As we said in our Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners review, if you're planning to buy an Oculus Quest 2 or already have one, you absolutely need to own this game. It's a triumph of VR game design and shows the true potential that a quality, experience-driven survival horror can deliver. The Trial, a free DLC, is the first DLC created for the game and adds a substantial new mode of the same name.
In this new mode, players can choose to enter one of three arenas that take place in some of the game's more unique spaces. One sees players housed in a foggy mausoleum, while the other two take place in the streets of New Orleans. This horde mode separates itself from other similar-style games by encouraging players to scavenge and explore — a key component of the story mode — as well as to perform creative kills, earn coins, and craft items to get through as many waves of zombies as they can.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners: The Trial DLC picking up the pace
The story mode in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners tasks players with scavenging the remains of post-apocalyptic New Orleans and rewards players that can strategically move through the city in as few days as possible. The longer you take, the harder the game gets. In that same way, The Trial sees players moving through wave after wave of zombies — with rest breaks in-between — with each wave getting progressively harder as more and more zombies appear.
The biggest difference is that The Trial takes place in a much smaller area. It's still sizable enough to encourage movement and exploration, but you won't be traversing to other parts of the city or going back to base camp every night. Instead, players will move freely about the map, taking shelter as needed and crafting items with rewards they'll earn in combat. The concept of time has also been reversed in The Trial; instead of working within the confines of a day to complete tasks, players will find themselves trying to last until the end of each round — a time when all zombies immediately die and players can take a few moments to reset and recover.
This drastic change of perspective utilizes the already incomparable gameplay of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners in ways you probably didn't get to experience in the story mode. Scavenging is still important, but not in the same way as story mode. Instead of collecting items to scrap and subsequently craft into new components, all scavenged items have a direct use. Bandages, food, and other healing items are for keeping you alive. Bullets and other ammo are for keeping the zombies dead.
Between rounds, you'll use Bitecoins — currency earned for each zombie kill — to purchase items at the bench instead of crafting them from supplies. Roughly half of the game's craftable items are available from the first wave of each arena in The Trial, while the rest of the items must be earned or found. It's this unique aspect of The Trial that sets it above the usual horde mode found in so many other games; it actually rewards you for moving around and exploring rather than camping and staying in one spot.
This drastic change of perspective utilizes the already incomparable gameplay of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.
You'll be able to mitigate hordes of zombies with all the debris around, climb to safety, shut doors, use traps, and find plenty of other ways to hide and give yourself enough time to bandage up and carry on. In addition to this, you'll find crafting recipes scattered throughout each environment that'll unlock signature Walking Dead weapons like one of my personal favorites, Samedi's Hand — a hand-held set of blades that'll make you feel like Wolverine from The X-Men. Check it out in the video of me playing above.
More Bitecoins are awarded to players who get creative with their kills. Pick up a propane tank, toss it into a bunch of zombies and blow it up for bonus coins. Lob off a zombie's arm and beat another senseless with it, or just remove a few heads to get ahead. Kill two or more zombies simultaneously in any way, particularly in a gruesome manner, and you'll be duly compensated for your skills.
Each map sports several vertical methods of traversal — more exist in the two maps with buildings, but the graveyard does feature a few bridges or other areas to take temporary shelter on. These areas, particularly the houses and rooms that fill two of the maps, provide much-needed shelter for rounds where you just need a break. You aren't actually forced into killing any zombies in a given wave; you just need to outlast them. That's great for taking a figurative (or literal) seat and bandaging up. You won't be rewarded unless you kill zombies, but it also means you won't be filing down the durability of your items, either.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners: The Trial DLC Is it worth playing?
The Trial is a free DLC for anyone who owns The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. The price of the DLC, in this case, is irrelevant to its value. If you've already completed the story mode and are hungry for more zombies to kill, this is the best excuse you're going to find. The only consequence for dying is an opportunity to get up and try again. Sure, you'll have to start back on wave 1 and unlock items again, but it's incredibly enticing to scavenge as much of the map as possible to find those rare and well-hidden weapons.
To me, it's a nearly perfect addition to a nearly perfect game. The level of replayability here is truly immense. If you enjoy killing zombies, scavenging, one-upping your best scores, and consistently feeling like a bad-ass, this is exactly what you're looking for. It's not the multiplayer update that many people have been asking for since the game's initial release,, but it's an important step toward getting there — that's, of course, assuming the developers are working on such things.
Given the incredible creative qualities that many of the rare and hidden weapons possess, coming up with strategies to utilize those weapons in creative new ways for even bigger points — and ultimately a better grade at the end of each session — has kept me coming back time and time again. Impressively enough, I didn't feel like the Oculus Quest's less powerful hardware made one iota of difference in the overall experience when compared to the other systems the game is available on. Given the lack of wires, this feels like the definitive version of the experience for anyone willing to enter the literal Hell that is post-apocalyptic New Orleans.
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