Now available for the Oculus Rift, Rift S, HTC Vive, Cosmos, Valve Index, and Steam
Genre: Adventure, RPG
Developer: Skydance Interactive
Publisher: Skydance Interactive
Release Date: 23 Jan, 2020
Last month, Skydance Interactive and Skybound Entertainment made waves as they launched a new Walking Dead title, Saints and Sinners—and the fans have been eating it up like zombies. Picking up from the premise of the popular show, Saints & Sinners immerses you in the world of a post-apocalyptic New Orleans. This time, you play a character known as “The Tourist”—a famous survivor in the area.
The thing that makes Saints & Sinners different and more terrifying compared to previous games in the franchise was the developers’ choice to publish it in virtual reality (VR). You only need to look at the history of VR to see how truly groundbreaking Saints & Sinners is for the technology. HP’s Tech Takes traces the history of VR to the late 17th century, with the discovery of panoramic paintings. After all, panoramas were the first to effectively capture the experience of being present in a world that’s completely removed from reality. However, it wasn’t until the invention of the Oculus Rift in 2010 that VR really took off for video games, and with it, the horror genre.
Fast forward to today, and it’s no surprise that some of the most truly terrifying games are now released on VR, counting the likes of Home Sweet Home, Dreadhalls, and Alien: Isolation. This year, Saints & Sinners makes a compelling entry to the category.
Flickering Myth’s gaming discussion features an interview with Adam Grantham, the creative director at Skydance Interactive. According to him, the developers wanted to give the players “an original story that [will] make them feel as if they were truly living in this gruesome world.” This statement alone summarizes the entire Saints & Sinners experience.
The most challenging thing about creating a VR game is the amount of detail that it needs to be believable. And, spoiler alert, New Orleans is very convincing. Every house (room and desks) can be explored, items are limited to what you can carry, and even the unique day/night cycle adds a layer of realness to the setting. But the cherry on top has to be the different names on every street sign. It just goes to show that New Orleans isn’t just a repetitive game map—it’s a “real” world.
If you’re expecting boring hack-and-slash combat or mindless shooting, then you’re going to be disappointed. Guns are hard to aim and painfully useless when there are five of them right in front of you. Melee weapons require swings with enough force to penetrate their skull. What’s more, you have to grab their heads before you can even take a stab at them, making the combat much more difficult (but more real).
Additionally, the game really builds on the survival aspect of it. You need to sleep and even eat to survive. Not all food is edible; some can even kill you. There are no potions, only bandages which you need to wrap around your arms to help you heal.
Saint or Sinner?
Saints & Sinners features a (not so) merry cast of individuals who will either help you or bring you doom based on your actions. Sooner or later, you’ll be faced with options that will challenge your moral compass—do you fight or leave them behind? Do you betray or help them? And because Saints & Sinners is a good horror game, that means that bad things need to happen if you want the best outcome.
Saints & Sinners has truly set a new bar as to what a VR survival horror game should look and feel like. If you want to experience it for yourself, the game is now available for the Oculus Rift, Rift S, HTC Vive, Cosmos, Valve Index, and Steam. It’s also slated for the PlayStation VR sometime this spring, followed by an Oculus Quest standalone later in the year.