The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Review

By | Gameora | 3 Comments

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.

Click here for our Let’s Play of the game!

Gameplay

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).

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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.

Controls

Walking_Dead_2Fighting 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.

Entertainment

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.

Replayability

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?

Click here for our Let’s Play of the game!

Oz the Great and Powerful Review

By | Gameora | One Comment

Oz the Great and Powerful is the latest live action movie from Walt Disney Pictures and director Sam Raimi. Based on L. Frank Baum’s novels, the film takes place before the events of The Wizard of Oz and stars James Franco as Oz, a magician from Kansas who, like Dorothy, is transported to the magical land of Oz. Once there, he discovers that a prophecy has foretold that a great wizard would fall from the sky and save the people of Oz from evil.

With this being a prequel to The Wizard of Oz that was released over 70 years ago and the advances in technology since then, there was inevitably going to be a comparison of the latest high budget blockbuster to the classic film that people will feel nostalgic towards. Oz the Great and Powerful definitely has some similarities and references to the original 1939 film. Both start off in monochrome and progress into colour when the character reaches the land of Oz. The story then follows the adventure of our protagonist who will undergo a journey, meet new friends and develop as a character for the better.

This movie does have a darker feel to it than The Wizard of Oz. The visuals can be compared to the latest Alice in Wonderland sequel, both of which feature a magical land created almost entirely in CGI (although Tim Burton’s was much darker). Oz the Great and Powerful is certainly a lot cheerier than the nightmare inducing Return to Oz (Dorothy gets put in a mental asylum then returns to Oz where the head-swapping queen has minions that have wheels for hands, yeah it’s trippy). The advances in technology have meant the look and style of the film has changed greatly, which is great for the environments that can be created but, at times, it does feel a little fake.

The casting was what stopped this from being a great movie. James Franco delivers a typical ‘James Franco performance’ as Oz. Some question why he was cast as Oz since Franco doesn’t have too much scope as an actor, which is why I can’t say the cast wowed me in any way. That being said, there are the odd moments in the film he plays well. Mila Kunis plays one of the witches in the movie which was definitely a miscast. At the start she seems fine but her character’s transformation in the movie does seem really forced and out of character. The rest of the cast were okay, although no performance stood out in particular, except perhaps for Zach Braff who made a few jokes playing the comic relief: a flying monkey, a character I thought could turn the movie into something too cheesy.

Like in The Wizard of Oz some of the characters from Oz’s life appear as someone else in the land of Oz. This was done quite well and is a great way of showing how Oz becomes a better person (even if he is still a fraud magician in the end). The references to the original are nice but the movie doesn’t play from them which is great to see. I don’t think Oz the Great and Powerful quite has that same magical feeling as the original but it’s in no way a bad film, it’s just another big budget Disney movie to satisfy an audience, make money and sell toys.  I’m definitely glad that this hasn’t become a bad scar on the franchise.

Oz the Great and Powerful is a non-offensive, fun family movie. It’s nothing incredible but kids will like it and fans of Disney won’t be disappointed. The movie is out now in cinemas worldwide.

Oscars 2013 Discussion

By | Gameora | One Comment

It’s been another good year for film and the award season has been rounded off with the 85th Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) which were held on Sunday 24th February.

This year I made it my personal goal to see as many nominated films as I could. I got round to watching over 20 of them with my personal favourites being Django Unchained and Argo. Django Unchained was a perfect blend of violence, comedy and great characters. Christoph Waltz received an award for Best Supporting Actor (who also wins best speech in my book) and Tarantino picked up Best Writing.

Christoph_Waltz

Argo claimed the top awards including Best Picture, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Best Film Editing. This was a nice “in your face” for Ben Affleck’s nomination snub for Best Director, a title which Argo has won at other award ceremonies including the BAFTAs and Golden Globes and quite frankly something Affleck deserves to be credited for. Host Seth Macfarlane jokingly remarked that “the story was so top secret, that the film’s director is unknown to the academy…they know they screwed up.”

It wasn’t a bad night for Life of Pi either which picked up four awards with Ang Lee accepting his second Oscar for directing. Predictable awards also went out to Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Les Misérables. While in recent years the Oscars have been very predictable, this year did credit most who deserved it but I still found myself able to predict most of the winners (my predictions were based on what I knew Hollywood would go for). Being a hardcore Pixar fan I will actually admit that I would have preferred to see Wreck-It Ralph take the award for Best Animation but I did predict the Academy would give it to Brave.

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The ceremony paid tribute to music in film, Macfarlane co-wrote a number of songs that he sang and the cast of Les Misérables made an appearance on stage too. In my opinion Seth Macfarlane did a pretty good job at hosting the ceremony. As predicted there were some jokes that not everyone enjoyed but what else can you expect from Macfarlane, the man that’s already insulted half of the celebrities in the room through Family Guy.

Other parts in the ceremony worth mentioning include the appearance of William Shatner, the awkward comedy from the Avengers cast and Michelle Obama presenting the Best Picture award, for some unknown reason.

When it comes down to it the Oscars is just a way of crediting film-makers, most of whom have already been rewarded greatly in box office success. In the words of Billy Crystal: “because nothing can take the sting out of the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with gold statues.” That being said the Oscars is always good fun to watch and I’m looking forward to the various movies coming out this year.

 

Here’s a few fun Oscars facts:

  • The award for Best Sound Editing was a tie between Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty, this is only the sixth tie for any academy award, the last tie was in 1994.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis is the first to have won Best Actor three times in Academy Awards history.
  • Adele’s Skyfall is the first James Bond theme to win an Oscar for Best Original Song.