Half-assed zombies aren’t gonna grab you
By Steven Cayer, Contributor
When I found out there would be a new Walking Dead game based on the AMC series with Daryl and Merle Dixon as the main protagonists, I couldn’t believe it—then I heard is was to be a first-person shooter, and I got a little worried.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was developed by Terminal Reality and published by Activision. The worst thing about it though is actually playing the game. Not only were the graphics bad, but also outdated. In today’s games, people are expecting a lot more in terms of graphics, and this game fails to deliver. The environments were very bland and forgettable. There are only about nine different zombies that you can either charge through and grapple with or stealthily sneak around. I tried to sneak around them, but it never worked; they always saw me and I’d need to use the exact same moves to kill them all: shove, swing, swing. In some cases when they grab, you: grapple, stab, repeat.
Throughout the game, you find different weapons, but they don’t matter when you finally get your hands on Daryl’s fabled crossbow—it’s easily the best weapon in the game. You can silently kill zombies from a distance, and you can reuse the bolts you fire so you never run out of ammo (as long as you remember to get the bolts back from the heads of the corpses). I actually found this system of shooting and retrieving a little fun. It’s too bad you don’t get it until you’re two-thirds into the game.
The gameplay is pretty typical for a first-person shooter, you just need to follow a compass in the bottom-left corner of the screen to get to the main objectives. In some areas, you find other survivors that ask you to find something or someone for them. When you do, they either come with you, or they just stay there waiting to die. Whenever you get to a new level or area, you need to organize your inventory, then assign your survivor to either get fuel, food, ammo, or stay by the car (by the way, none of this helps you fight at all). Sometimes when you’re traveling, your car breaks down or you run out of fuel. Almost every time this happens, you go to the exact same diner or the exact same campsite, which gets really repetitive and annoying. The one aspect of gameplay I thought was cool was the executions you can use on the zombies. If you can sneak up behind one, you can pull off a pretty badass stab on many different places of the head.
The one good thing I got from this gaming experience was that I was finally inside the universe of the increasingly awesome show. It even had the cast members playing their roles, Norman Reedus as Daryl and Michael Rooker as Merle. While it does take place before the events of the show, it’s still good to be there. If you like watching AMC’s Walking Dead, I’d say pick this game up, but not until the price goes way down.