Survios introduces major updates to combat and walker behavior amid recent criticism.
The Walking Dead: Onslaught is off to a rough start. After hyping up players for months with the promise of brutal zombie combat featuring their favorite The Walking Dead characters, Survios’ apocalyptic VR experience officially launched this past month on Steam, Oculus, and PlayStation VR headsets to somewhat negative reviews.
Despite its relatively enjoyable story following fan-favorite character Daryl Dixon and the exciting supply run missions, numerous bugs, questionable voice acting, repetitive combat, and simplistic AI has resulted in a subpar arcade experience, especially when compared to Skydance Interactive’s more “realistic” The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, at least in terms of overall quality. Walkers require three headshots in order to kill, making ranged weapons virtually useless compared to melee combat. There’s also no stamina system and enemies move at a snail’s pace, so you’re basically impossible to catch.
Yesterday, Survios launched the “Combat Rebalance Patch” in response to player feedback, introducing a slew of significant updates designed to improve the overall gameplay experience. This includes improvements to ranged weapons that allow for single, close-range headshots; more realistic melee weapon physics; faster, more aggressive walkers; an easier progression system; and numerous other welcomed changes.
The following is a full list of the updates and changes as provided by Survios:
Significant Ranged Weapon Combat Overhaul
- All ranged weapons have been tuned to allow for one-hit kills to the brain at close range; less damage is dealt to the jaw and significantly less damage is dealt to the neck and below.
- Ranged weapons now have custom fall-off damage over distance, which can be improved via weapon upgrades (“Refined Powder”). This excludes the Lever Action Rifle, Revolver, and Crossbow.
- Simulated weight on heavier / longer-ranged weapons has been adjusted for better usability; this weight can be neutralized by stabilizing (two-handing) a weapon.
- Ammo Pickups now grant less ammunition per weapon, increasing ammo scarcity.
- All ranged weapons have had their maximum ammunition and upgraded ammunition capacities re-balanced to the new weapon damage values.
- Ranged weapons brought into a Scavenger run as part of the player loadout now start with a single magazine’s worth of ammunition rather than the maximum for the weapon.
- The ammo bonuses granted by The Forge have been increased from +40% at max level to +125% (+25% per upgrade).
- Increased blunt melee damage on all ranged weapons (pistol whipping).
- The “Copper Tips” upgrades for the Heavy Pistol, Lever Action Rifle, and Crossbow are now more effective; penetration values have been increased.
- The Basic Pistol is now less accurate at range to compensate for its new one-hit kill capability.
Significant Melee Weapon Combat Overhaul
- All melee weapons have had their damage values tweaked; less damage is dealt to the jaw and significantly less damage is dealt to the neck and below.
- Sharp melee weapons (blades and axes) now stick inside of a Walker’s skull on kill and will resist easy removal; higher quality sharp melee weapons such as the Katana and Battle Axe have the least resistance of removal.
- Dead Walkers no longer automatically detach from sharp melee weapons when impaled.
- While impaling a Walker with a sharp melee weapon, player movement is restricted for as long as the weapon remains stuck in the Walker.
- Additional simulated weight has been added to heavier / longer melee weapons; this weight can be neutralized by stabilizing (two-handing) a weapon.
- Reduced blunt melee damage for sharp melee weapons when striking with the hilt or other non-sharp surfaces; the Crowbar, Battle Axe, and Shovel have retained higher damage for these blunt attacks.
- The Knuckle Knife has been completely re-tuned to better emphasize blunt damage (two-hit punch to the head, one-hit when upgraded); the knife end is no longer an instant kill head strike but also does not stick in skulls on kill.
- The “Impact” upgrades for the Hammer, Bat, and Battle Axe are now more effective; explosive damage values have been increased.
Walker Aggression and Difficulty Increased
- Walker perception and aggression has been increased.
- Walkers now deal significantly more damage when biting.
- On Survivor and Veteran difficulty, Walkers now also deal initial grapple damage before biting starts.
- Increased number of Walkers in Campaign Chapter 1.
- Armored Walkers and Spiked Walkers are now more difficult to kill.
- Spiked Walkers are now noticeably more deadly than other walkers.
Progression Has Been Eased
- There is more Food in the early game to allow for smoother level progression.
- Changed the first time user Scavenger site mission from Main Street Supply Run to Military Checkpoint Supply Evac.
- Reduced the speed of the Scavenger Herd Wall when playing on Novice or Survivor difficulty.
- Added an option for Left-hand Dominant players who use Smooth Locomotion to swap the Movement and Turning inputs with each other.
- Reversing grip on a bladed weapon will no longer cause a choked Walker to detach.
- Choked or impaled Walker corpses have increased simulated weight, but no longer automatically fall to the floor.
- Increased velocity when throwing Walker corpses.
- Choked Walkers can now be brought closer to the player’s face.
In addition to the above-mentioned improvements, Survios has also released an alternative controller scheme for the Valve Index that enables players to grab items as well as enemies using the Index’s grip sensor. Update 1.16.2 of Virtual Desktop introduces official compatibility with the game as well, allowing for high-quality wireless streaming with the Oculus Quest and Quest 2.
Survios’ Combat Rebalance Patch not only demonstrates the company’s commitment to the ambitious arcade zombie experience, but its willingness to listen to the players themselves in regards to updates and improvements as well. It’s exactly this type of developer/player relationship that will help propel the already rapidly-expanding VR gaming industry to new heights.
The Walking Dead: Onslaught is available now for $29.99 on SteamVR, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR headsets.
Image Credit: Survios