The Walking Dead Survival Instinct is one those games that doesn’t need to exist but you’re happy it does. While not on par with the Telltale offering, it does succeed.
The Walking Dead Survival Instinct takes place before the events of the television series and places you into the shoes of fan favorite and general badass: Daryl Dixon. Starting from a hunting trip that goes wrong, you travel across Georgia going through many different locations to locate your brother, the much loved Merle Dixon.
Along the way you will come across unique characters that can accompany you on your journey. Some live, some die, and others get what’s coming to them. While the plot does set up some interesting ideas, you can see Daryl’s relationship with his brother and see why he doesn’t kick him to the side like many people want. As someone who doesn’t hate Merle, I find the whole situation sad and lonely.
But there are elements that are quickly dropped and the story ends in the most confusing way possible. Well, only if Dukes of Hazard fans play the game. Things are set up for a sequel and I sure hope one gets made. Choice is played with multiple times and there were moments where I could not for the life of me make up my mind. Like The Walking Dead game by Telltale, I often felt regret when making my decisions. Be warned, you can finish The Walking Dead Survival Instinct in a sitting or two so it is disappointing that a game from Terminal Reality could be so short. Although with the amount of replay value, multiple playthroughs are expected in Survival Instinct.
While the graphics in The Walking Dead Survival Instinct are not up to par with games like Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3, the quality in the cut-scenes certainly make up for it. The people look fine, the zombies look rotted, and the gore is perfectly acceptable. Though, it is still odd that a head can be removed yet at the same time it could also be blown-up like a simple balloon. One of the things people love about The Walking Dead is its realism and the fact that the heads are essentially made of watermelon takes out the immersion factor.
The Walking Dead Survival Instinct is billed as “survival FPS.” One of the big selling points is that you cannot take on more than three walkers at a time since on the show Rick Grimes or anyone really, cannot handle multiple walkers at a time. This, Terminal Reality got right. There are numerous moments where a big herd of biters are on you and you need to get out of there as soon as possible. Sometimes you can get ahead of the pack and take everyone out but that is not the best idea unless you really want to say screw it to the immersion.
Even though there are firearms in the game it is better to stick to the melee weapons. Like the TV show, firing your weapon attracts walkers and before you know what’s happening you are sharing the same fate as Lori Grimes and Shane Walsh.
Probably the best part of the game is the random event system like those used in classic role-playing games. It varies between scavenging for supplies, getting new parts for your vehicle, and moving cars out of the way. It is refreshing in between missions and is perfect if you want to let off some steam and go insane on some walkers. Continuing with this, you can encounter random survivors in the world. While you play missions you can send members of your group on missions of their own. Said missions are mainly scavenging supplies whether it is finding food, ammo, or fuel. Be careful though, if you don’t properly equip your survivors they may never come back. I unfortunately had all my survivors die on me so it was pretty disturbing seeing “Todd Jefferies never came back.”
Most of the ads for this game show Daryl with his iconic crossbow, but it takes a while for you to actually get his Excalibur. I personally was using the fire axe up to the point where you receive the crossbow but once you actually get it, you are in it. There is nothing better than killing a walker point blank with the crossbow while having less than three bolts for your weapon. Speaking of the fire axe, I was enamored with it to the point where I would try and clear out the area with it because it is one of the few weapons in the game that is extremely fun to use. Believe me, the fire axe makes the game essentially a beheading simulator. There were many times in-game I would say “In the name of Robert of the house Barratheon” right before removing a walkers head.
Aside from the last act in which everything you learn to do is thrown out the window, things are pretty well set. Also, this is a game that can be played stealthily or right in your face so you have some more choice on how to approach the situation.
Overall this game is really great, much like Terminal Reality’s other game Ghostbusters: The Video Game but it doesn’t reach the bar set by the Telltale game. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. If you like The Walking Dead TV show then you will love this game. The same can be said if you like walkers. It is also appealing to fans of Game of Thrones. All things said, I really hope this game does well because a sequel in which Terminal Reality is able to refine its craft would make for a great game. The Walking Dead Survival Instinct is a fantastic game that should be played by everyone.