Wave shooters are a dime a dozen on VR platforms. They really need to do something unique to stand out from the crowd. The Walker is a Chinese developed game that attempts to win players over by combining both gunplay and swordplay with Chinese legends. It also has some nice graphics to boot. Is it worth walking towards The Walker or should you walk the other way?
You'll play as a man who has come into possession of a mysterious book. Upon opening it, a robed man pays him a visit. He states that you descend from a line of exorcists. Equipping you with a mythical revolver and sword, you're sent out into the world to go fight demons. That's about all there is to the plot, as it's never really brought up again. There's no plot movement or even an endpoint as far as I can tell. Just a quick intro and then you're hurried off to go shoot things.
Each of the game's levels places you in one spot and has you fighting off demons that slowly walk towards you. In your right hand, you have a weapon and can easily swap between the revolver and the sword at the press of the button. I don't know why you'd ever do this. The revolver is infinitely more useful than the sword is. Most enemies are so slow that they're dead long before they reach you. In addition to this, the sword is finicky, and I often felt it was passing through enemies without hurting them. Besides that, the shooting just feels good. The weapon feels appropriately powerful while flicking the controller to reload the gun is fun.
In your left hand, you have the ability to call forth a magical talisman that embeds your weapons with either ice or lightning powers. The idea is cool, but in practice, neither of these powers are anything other than "turn the next few hits into an instant kill". Just either they drop dead, or they turn into ice and explode.
Not that there's much to use these powers on. The Walker has a really unfortunate lack of enemies. By the end of the game, I only counted three different types: a crawling enemy that attempts to hit you, a knight that attempts to hit you, and an archer. All of these enemies seem to have the goal of doing little more than advancing at you as slowly as possible and giving you more than ample time to shoot their squishy bits. It doesn't make the game feel very challenging and gets repetitive before long.
It's only later in the game when a few new scenarios come up. One required me to protect an injured woman in the middle of a train station rather than myself, which meant enemies came from angels I didn't expect because they weren't relevant to my defense. The last two levels of the game each end in boss fights, though only the final boss is really that interesting. It required me to dodge both right and left and duck under thrown cars. More levels could use mechanics like this, and it was confusing why they didn't have them
It took me about an hour to play through the game's five levels. Upon finishing them I unlocked "Chapter 2", which it turns out is the exact same five levels but slightly harder and with new weapons. Finish that and you unlock "Chapter 3", which is the same deal. You also unlock Rampage Mode, which is just an infinite wave survival mode. Nothing really special about the mode, it just gives you more enemies to shoot without stopping to say you won the game.
Graphically, The Walker looks pretty good. There's an impressive level of detail in the environments, and the characters animate well. However, there's a weird problem with the game's audio. There's no soundtrack, which already makes things feel empty. During several scenes in the game, however, there was no sound at all. I remember one part, that has a woman violently transform into a raven demon, absolutely lost all its oomph when the whole thing just happens silently. It just makes the game awkward.
The Walker Review | Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, The Walker is just a totally average wave shooter in VR. It's competent enough to be fun but doesn't stand out in any way. It almost feels like it's a PSVR launch title thanks to how barebones it is. If you want a new wave shooter, there are better options on the market. If you've exhausted them all, then I can at least see The Walker filling in for a couple more hours of wave shooting. Just don't expect much beyond that.
The Walker was reviewed on PlayStation VR using a copy provided by the developers.
- Shooting is Fun
- Talismen are a Good Idea
- Pretty Graphics
- Little Enemy Variety
- Short Length
- No Soundtrack, Glitchy Audio