The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct [Review]

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
Mar
24
2013

When the Walking Dead became a TV sensation due to both its premise and writing, the announcement of a game derived from it was met with skepticism and even dread. As most seasoned gamers would know, TV and movie games are mostly train wrecks upon train wrecks. But The Walking Dead: Season One was a hit, combining nice visuals with solid gameplay and great storytelling. When another Walking Dead game was released after that, the hype was on. However, perhaps fans should worry if that new game is from a different developer and publisher.

If you want to watch someone play this game and show some of the things wrong in this game, then here’s a video from a popular YouTuber. Various things like the visual presentation, enemy AI, combat system, character dialogue, and object interaction are highlighted here.

This video was embedded using the YouTuber plugin by Roy Tanck. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video.

This is basically another zombie-themed first person shooter, which isn’t really bad on paper as long as it’s done right. Since it’s from The Walking Dead, then there shouldn’t be any problems. However, it does have a lot of problems with it. Perhaps the only good thing about this game is the voice acting, which was done by the actors from the TV series. The game also borrows their likenesses to make the game more authentic with the characters from the TV show, played by Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker, so you do get the sense that it’s really The Walking Dead.

But the game then falls short in the storyline and narrative progression, as if the writers never bothered at all, which is a glaring flaw in a game based on a popular television series known for its writing. There’s some character dialogue and displays of desperation amidst being chased by zombies here and there, but that’s just it. Filler missions make up for that lack of substance, which isn’t proper enough compensation since the source material itself is all about the storyline in the first place.

The zombie AI is perhaps what really destroys the gameplay here. The combat system is so basic that you can game your way through and cheat the AI, which can be comparable to another recently-released game, Aliens: Colonial Marines. You will often see zombies that just stand there and do nothing. Never mind the fact that they’re the usual zombie fare of slow and dumb, but some of the ones in this game don’t even care if you’re there in front of them, as if they’re on a brain-free diet. The spongy controls doesn’t help either, so you can’t even do stuff properly in this game.

Finally, the visual presentation just looks so bad, as if there wasn’t budget set aside for competent designers. You got generic fonts and layouts that don’t seem to fit the game, making the game look poor and pitiful. Some of the design elements look like they’re from Dead Island, although there’s no way to really know if they were copied from that game since they’re from different developers and made with different engines. Maybe it’s just from the whole zombie thing.

There’s also the graphics, which doesn’t really look that bad at first, then it starts to sink in and you become less motivated to play it. Activision really dropped the ball with this game, and the detractors are given more ammunition to shoot at the big video game corporations and their meddling way. This is just fresh after the whole SimCity fiasco, so the overall mood of the video game community at the moment doesn’t help this game one bit. Too bad since this game has Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker all over it, which is sad since they’re awesome in the TV show.

This game costs 50 whole dollars, which is absolutely ridiculous. It’s really sad since the first Walking Dead game was so good. It’s such a shame that this follow-up, which now obviously looks like a hastily made cash-in by Terminal Reality and Activision, has done the TV series and the first game such a disservice. Skip this over and just wait for the Season Two game by Telltale Games.

Tested in PC. Final Score: 4/10

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About Avoiderdragon

I'm a freelance writer and a borderline hardcore gamer. I contribute game reviews and other content here in CheatMasters for my fellow gamers.
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