure, this is an intense, scary and quite graphic VR game that has a lot going for it. The first thing you’ll notice in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is the smart use of motion controllers that really give you the sense that you're manipulating objects in this world. Many games let you do things like push open a door, grab a note pinned to a wall, or aim and fire a gun by performing the gestures with your hands in real life. But there are great touches with the little details in this game. For example, you must wrap a bandage around your forearm to prevent an infection. Or you can grab a defeated zombie’s face and wave the corpse around like a ragdoll or scale a wall by shimmying across a gutter. The developers did a great job here creating that immersion. The only thing missing is physical crouching, which could likely be added in an update (it's silly you need to do that with a button press instead).
The action (with some role-playing game elements) is gratifying and very gory. Not only is it tense when you’re surrounded by flesh-eating Walkers, and you realize you’re running low on ammunition, but then it starts getting dark outside which amps up the tension even more. But the graphics are good, not extraordinary, and same goes for the enemy A.I. (artificial intelligence), which takes away some of the overall experience. The characters are interesting – at least, to start – which will hold your attention during non-combat sequences, and the moral choices you need to make create a sense of personalization to your adventure (such as who should be saved or left to die). But after a few hours into this campaign, you might get a sense of déjà vu when it comes to the environments, missions, and combat. If you like horror movies and own one of the VR headsets required to play this $39 game, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is an atmospheric, 15- to 20-hour game of survival, exploration and blood-drenched combat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners affected by the immersion in virtual reality? While this game is clearly fictional -- as you're killing zombies -- should anyone be concerned about the fact gamers mimic the hand movements for things like pumping, aiming, and shooting a rifle -- with the intent to kill and dismember? Does it lead to desensitization or is this purely fantasy and there is absolutely nothing to worry about?
Does VR seem like it brings you closer to the action, or does it seem like a gimmick to sell a game? Would there be a way to make VR more interactive, or is it as good as it could be with today's technology?
- Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Skydance Interactive
- Release date: January 29, 2020
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Language, Use of Alcohol, Blood and Gore, Intense Violence
- Last updated: February 21, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.