The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a first-person shooter from developer Terminal Reality and publisher Activision. It is based on The Walking Dead television series by AMC. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a prequel to the TV series and tells the “story” of brothers Daryl and Merle Dixon as they make their way to Atlanta. The game is available on PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct has you play as Daryl Dixon who is making his way to Atlanta in the early days of the zombie apocalypse. He meets up with his brother Merle however he usually only appears in cut-scenes and isn’t much help in-game. The aim of the game is to get to Atlanta by road, you will be forced to find fuel and supplies in order to survive. You are also able to rescue other survivors and have them join your team.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a “survival” game where instead of mindlessly slaying hundreds of zombies, you are encouraged to think differently in order to get through a level. The premise seems like it would be a great idea but the game doesn’t deliver it. Fighting the infected is supposed to be a last resort but on most occasions you will have to kill each walker one at a time just so you don’t have to kill them all in one go. The zombie AI can sometimes break and they will just attack the walls or something. I do however like the use of car alarms and other distractions to get past the walkers but you can get by without it.
The survivors you pick up are also pretty useless, you are able to send them out on missions to find fuel, food or ammo but the amount they bring back is not worth it for how much food you have to give them to stay alive. When playing I just left them in the car.
You are able to choose different paths to get to Atlanta, with choices affecting how much fuel you use and the likelihood of a breakdown. Running out of fuel gets more common as you play the game and basically becomes the main goal. Stopping on a road is also very common, often for a chance of finding supplies or helping out a survivor. We noticed that if dialogue plays through the driving, you won’t stop, if there’s no audio then prepare to stop (that’s just bad design).
The environments are one of the biggest let downs of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. They come off as lazy and the developers think we won’t notice where they cut corners. Levels are to appear open-world but invisible barriers are everywhere, and other parts of the world are blocked off with out-of-place barrels or cars usually. It sometimes detracts from the immersion of the game but its something that has to be there, its just they could have been done better.
What bugs me the most is that when you enter a “new” area, its not new at all. Often the same levels are repeated, sometimes certain things are moved around or the level is simply reversed to make you think you’re somewhere new, we’re not dumb, we noticed it. You find yourself saying “not this place again” more than should be said in a game.
The graphics are really lacking when compared to other games today. It fits in with early Xbox or Playstation 2 games. The zombie character models are basically the same and when they get up close to you, the bad graphics just ruin the immersion. Graphics are of course not needed to make a great game, but they sure would’ve helped this one.
Fighting zombies becomes very repetitive and the actual “fighting” itself is just awful. Walkers sort of jump into your face where aiming with the thumbstick allows you to knife them in the face, playing it right allows you to take on countless zombies without taking a hit which is just boring. Finding the crossbow is good, very fun to use if you get the hang of it, one of the little perks to help you through the game.
Changing between weapons can get annoying though. Although you can only carry so many items, to change a weapon you have to cycle through all of them.
Although most of what I’ve mentioned so far makes the game sound bad. Don’t get me wrong, it is a pretty bad game but it also has its moments. Playing Survival Instinct with friends is definitely recommended (although there is no multiplayer), its a lot of fun although for the wrong reasons. We just tended to laugh at what was wrong with the game (check out our Let’s Play of the game if you haven’t already).
It’s entertaining to listen to the voices of Daryl and Merle, even if there’s no story to go along with it. At times you do feel like you’re trying to survive, what the game was meant to be like, it takes time to get into the game properly. It had the potential but the game just comes across as quick money grab that cashes in on the success of the TV series.
There is a lack of multiplayer which is quite disappointing. Perhaps multiplayer could have saved this game but the game was rushed out so I don’t think the multiplayer would have been any good if they had included it.
Completing the game does allow you to enable to other modes such as starting out with better weapons or having the ability to survive longer. They sound appealing, as if they’d make the game better, but I don’t think I could play through that game again, its not worth it.
Playing the game again would result in a different experience, you may decide to explore different areas of a level where you may find a survivor, or take a different path and find some better weapons. There’s also the opportunity to complete your collection of collectible squirrels (yeah….your guess is as good as ours). Its a game that can be played over and over, the question is would you want to?