The first thing you probably think of when you see The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapter 2: Retribution is that it’s a complete mouthful of a title for a video game. It neither conveys that it’s a virtual reality zombie shooter nor that it’s not a complete sequel to 2020’s The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. The only thing that it really shows is that it’s related and set in the popular The Walking Dead universe, which doesn’t say much given how convoluted that franchise is.
Skydance Interactive’s newest VR project actually released back in December 2022 on the Meta Quest 2 to somewhat favorable reviews before being re-released for PC VR and PlayStation VR2 in March 2023. Unsurprisingly, the PS VR2 port of Saints and Sinners Chapter 2 looks metric tons better than it did on the Quest 2, and ultimately is the definitive version to enjoy this zombie slaying experience. It’s amazing how much a product can improve in a mere three months considering the Quest 2 launch was quite rough.
Contrary to what the name suggests, you do not actually have to play through Saints and Sinners Chapter 1 to fully enjoy Chapter 2, although it obviously helps set the premise if you did. This “sequel” builds on the technical foundation that Chapter 1 set, reusing many of the locations and assets from the original. It's a bit of a stretch to call this an actual sequel, because it feels more like an expansion rather than a full-fledged follow up, despite this game coming with a hefty $40 price tag. Chapter 2 is simply an extension of the story starring the Tourist, who was also the protagonist in the previous chapter. That being said, you can import your save from the first game for continuity purposes, which carries over crafting recipes and inventory items. Funny enough, this feature didn’t even work correctly when it launched for the Quest 2, and had to be patched in an update. Don’t worry because even if you don’t have a previous save to import, the game gives you a huge head start with a full stock of various tools, materials, and weapons.
You start off your journey in a familiar boat ride through a flooded part of the city that reminds you of the opening sequence from the first game. The undead infested streets of New Orleans are again ready for you to explore and scavenge. The narrative here is a serviceable one, with a plot that doesn’t do too much or too little. Chapter 2 picks up three months after the first game, and has you aiding a group of survivors via fetch quests and errands. There is a constant power struggle between people who are able to live in a well-protected tower and the people on the outside looking in, and you are caught in the middle of it all. You visit new areas and locations, but best of all, you get to encounter a deadly new enemy known as the Axeman. This omnipresent being adds an extra layer of fear and unease to the gameplay experience. It’s just a shame that none of the choices made during narrative segments really make a difference in the overall outcome of the story, while the first game did.
Saints and Sinners Chapter 2 on PS VR 2 is a massive upgrade over its Quest counterpart, and performs on a whole new technical level. Many of the graphical and visual effects are downgraded or straight up missing in the Quest version, such as dynamic shadows and detailed textures. This is completely rehauled in the PS VR2 version, with improved lighting, environments, and animations. It’s an overall crisp and polished rendition of the game. The walker zombies themselves still look a bit silly with their gray and blurry heads but the environments are improved upon tenfold in PS VR 2. The difference is night and day. Take trees and foliage for example, which straight up look dead in the Quest version, but look luscious and vibrant on the PS VR2. The haptic feedback from the VR2 controllers also immerse you effortlessly into this post apocalyptic world.
Gameplay is very similar to that of the first game. You have your classic survival horror mechanics of resource scavenging and crafting. The game is played across a day to day system, where with each progressing day, you encounter more zombies and resources get more scarce. There’s now a day and night mechanic as well where you can venture out at midnight to search for rare materials at the risk of triggering devastating hordes of walkers. Daytime expeditions play out akin to an action shooter whereas night time excursions require a more stealthy approach. Given how dark it is, you can really feel the tension and unease through the VR headset. At least you got a trusty ultraviolet flashlight that can not only light your way ahead, but reveal hidden messages and ingredients too. It’s a great system of risk and reward that reminds me a bit of how things were implemented in Dying Light 2.
The actual combat and gunplay is where Saints and Sinners 2 truly shines, with excellent physics-driven VR mechanics and dynamic dismemberment of zombies. The aforementioned adaptive triggers and haptic feedback on the PS VR2 controller make each weapon feel unique and each trigger pull feel weighty. Even grabbing ammo from your waist pouch and reloading feels extremely realistic. Perhaps the most exciting addition here is the introduction of the chainsaw, which is an absolute delight to use. I’ll never get tired of cutting off walker heads and limbs with it and feel the adrenaline rush in my veins whilst doing so. Dual wielding guns is pretty cool too. Plenty of items found throughout the world can be salvaged and turned into makeshift weapons as the game provides a robust and rewarding crafting system. There’s always an itch to go out and get some more materials so you can make your next upgrade, but the finite inventory space, constant threat of walkers, and item durability keep your instincts in check. Overall the zombie slaying here is visceral and addictive, something that can’t be said for all VR titles.
It’s without a doubt that the PS VR2 version of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapter 2: Retribution is the definitive way to play this game, considering it fixes and polishes just about everything the Meta Quest 2 version suffered from. If you enjoyed the original Saints & Sinners, then this is a no brainer must play for you. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and everything players loved from the original exists here. Chapter 2 welcomes some new additions and novelties to gameplay, but never reinvents the wheel. However, fans of the first are sure to feel right at home with this “sequel.”
If for whatever reason you skipped out on the initial Meta Quest 2 release of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapter 2: Retribution, then the PS VR2 version is definitely the way to go. While Chapter 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel or present a full-fledged sequel, Skydance Interactive has still provided enough polish and content to the experience to warrant a revisit to post-apocalyptic New Orleans.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.