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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

Freddie Schwartz Staff Writer

Activision and Terminal Reality developed a first-person shooter game based on the AMC television series “The Walking Dead” focusing on the two brothers, Daryl and Merle, before the zombie apocalypse starts and before the show begins.

Critics were apprehensive of the title because it looked like a major cash-in for the namesake alone. Terminal Reality has also produced some really poor games in the last few years. The most notable is Star Wars Kinect, one of the worst games for the X-Box Kinect, which was universally panned. I can still picture faces cringing in disgust at just the mention of its title. Many assumed this would be similarly disappointing and they were right, it is terrible.

The graphics are low quality in every way. Games from the early 2000’s look better then what we see here. There are some times that there is a nice shadow effect as if a zombie walks by, and when it is dark, there is some suspense. However, it looks rushed, as if no time was given to make the environments look interesting. The game is painfully linear as the player is forced to go certain ways and cannot create their own path through fallen fences and under cars. It is not immersive at all, which is boring. You are in this location, kill zombies, complete the main objective and an optional rinse and repeat.

To be fair, there are some decent jump scares but the game reuses this kind of scare tactic repeatedly so it becomes too predictable. Believe it or not, there are some good ideas in Survival Instinct. The player can find survivors that help scavenge for gas, ammunition and food. Side missions to find supplies and a new melee or firearm are available. Also, the game does use some elements from the show. For example, if you use the firearm, the player risks alerting too many sur- rounding zombies and then has to escape a swarm of them. There is a sneaking mechanic to kill zombies in an assassin-like attack. However, the combat is still too easy and too repetitive.

This lazy cash-in retails at $49.99. It was meant to be a prequel to the TV series yet the ending in no way tells players anything new or makes it worth completing. The ending was basically “we survived, let’s go.” Even the overall story is sluggish. There is nothing interesting here. It completely misses the point of the game, which was to make a prequel first-person shooter game.

Besides seeing characters Daryl and Merle, the rest of the characters are forgettable and the majority of the voice acting is inadequate. It is clear that the developers had some promising intentions to make this game stand out, but it was just pushed out the door to cash in on the success of the television show. The game is boring, tedious, buggy and the graphics are a mess. I give it a 2/10. Do not even bother.

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