Ah, The Walking Dead, an amazing comic, palatable television show, and what should have been a premise for a good video game. While Tell Tale's alternate storyline telling game was pretty amazing, it lacked the first person shooting adventure that everyone wanted.
Thus Terminal Reality decided to give birth to The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct which is a prequel to The Walking Dead following the good ol' boy story of Dayrl and Meryl Dixon. Oh boy. When they first announced this game, Terminal Reality really hyped it during The Walking Dead on AMC, which is pretty much all the advertising you need. However, the game sort of just dropped off the face of the Earth for a few months and then the end of The Walking Dead season 3 was announced.
When a game stops releasing information as well as not releasing samples of gameplay, it is a bad sign. When they set a release date two weeks before the end of the current season of the show, it is a sign that the game was rushed just so they would not miss out on advertising opportunities.
I will save you people some time. The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts is bad.
It's rushed, it's ugly, and it follows two amazingly uninteresting characters that were not even in the comics.
I'm a purist. i followed the comics long before the show, perhaps I was spoiled by them. Whenever a character that was absent from the comics (Daryl, Meryl, T-Dog) steals a badass moment that was reserved for an actual character it awakens such a rage in me.
A rage that was awakened when I heard this prequel follows Daryl. I bought the game anyway, I love a good zombie game. If only I had bought one.
Survival Instincts has a Boring Story
The game starts you out on a hunting trip that serve as a tutorial. You run around learning all the mechanics and then zombies attack! Zombies attack in great mass and kill you. Of course that whole tutorial had you adopting the guise of Daryl's father, who then Daryl refuses to put him out of his misery because he just loves him so darn much. Even though during the show Daryl and Meryl have a whole dialogue about how they hate their father for beating them, but whatever, I guess you can still love your abusive father enough not to exact your vengeance via a bullet to the head.
If you are a fan of Daryl, then you probably be interested in his back story. I had hoped I could overlook all the things bad in this game if it had a truly awesome back story. Hope as I might, that did not happen. The story is REALLY boring, for the first part of the game, there really is no story. You travel around looking for Meryl. The game is crafty and likes to try and pretend that it is not linear by giving you choices, but the choices are suspiciously similar.
The one positive I can find in this game is that they use the original voice actors of Daryl and Meryl. So that is pretty cool, the character designs of them actually look sort of like them, if this game was made for the PS2 or original XBox.
Survival Instincts has Terrible Graphics
On that note, this does not look like a current generation game. This game is like playing Resident Evil 6 but then going back and playing Resident Evil 2. It is the most fugly current generation game I have seen.
However ugly game graphics is what you get when you rush a game. Game designers place down the environments and create the side characters and they are like, "Eh! Good enough."
Instead of making this background detailed and beautifully destroyed as per an apocalypse game, they just create the area and forgo putting in textures. The people look normal enough, unless you look at their amazingly stupid looking hair.
The environments are pretty much just look like the same place. You can travel fifty miles and see the same kind of brings, the same buildings, and the same wrecked cars. It gets really repetitive. Proably the most annoying thing about any level in this game is the number of invisible walls. Sure we have the old 'some doors open and some are glued shut" I can live with that, a lot of games do that. However, I do have a problem when you aim through the rungs of a ladder at a zombie and it turns out the ladder is one solid object.
Survival Instincts has Terrible Gameplay
The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts is not so much a zombie survival game as it is a zombie stealth game. Sound plays a large role in this game. If you use your guns, it attracts more zombies. You are encouraged to be quieter and execute zombies with your knife by sneaking up on them. You will be doing this a lot.
If you attack them from the front with your knife, you get the usual 'slap zombies in the face with your knife blade five or six times until they die', zombie games are really fond of that motion. I'm looking at you Dead Island.
I did enjoy one aspect of the game play. You can send your fellow survivors out while you are exploring to get things you need like fuel and food. I love a good resource management zombie apocalypse game. However this is poorly handled so much so that it just a boring repetitive task that I don't even want to do.
While the game encourages stealth, you can literally just sprint past a horde of zombies. Which, to its credit, is a pretty realistic move for slow walking zombies, but it makes for a pointless game. How does it encourage you to actually kill zombies? It makes you sweat. Sprinting will cause you to sweat down the side of the screen in great torrents. Groooossss.
Your sweating will also attract zombies. Damn Daryl, I knew pheromones is what made you so popular on the television show.