The Walking Dead Survival Instinct Review
The Walking Dead Survival Instinct is a missed opportunity. It seems like Terminal Reality just paid for the rights to The Walking Dead, made a first person zombie shooter in a year, and threw in Daryl and Merle Dixon into the mix and slapped a “The Walking Dead Survival Instinct” label on the box and shipped it to retailers.
The Walking Dead Survival Instinct’s story takes place in the The Walking Dead tv show universe and it follows the journey of Daryl and Merle Dixon traveling down Georgia in refugee of the walkers. Being a fan of The Walking Dead tv show, I was looking forward to seeing some background story points of some of the most popular characters from show but I was very disappointed to see that Terminal Reality didn’t use The Walking Dead license to their advantage and take the opportunity to make an awesome story driven game. Instead the story feels rushed and pointless throughout the entire game. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say the ending doesn’t make up for the six hours of gameplay I had to go through playing this game.
Visual & Sound
Visually, The Walking Dead Survival Instinct is not a pretty game. It looks slightly better than Wii graphics but that’s it, like a launch title for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Some textures look a bit muddy and blurry with the exception being the clouds in the sky, they look “nice”. On occasion I experienced a drop in frame rate when being chased by large packs of walkers. Animations for characters are poorly done. The facial movement of a character’s face tends to not match the voice actor’s work. Other animations like climbing a ladder looks bad, instead of actually seeing a first person view of you climbing the ladder, instead you see a minecraft like float up the ladder action. When ever you kill a walker, they sort of just fall straight to the ground, it looks unnatural and funny at times.
The sound design in this game is a mix bag of positive and negative things. Sometimes the sound design is used really well and it creates an atmosphere of horror creating suspenseful interactions with walkers. Other times, the sound design seems out of place playing a horror themed sound when you’re in a safe place. It feels like the sound was a delay or just something out of context.
The Walking Dead Survival Instinct introduces some really interesting features to the zombie game genre but they’re executed terribly. Resources play a very important role in this game. Through out missions and rest stops, it’s important to collect fuel, food, ammo and weapons. These resources play important roles throughout the campaign You’ll need food to restore your health and the health of other survivors in your team. You need the ammo and weapons to kill large packs of walkers. Fuel is used very wisely in this game. You need fuel to power your car to travel across Georgia. When traveling you can choose different routes and for each route, you can travel through the streets, back roads or highways. Some routes are faster than others and require more fuel while others take longer to travel through but also provide scavenging spots to get more resources like food and ammo. While these ideas are really great, the way Terminal Reality used them is a horrible repetitive mess. Travel on the long route and you run out of fuel, travel the shorter route and your care breaks down. Either way you’re usually going to need to stop for something. When you do stop, you’re spawned into a town or neighborhood where you can get fuel or new car parts. However, these spawn points are usually the same map every time with only different daylight times and zombie locations even though you’ve traveled hundreds of miles across Georgia. This makes the campaign feel repetitive and boring only after the first couple of missions. You complete one mission and now you have to travel and collect resources, five missions later and you’re still somehow collecting resources on the same map.
One of the biggest pet peeves I had with The Walking Dead Survival Instinct was also one of the things I really liked about the game. When dealing with a walker that gets too close to you, you’re put in this game mode where you have to aline your cursor with the walkers face and stab it. This works really well when you’re fighting a walker one to one, it’s exciting. However, when pack of walkers get to close to you, the same feature happens but it just becomes a mess. You still have to stab the main zombie that’s attacking you, but after you kill that one, you move on to the next one and the next one and the next one. Suddenly those three walkers become seven and eventually you die.
Terminal Reality simply rushed The Walking Dead Survival Instinct. The game showed a lot of potential it had great ideas and established characters that many already cared about. However, with a year of development, The Walking Dead Survival Instinct was rushed out to the public and ended up a mess. Visually look muddy, sound design is a mix bag and gameplay, while at sometimes fun and enjoyable, is mostly repetitive and headache inducing. Hopefully Terminal Reality will learn from their mistakes.
GamingVlogNetwork purchased their own retail copy of the game for review