The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Aftershocks DLC Review
Last year, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners was a breath of fresh (zombie-smelling) air on VR, bringing a big, well-crafted adventure to a platform that hasn’t always offered deep experiences so far. I hadn’t played it since I finished it, though, and now the new Aftershocks DLC has bitten its teeth into me and given me lots of good reasons to jump back in.
For one thing, it’s a chance to go back and revisit New Orleans in new missions, this time feeling a bit more powerful after going through so much of the base game’s experience feeling like death was an ever-present possibility. After all that crafting, learning and upgrading I did the first time, the adventure was over but now I get to come back for one more stab at those walkers.
The premise is simple and Aftershocks is endgame content that only kicks in after you’ve finished the original game. You get a new signal that tells you about stashes of resources spread over the city, and your new missions consist of finding them and taking them. Like a zombie-killing 007, you’ve got a series of targets to secure and you need to use your skills and guile to get them and get out alive.
While as a survival crafting game, Saints & Sinners made materials and ammo scarce, Aftershocks seems to try and compensate with a new abundance of loot in boxes spread all over the same map you played through before. But there’s a catch (you knew there’d be a catch): you’ve got to get to them, and win them by fighting off new and larger hordes of zombies, or human enemies from the Tower and Reclaimed factions.
Loot and Shoot
Once again, Skydance Interactive presents you with a risk-reward challenge with every potential resource claim. You can go straight in and try to fight the enemy to the death; or alternatively, you can try and use stealth in a more indirect approach. Just a heads up though: there’s some new traps and tripwire surprises added this time around that make those New Orleans alleyways and streets a bit different than the last time you traveled them, or they’re even blocked off altogether.
In the base game, I tended to rely on melee combat because I got sick of running out of gun ammo, always at the worst possible time — as my weird uncle Earl always used to say, a rusty knife never runs out of bullets. But Aftershocks makes gunplay possible again, with generous helpings of ordnance caches to find. Combat in both gun and melee form are once again thoroughly enjoyable in Aftershocks, and reminded me why I found Saints & Sinners to be one of the best VR games ever.
So Aftershocks is (much like DLC in other games) a case of more of the same rather than any kind of reinvention. That’s great in lots of ways. It’s not so great in a few more minor ways though. Case in point: I still get annoyed by the inventory management, having to constantly reach back in my backpack, and dropping more valuable items than I care to admit when I thought I was tucking them safely away. Pulling out that booklet and awkwardly flipping through was also something I didn’t miss.
If you’re hungering to take a stab at some new Saints & Sinners content, Aftershocks delivers lots of new gameplay. It doesn’t throw any crazy new ideas or new story elements at you, but it does add some enjoyable extra hours of combat-based fun to be had in post-apocalyptic New Orleans, including the chance to keep upgrading your home base with all that sweet new loot. Plus, without spoiling anything, Skydance seems to hint at more Saints & Sinners DLC to come — until then, as a free update for existing Saints & Sinners players, Aftershocks is a no-brainer.
** An Oculus Quest 2 code was provided by the publisher **
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