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REVIEW

THE WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT

I've spent seven hours playing what's easy entry for this year's worst game (so far).

  • Text: Peter Hegevall

An unfinished, at times ridiculous, stupid and above all boring action title that takes AMC's successful zombie series and guts it wholly of any semblance of the character or strength that marked TellTale's superb take of the comic book source material.

It's garbage, pure and simple.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
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Even if Survival Instinct had cost ten quid on digital it'd still be described as pure robbery. The painful thing: how good this could have been. The Walking Dead TV series is perfect framework for creating a rich, massive zombie game in the vein of, say, DayZ. Instead, Terminal Reality scratch together a CoD (or perhaps that should be cod)-scented unfinished joke with less brains than the 12,000 zombies in it.

The story's simple, the application of the game's mechanics difficult, as the initial minutes are spent trying to decipher poorly implemented tutorial messages. The emphasis apparently is on sneaking. All the time.

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When you do get attacked by a zombie - and you will - up pops a rotating icon on the screen, asking you to guide the right stick into the middle of small circle, and instigate a knife thrust into the undead head. The problem isn't just that the mechanic's poorly presented, monotonous and unimaginative, but the developers haven't thought out what happens if you get attacked by multiple enemies at once.

The Walking Dead: Survival InstinctThe Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

What results, instead of a subsystem offering you the chance to push the horde away to get some breathing space, is a orderly queue where all zombies stand in line, automatically waiting their turn to tackle you in this little mini-game. No matter how good or fast you are in that mini-game, before you can give thought to turning tail and running (likely screaming at the terror of more shuffling repetition) a new zombie's face dominates the screen. You're stuck in a sequence of monotonous labour - a commentary on modern society that was ironically lampooned in Shaun of the Dead but is no laughing matter here. This, along with other deplorable design choices makes this one of the dumbest games I've tried in years.

Take the inability of zombies to spot you if you crouch. An oversight so dumb I feel ashamed in describing it. In broad daylight, in a huge car park, one can escape past the twenty-two moaning undead simply by pressing B before proceeding. They don't even blink if you sink a machete into them from knee height. Yet conversely, other Walkers can seemingly spot you from two thousand meters away. While you're hidden behind a truck.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

The whole game reeks with this head-slapping idiocy. There's a horrible attempt at suggesting player choice - four times during your adventure you'll be asked to choose which exit you should take while your car is traveling automatically along the map to the next destination.

Everything is divided into various smaller missions that revolve around the search for food, weapons, fuel and some other more meaningless chores. It's frustrating silly, and even when darkness sets in it's never creepy, scary or atmospheric. I'd go as far as calling this unfinished. It often feels like a bunch of badly made game elements have been taped together to form a messy whole that no-one in the world should pay for.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

We're exhausting our thesauruses and we're not even at kicking the visuals yet. There are games from 2003 that look better than this. Voice work - dear god. The voice work. It's almost laughable at times.

As you can probably guess, it's a game recommended for the trash bin rather than the disc tray. It's the worst game of the year by far, and an affront to a qualitative and entertaining TV series.

02 Gamereactor UK
2 / 10
+
+ We never have to play it again
-
- Terrible graphics - Repetitive gameplay - Sloppy mechanics - Poor AI - Shocking use of a great IP
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