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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct A Review
Over the last decade, the zombie culture has overtaken the human race with a frenzy that is nothing short of epidemic. Yes, titles like 'Resident Evil' have opened the doors, but none have really led the way like 'The Walking Dead'. Spawning books, comics, games, action figures and a worldwide obsession with the sexy redneck Daryl Dixon. With over half of the show's fan base threatening to boycott the series if his blood is ever spilled, It is safe to say that as long as Dixon lives, the show will always have a tapped gold mine of zombie killing greatness.
With the insane amount of success of Telltale's game, it seemed like a natural progression for Activision to step up and base a survival horror game based on everyone's favorite crossbow wielding bad ass, Daryl Dixon. I'm sure Activision figured that anything featuring Dixon would be a massive seller. I guess, in a sense, they were right but 'Survival Instinct' is a prime example of quantity overlooking quality. I think America learned a lesson, when they realized that Daryl Dixon doesn't always equal quality. The moral of the story is a name that has earned it's own cult following can sell just about anything, but that doesn't mean that it should.
You start the game off as none other than Daryl Dixon himself. He and the rest of the Dixon clan are out hunting when they realize that the world around them has changed. Rotting creatures with an insatiable thirst for blood are roaming every square inch of their hideaway. As Daryl escapes the mangled clutches of these vile abominations, he decides that he must find his brother Merle, who has since disappeared. Daryl knows that his brother is still alive despite the hopelessness of the situation. As Daryl tirelessly searches he not only battles the leagues of the undead, but also the living who seek dominance in the new world. Not to mention the natural obstacles: finding gasoline, feeding your party, car break downs. Part way through his journey, word of a military safe zone comes to Daryl's attention and his motive switches to self preservation. Although the safe zone is a far cry from what he could ever have imagined.
Ok, I won't pull any punches. The game is horrible. I'm not one to leave a project half way finished, and that was the only reason I played beyond the half way point. First, let me touch on the positives of the game, since it is a much shorter list. First, Activision wisely brought in real life actors Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker to voice their game characters. If nothing else, the game has that small level of realism, making the characters seem more realistic. The creators gave the game some interesting effects. For example as Daryl runs, his vision is clouded by sweat droplets. As the camera is supposed to be through Daryl's point of view, it makes sense. Secondly, as Daryl dispatches his undead foes, their blood splatters quite nicely. Adversely, in the entire game, only three positives stand out. The entire title is incredibly repetitive. You have a decent sized arsenal at your disposal, but the best way to kill your enemies is to sneak up and plunge a knife through their skull. Regardless of whatever device you chose, your blade will still be your go to weapon. It quickly reverts to a familiar sneak, stab, switch routine which becomes boring. Quickly. Period. The zombie themselves are all recycled models and they look ridiculously cartoonish. A substantial amount of time is spent in your vehicle deciding routes and traveling from level to level. Along the way, you'll frequently run out of gas or your car will break down. While it's conceivable, the frequency of break downs is completely unrealistic. At one point, my "new" car broke down four times in a span of ten minutes. This is only filler content, especially when the the side trips to find fuel or car parts are all the same. Same zombies in the same locations, same backgrounds and the exact same tools lying around in the exact same places. While there isn't any need to explore beyond a certain point, the game eventually becomes void of any kind of excitement. Lastly, the game's writers need to check their zombie folklore before attempting another game of this type. It's pretty common knowledge that a bite or scratch from the undead will cause the victim to die slowly and then reanimate. In the game, Daryl can consume a sports drink and he doesn't turn even after sustaining multiple bites. If Gatoraide is truly a cure all, then I'm going to by stock in the stuff, because the zombie apocalypse will be about as serious as a head cold outbreak. Ridiculous.
My recommendation is just to avoid this title. Or, if you're curious about how bad the title is, borrow it from a buddy, but it's not worth the money you'll spend. I was lucky enough to play the title for free, and I'm glad. I wouldn't have spent anything for this piece of trash...
What did you think of this game?
Also available for PS3