The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Review (PC)

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key review info
  • Game: The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct review on PC

The Walking Dead comic book and TV series has millions of fans around the world and developer Telltale Games managed to transform the experience into an interactive one with its stunning episodic adventure titles.

Now, Activision has decided to also take advantage of the franchise's popularity and tasked studio Terminal Reality with creating a first-person shooter based on the TV show.

The result is The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a game that focuses on the brothers Dixon, Daryl and Merle, and depicts a more action-oriented take on the zombie apocalypse than the one from the adventure series.

Does the new game manage to convey the great experience of the TV show or should the walkers devour it? Let's find out.
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Play as Daryl Dixon ...
... and save your brother Merle
Story

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct begins in a pretty impressive way and it even seems that players will go through a dramatic experience during its story, but it quickly settles into a predictable plot which, besides the two brothers, is filled with annoying and pretty forgettable characters.

Basically, you control Daryl Dixon who must explore the towns around Atlanta in order to find his brother, Merle, who was caught by the zombie apocalypse in a local jail.

While both brothers are pretty well done and will certainly please TV show fans, the people they interact with are quite dull and their adventures, while relatively interesting, don't stand out in any way so you'll just go through the motions for around 5 to 6 hours, depending on how much you want to scour the relatively linear levels.



Gameplay

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a first-person shooter, but you won't really find yourself shooting that many guns, as they're not that powerful or precise and they tend to attract more walkers to your immediate location, which is quite bad.

As such, you'll mostly rely on silent weapons, like Daryl's trademark crossbow, and melee items like a knife, a pipe, or a hatchet. These are pretty efficient and will take down a walker in around three hits to the head.

You do get to perform instant kills by surprising zombies while they have their back turned to you, but you're still vulnerable during the animation. What's more, when it's done, even if you were crouched at the beginning, you'll be left standing upright, a position that's easily spotted by other walkers.

The whole combat system is quite repetitive and you'll soon get tired of just wailing away at the heads of the zombies. Things are also dull when the zombies catch you as you enter a mini-game where you need to put a crosshair on their heads and instantly kill them using your knife.

Killing a zombie won't give you breathing space, however, as when there are a few more trying to eat you, you'll be passed from one zombie to another, while trying to kill them before they drain your health.

Speaking of health, you can replenish it either by eating food or by drinking energizers. You can also use items that distract zombies, like empty bottles or flares. Sadly, these items don't exactly work as either zombies won't notice them completely or they'll be distracted for a very short amount of time.

The enemy AI is also quite erratic, as some walkers will see you coming a mile away while others won't notice you or your gunfire, if you choose to use weapons.

While stealthily trying to explore the different locations in order to find food, fuel, and other items is a pretty intense and sometimes scary experience, the environments are filled with invisible walls that will wear on your nerves.

There are some pretty decent ideas in Survival Instinct, as Daryl can team up with other survivors and send them on different missions when entering a new settlement, like to search for fuel, food, ammo, or just stay near the car.

These survivors can be equipped with weapons and healed but you have limited room in your vehicle so you'll often be forced to leave people behind. They can also die during their quests, meaning the weapons they had with them will also be lost.

Traveling in the game is done by using a car, which is powered by the fuel you find on your journey. You can choose three different approaches when it comes to your course. You can use back roads that take more fuel, but they can lead you to resource-filled locations, highways that use less fuel but don't have any rich environments, or a blend of both.

Besides the main locations, you'll be forced to visit secondary ones because your car will either overheat or you'll be tempted to explore new areas to stock up your inventory.
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Snipe zombies from afar ...
... while avoiding the horde
Visuals and Sound

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct isn't the prettiest game out there as its graphics seem close to the ones seen in games many years ago. The textures are dull and lifeless, the effects are unimpressive, and there are a lot of reused models for the zombies.

Execution animations are relatively decent, but are quite few so you'll see them all in the first hour. The interface also looks dated, the character animations are very rigid, and the environments are of a low quality as well.

In terms of sound, the game is relatively decent, as the general soundtrack tries to stick close to the one of the TV show; yet it's not enough to make your adventures feel more impressive or dramatic. The voice acting is good, thanks to the fact that the two actors behind Daryl and Merle bring the characters to life in the game but other survivors don't stand out.



Conclusion

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a bad game that, while functional, isn't going to impress regular gamers or fans of the series. While it sometimes manages to recreate the tense situations seen in the comics or TV show, it becomes tedious and downright annoying.

Thanks to the bugs, the dated graphics, and the shoddy AI, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct once again shows that games based on existing properties and licenses should be avoided most of the times.

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story 5
gameplay 4
concept 6
graphics 3
audio 4
multiplayer 0
final rating 4.5
Editor's review
poor
 

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