Walking Dead, The: Survival Instinct (Video Game)

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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Video Game)Published by Activision

Developed by Terminal Reality

Available for Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC and Wii U

In The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct players step into the shoes of Daryl Dixon in an action-packed prequel where you must try to reunite with his older brother, Merle. If you manage to complete this task, then you still have to make it out of the South in one piece against hordes of undead zombies during the apocalypse. Be warned, though, as The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is just as much about scavenging and survival as it is shooting your way through hordes of the undead.

The basic premise of the game is to make it from Point A to Point B, and on the way you will want to preserve gas; you can stop when you need to in order to collect fuel and supplies to keep moving. Curiously enough, despite the emphasis on the importance of gas, you never actually do any in-game driving. Instead, you rely on an in-game map to keep track of your movements. As players progress, they may notice that a lot of the areas look about the same and can get repetitive. You will encounter survivors as you go, which can help scout for supplies, but since only so many can fit in the car, you often have to make hard choices of who will continue the journey with you. However, if you send survivors out unprepared while scouting, then there is also the chance they may not make it back so you won’t have to worry about who gets to go. If you’re sadistic, why not send them out unarmed just because they annoy you? It’s the little things, I tell ya!

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a rather short game, clocking in at about six hours, and during that time you will find that some of the gameplay elements are way more entertaining than others. Players are equipped with a variety of weapons such as rifles and shotguns, but remember that ammo is limited so it is usually smarter to conserve bullets. Melee weapons are much easier to locate and use and can be found scattered around most of the game environments. Firearms draw in large hordes of the undead and are usually impractical through most of the game. Players will find using their knife, axes and pipes to be the best way to survive. Plus you’ll also get to see those nasty up-close-and-personal zombie killing scenes that are delightfully gory.

Zombie behavior in the game is pretty erratic. Sometimes walkers can spot you from miles away without the least bit of disturbance, and other times you can shoot your gun repeatedly over their heads and they won’t even budge. This can be aggravating for some players who probably find this unrealistic in comparison to what we know about zombies. However, just as in life, things are unpredictable; and that is just what The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct gives you. The undead can easily be distracted if you get overwhelmed, and Daryl can throw flares in order to get them to move along to certain areas. In one of the more genius aspects of the game, the walkers can actually smell you. Now we know the Dixons don’t exactly look as if they shower much, but I bet you’re wondering how this is possible. When using the sprint function, you will see beads of sweat form on the screen. The scent of said perspiration actually attracts the dead so you may not want to be rushing around that much.

Your best tactic is to take out unsuspecting zombies when you have the chance for a silent kill, but be prepared for some at times laggy animations afterward. Speaking of which, the sound and graphics in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct are less than desirable. In comparison to other first-person shooters on the market, everything seems very first generation. Second if we’re being generous. At least we have Bear McCreary’s signature score to get us through at times. In terms of gameplay the game’s mechanics are lacking and often cause problems when trying to switch between firearms and melee during combat. Jumping feels strangely stiff as well. These elements can be frustrating, but they won’t get in your way that much. All in all, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct could have been improved in many ways, but it still delivers the horror and zombie action that we have come to expect from The Walking Dead universe.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct can now be purchased for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii U. The game is rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Language. To learn more, visit the official The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct website.

Game Features

  • Single Player Only
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct in the comments section below!

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    • xinf1nityx

      Now, while I understand everyone’s opinions and their freedom to have one,
      My opinion seems to be a bit of a minority here. Honestly, I’ve been quite enjoying the game. Worth $50? Probably not, but I expect to pay that when I buy from GameStop. I picked it up because I was frustrated with the original WD game.[I’m not sure of the hype of playing a game, just making decisions and watching, but I’m not into it.] I’ve been enjoying it since. I’m not a big fan of the lack of variety in the levels and zombies, however. There was a comment earlier that said this was better than L4D, then a reply calling them out on it. Better? I wouldn’t say either is really better. I support the add-in that said there’s no story or anything, but I also enjoy the game as more of a party play style game. Sometimes I want to play games by myself, so I leave L4D out of my choice, then sometimes I want to play with friends, so L4D is an option. Anyway, back to TWD:
      I do think they could have done way better with this game, but I still enjoy it. It’s fun, challenging and exciting.
      I like the games that give you small choices that will affect you in the next ten minutes. You can go through, stealthy and unnoticed, or you can go in and face the horde. I enjoy that you need to conserve ammo, although in hairy times, it can be annoying. So all around, I agree it could be better, but I also think it is a pretty good game.

    • Scar Trek

      Oh you guys. At this point I can’t decide whether your game reviews are trolling, paid for, are exclusively done by people who never play any other videogames ever, or have a rating based solely on how much they reference horror franchises, because they sure have no relation to the actual quality of the games. This thing is absolute trash. It was announced and rushed out in a matter of months as a lazy, cheap cash-grab off the back of the popularity of Telltale’s game, and completely feels it.

      Anyone who scrolled down this far, go read what any other site on the internet has to say about this game (Kotaku: “The worst game I’ve played this year”, Polygon: “3 out of 10”) before you waste $50 on it, they won’t do such insulting things as pass off broken, glitching AI, poor design and complete failure to adhere to the setting’s own rules as “realistic” because “zombies are unpredictable”.

      • Uncle Creepy

        No dude, the truth is, we don’t give a shit what other sites or opinion are. We care what we think of them and review stuff from a horror fan’s point of view. That’s who we care about. Whether or not a fan of the genre will dig the game.

        And judging from your comment it seems you haven’t even played the game so who are you to judge? Reviews are opinions not gospel. Guidelines not “the final word.” The only review that matters in the end is your own. What does it for you.

        Sorry if you don’t appreciate where are reviews are coming from. Maybe the style is just not for you.

        • Diavolo

          That is the best approach. If there are reviewers whose manner of appraising something appears not to reflect mine, I just don’t read them. There are more than enough opinions on the internet to eventually find someone whose taste consistently matches your own.

    • Uncle Creepy

      Wholeheartedly agree with the review. It’s not exactly a technical marvel of a game, but it does have just the right flavor.

    • Terminal

      Kotaku gave this a horrible review, I’m interested to see how this ultimately pans out with the fan base.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Some people give everything a horrible review. It’s as if they forgot just how to have fun.

        • Terminal

          True that, Creepy. I still want to play the episodic TWD game, I’m dying to see how that is since about everyone says it’s amazing.

          • Uncle Creepy

            It’s pretty badass. Telltale did an amazing job with it!

            • Rottenjesus

              Jinx! Haha!

          • Rottenjesus

            Can’t believe you haven’t played it yet. It’s pretty brutal in all the right ways.

        • LSD Zombie

          I don’t think it has anything to do with not wanting to have fun, it’s about getting the most bang for your buck. Why shell out $50 bucks on the six-hour turd when you can spend $60 on a game like Tomb Raider that not only looks unbelievably gorgeous but is also double the length of this game. I love you Creepy, but every time I see you praise something mediocre, I can’t help but picture Otis from Devil’s Rejects saying these words, “I keep my standards low so I’m never disappointed.” LOL!

          Nothing wrong with that by the way. I wish I could have that mind set. 🙂

          • Uncle Creepy

            I shell out cash for the things I like. I don’t care if something is not a technological marvel. Games have been $50.00 bucks since the SNES, and lord knows I’ve paid for and played a lot worse than this one. The only thing I expect from a game is entertainment. If it entertains me I’ll play it. Is this game perfect, not by any means, and this review reflects that. Do I enjoy impaling a zombie under their chin with a hunting knife and watching as their bottom jaw contorts and slides off my blade? Well, for me that never gets old.