- Editor Rating
- Rated 2 stars
- The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
- Last modified:
- GraphicsEditor: 30%
- GameplayEditor: 40%
- ControlsEditor: 60%
- MultiplayerEditor: 0%
- Value For The PriceEditor: 50%
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a first person shooter featuring Daryl and Merle Dixon.
After the success of the The Walking Dead by Telltale Games, it made sense that a big name like Activision would step in to produce their own game dedicated to the ultra popular TV series. This is why they have released ‘The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct’ which is a first person shooter based on the adventure of brothers Daryl and Merle Dixon before they enter into the TV show’s storyline. The game is currently available for the Xbox 360 (which is the platform we used for review), PS3, Wii U, and PC.
Survival Instinct was released last week and launched at a price of $50 instead of the traditional $60 that you have grown to expect from virtually any other new game. To some people, they might think this is awesome as you think you’re getting a better deal, but from my experience it’s a “you get what you pay for” scenario that raised a red flag in my eyes. I decided to go ahead and purchase the game anyways considering I’ve been a huge Walking Dead fan since day 1 and couldn’t pass up giving this game a try.
If I were to sum this game up, I’d say its a mix between ‘Oregon Trail’, ‘Left 4 Dead’, and ‘Dead Island’. This might sound cool to you at first and I probably would agree, but unfortunately though there are elements of each game inside, the overall execution is terrible. The game has a lot of potential in many areas, but by playing it you can tell how rushed the mechanics and storyline of the game are just to make a quick buck.
The storyline follows Daryl Dixon (my favorite character) and his brother Merle in their journey before the TV series plot takes place. There are some cool moments like the opening scene where you get to briefly play as the brother’s farther Mr. Dixon for a bit before getting bitten and forcing Daryl to put him out of his misery before he turns into a zombie. Other than these little parts, the storyline is a fairly uninteresting and fell way short of my expectations.
As you progress through your journey, you get to choose your route to your final destination which is much like the old Oregon Trail games. By choosing safer routes you have less of a change of breaking down, but waste more gas and vise versa. This element was somewhat cool, but when your break down or run out of gas the side missions to find parts or additional get repetitive and are too easy to find what your looking for as there is an on-screen compass that points you to your objective at all times.
As you probably have seen from the release trailer and the gameplay videos we have posted, the graphics are extremely weak and outdated. If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed the game was produced at least 5-7 years ago with the type of textures, models, and animations used within the game. The zombies all look the same as does the environments and buildings you encountered throughout each mission. This affects the gameplay as things get boring easily and it appears to become a repetitive process. There is no fine detail put into these elements of the game and it really shows. I am guessing their development budget was very small and for what the end result is, I’d wish they tried to raise more money or just scrapped the whole game in general as the graphical details are just that bad.
I found the gameplay to be fun for the first hour or so. Killing zombies is always an exciting and enjoyable experience in my case, but this game did not deliver like I expected and things quickly got old. You are initially given melee weapons with real firearms being awarded later as you progress. The melee weapons though appearing different all feel very similar to use and take an average of 2-3 swings per zombie to kill. With some of the ‘heavy’ weapons it will take 1-2 hits to the head in order to slice off their head and send it flying, but the animations for killing these zombies are the same every time and really dull the excitement of executing them. There is one exception where you can get a one shot kill which is if you sneak up behind an unsuspecting zombie and pull off a stealth kill which stabs the zombie through the head, instantly killing them.
The firearms in the game start with basic slow single shot weapons, but later on result to bigger and better guns. The ammo is easy to find and I never found myself desperate to find additional bullets especially since the melee weapons can be used an unlimited amount of times without needing to be repaired. Scavenging for food (which gives you health), weapons, ammunition, and relics was much less exciting than I was expecting and is one of my biggest complaints in the game. In a zombie apocalypse you would expect to be able to scavenger from cabinets, abandoned cars, drawers, and other obvious areas, but instead you typically find your ammo right out in the open sitting on the ground in plain view. The number of different types of weapons is disappointing and I typically stuck to using the same melee weapon throughout most of the game.
When it comes to the difficulty of killing zombies, there isn’t any. It is very easy to sneak up on them and perform a stealth kill, but if you happen to alert them, don’t worry as they are dumb and slow. Due to this, their not all that much of a threat. You can outrun or simply pick them off with head shots quickly and easily. The zombies AI is so bad that you could outrun a horde of zombies and by the time you get far enough away,(it’s nearly impossible for them to catch you if you keep running) they lose interest and completely forget about they were chasing you. They takes most of the fun out of the game and you can practically do speed runs through each level if you’d like. I think if they chose to make smarter, more advanced zombies or just added more than one type of zombie (like in the Left 4 Dead series) then you’d see the difficulty rise. By keeping every zombie acting exactly the same, the result is pathetic and very easy to counter without experiencing a challenge.
In most of the locations you end up in, there are small side missions where you can help a survivor and in turn add them to your group. This seemed to be cool, but really ineffective as they won’t be able to join you on future missions. Instead, you can send them out separately to scavenge for supplies. In these cases, you sometimes take big risks of them dying just to gain a small box of bullets. This makes the risk not all that rewarding in the end, but considering they don’t have any other use it is no loss if they were die in the process. The survivors are an under utilized aspect of the game that was poorly thought out.
They could have made this game much more bearable to play if there would have been the integration of some sort of multiplayer support. There is no Xbox Live play and no cooperative game modes. You are forced to play by yourself in all missions without additional players to help you or share the zombie killing with. This was a disappointment especially when titles like Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, and the Call of Duty games all utilize multiplayer zombie modes to boost the games experience and replay potential.
As a huge fan of ‘The Walking Dead’, I found the game to be fun for the first mission or two, but then I realized how far the game fell from what I had imagined it would be. Hearing the real voices of the Daryl and Merle TV characters make the game feel a bit more authentic, but it is not nearly enough to save this game from the deep hole it has dug through its horrible graphics, weak storyline, and repetitive, unoriginal gameplay. It is clear the developer rushed through virtually all the elements of the game or clearly did not have enough money to make it worth playing. They just wanted to capitalize on the immense popularity that the TV show has gained, which feels like a slap in the face to a fanboy like me. I don’t recommend spending your money on this game, but if you insist on playing it resort to renting the game or borrowing it from a friend. You’ll thank me later.