Review – The Walking Dead Onslaught
Licensed games typically don’t have the best track record with providing quality content. However, some may surprise you like The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, or they can be an over the top dumpster fire that ends up being endearing in a way like Fast & Furious Crossroads. Does The Walking Dead Onslaught fit into either of these categories? Grab your crossbows and gruff biker voices and let’s take a look.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t kept up on The Walking Dead show past the season with Negan and his close companion, Lucille. Luckily, The Walking Dead Onslaught is an original story that is set after the war with the Saviors. So if you’re like me, you won’t be lost with the story. Unfortunately, that being said, this original story really isn’t worth experiencing.
The Walking Dead Onslaught is split up into two different sections. You play as Rick Grimes interrogating Daryl Dixon on where he disappeared to for so long and how he got injured. The main story is told in chapters as a flashback where you get to play Daryl as he tells his story. He was on a supply run when it goes wrong and needs to rely on a stranger for help to get back. Obviously things are never that simple and more things go wrong, and without ruining the story, there is a girl who needs to be saved. However, Rick finds Daryl before he can go save the girl and is now keeping him at the camp to heal up and tell his story.
Section Two of the game is a typical supply run gameplay loop. There are only a small selection of supply run types: Supply Evac, Supply Raid, and Supply Run. Supply Runs send you in to a section of the map where you’ll need to run through and collect supplies. This mission is timed to where behind you there is a red wall of walkers. If this horde catches up to you, you’ll lose. Supply Evac you’re set in a small camp, typically circular, and you must survive until Rick can come back to pick you up. Supply Raids are a mixture of Supply Runs and Supply Evacs.
As you complete these supply runs you’ll unlock other portions of the map which offer different kinds of materials. If you collect enough food supplies you’ll unlock a survivor that you’ll use to help build up your camp. Each building offers different kinds of boosts to you and your camp like additional supplies per run or health boosts while on a run. You can also use the supplies to upgrade your weapons which some are found during runs or during the campaign missions. Now, during the supply runs you don’t have to play as Rick. You can choose Michonne or Carol, however, there is no difference in using one or the other.
How Survios set up the gameplay really hurts the story more so than its uninspired premise. The entire time Daryl is talking to Rick he is upset that he is being held at the camp instead of saving this girl. Daryl continues to make this seem urgent and how she is currently in danger and needs help. However, before you can even continue the story you have to complete a certain amount of supply runs in between. Nothing that you do on the supply runs or anything you build effects the story at all. This decision was to simply pad the run time of the game by forcing players to do these supply runs. Instead, it simply takes you out of the experience and makes you not care much about the “urgency”.
This wouldn’t be a big deal at all if the supply runs and general gameplay were engaging and fun. Unfortunately, The Walking Dead Onslaught lacks the type of interactive immersion you expect in VR. Environments are completely static other than the obvious shining supplies you can pick up. There aren’t hidden paths, fun puzzles, secret items, or even collectables to find. Everything about Onslaught is extremely linear, and even the supply runs are on timers and feel like something from a mobile game.
There is a decent amount of weapons, but even these lack immersion while using them. For example: some of the reloading actions are automated, you can’t freely grab melee weapons, and hit detection can be spotty. Also, the guns in general lack power and you’ll end up using melee majority of the time. In fact, melee is so much easier you really only need to use a knife for the whole game.
The visuals are a bit hit or miss all around. Michonne’s character model is really well done, whereas Daryl looks strange with terrible hair textures. The zombie models are competently done, there may not be a ton of variety, but the quality is good. They look like gruesome zombies and the gore effects from bladed weapons look like they really cut into them. Environments are heavily detailed with scattered junk, debris, and destruction. However, it’s all static and linear so the environments feel hollow in a way. Weapon models are nice, as well as the general lighting, but overall The Walking Dead Onslaught won’t impress you visually.
Much like the rest of the Onslaught, the sound design is also nothing to write home about. General sound effects are fine, from the ambient zombie grunts and growls to the gore effects. However, the guns lack a certain punch in the sound department to make them feel powerful. They all sound too soft which makes using the melee weapons for that nice gore crunch sound effect much more appealing. The voice acting is just okay with most sounding as close to their show counterpart as possible. Unfortunately, the voice actor for Rick is not great and comes off sounding more like a Nicolas Cage impersonation.
The Walking Dead Onslaught is not the type of licensed game that ended up surprising me. Nor was it so bad that it ended up being an endearing cheesy experience I could laugh at and have fun with. Unfortunately, it’s an uninspired title that even lacks the depth of its fellow The Walking Dead VR games. Even if the story isn’t great, typically VR games can hook you with their immersive gameplay systems, but Onslaught falls short here also. To be honest, this feels like a mobile game adapted to VR.
The main characters for the most part are well rendered and so are the zombies. However, the environments lack the same quality and is overall not a visually pleasing game.
The general motion controls work fine, however it’s very limited. Detection issues are present, you can’t freely grab weapons, certain actions are automated which takes you out of immersion. Levels are extremely linear and interactions are scarce.
Voice acting is very hit or miss with some actors doing an okay version of The Walking Dead characters. However, some of the voice acting is pretty awful. General sound effects like enemy groans, gore effects, and some weapons are fine. Soundtrack is forgettable.
The Walking Dead Onslaught is lacking quality in most of its aspects. The story is linear, uninteresting, and the VR gameplay is lacking interactive immersion. It’s so simple you’ll be able to run through most levels with only a knife.
Final Verdict: 3.5
The Walking Dead Onslaught is available now on PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, Windows Mixed Reality.
Reviewed on Oculus Rift with an i7-9700k, RTX 2070, and 16gb of RAM.
A copy of The Walking Dead Onslaught was provided by the publisher.