I suppose I shouldn’t have doubted; much in the same way that Skydance Interactive defied expectations with the sheer quality of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners on PC back in January, it’s now done the same with a first-class port to PSVR.
Don’t get me wrong, the PSVR version of The Walking Dead definitely makes sacrifices to fit on the console; that’s unavoidable. But whereas some other ports to PS4 over the past few years have ended with less than favourable results, Saints & Sinners on PSVR keeps the core of the experience absolutely intact.
The Walking Dead: PSVR vs PC VR
The first thing anyone will look to with a PSVR port is the visuals. And it’s true that this is the most noticeable difference with this version of Saints & Sinners but, thankfully, not by too much. Skydance has made smart revisions to ensure no one area of the game falls behind too much.
For sure, lighting effects and character models are scaled down in Saints & Sinners PSVR; you’ll notice meshy textures and and characters that don’t quite blend in with the environments like they did in the PC version. But nothing here is significantly worse than it was before.
One more troubling area is texture pop-in, which can be very noticeable in some areas of the game. In fact, there are times when the quick switch to a higher-resolution wall texture is more distracting than if the game had simply kept the blurrier alternative in place.
Visual sacrifices help keep The Walking Dead running smoothly on PSVR. Load times are noticeably long, but they were already lengthy on PC and they’re pretty infrequent as is. We haven’t got to a part of the game with larger hordes yet, but framerate and general performance hasn’t really taken a hit in what we’ve seen so far.
Of course, one of the real hurdles for any PC VR to PSVR port is adapting to PSVR’s limited tracking and Move controllers. Fortunately Saints & Sinners really doesn’t struggle with the 180 degree tracking thanks to thoughtful implementation of movement on Sony’s motion controllers.
Much of Saints & Sinners’ UI is physically-based (over the shoulder reaches for inventory, hip holsters etc), removing a lot pressure on the buttons and lack of sticks. When you do need to use then for movement, the game utilizes, for my money, the best style of control, which is to treat the left Move controller like an analogue stick of its own.
So there you go. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners sets a high bar for PSVR ports this late into the headset’s life cycle and proves there there’s still gold to mine on the ageing headset. If you have a PC then, obviously, that’s still the best way to experience the game, but console owners shouldn’t feel cheated with this first-class port.
Of course, the real challenge will be getting the game to fit onto Quest, which Skydance is working on next. If it can pull that off too, Skydance will have a VR hat trick on its hands.