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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct review

At first we were afraid, now we're petrified - for all the wrong reasons

Zombie fiction isn't about the moment of death - it's about what comes just before and just after; the fear of having all humanity ripped out of you and the knowledge that you'll never be in control again. To its credit, Terminal Reality's new first-person shooter manages to produce precisely the same effect. You will be afraid of those moments before death and you will hate the idea of coming back afterwards - primarily because it's so nauseatingly boring.

It's odd, because in describing the typical run of a Walking Dead: Survival Instinct level, everything sounds well-pitched. Take this example from early in the game. You roll into a town low on much-needed petrol and high on intermittently dismantling ex-humans. The terrified son of a gas station owner spots you and says that he'll swap what fuel he has left if you'll find his father, who also has the key to the station's generator. You find said parent in the early stages of undeath, bludgeon him and return to the son, who begs you to take him with you. You switch on the generator, causing a racket that leads to a tense fill-up of a jerry can as the town's undead inch forward. There's then a breathless run through the moaning crowd and you're back on the road to Atlanta with a new, grieving companion.

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Reality TV

This scene aptly captures The Walking Dead series in a nutshell: violence, tension, humanity. It's set against a competent enough background too, telling the story of brothers Daryl and Merle before their arrival in the TV show. What we haven't mentioned is how this all feels to play.

For the most part, you'll be sneaking, which is actually fine, if pretty low-key. Crouching slows you to a crawl and your flashlight produces a weedy dunce's cap of visibility, making darkened areas a suitable pain. Unfortunately, the developer's proud, back-of-the-box assertion that "the walkers can smell you" only amounts to a workaround for the A.I. having to actually approximate any kind of search - stay near one for long enough and they just know you're there. This is when the problems start.

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7 comments so far...
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  1. Skywardwolf23 Saturday 25th May 2013 at 08:11

    WOW!!!... just WOW!!!! :shock:

  2. AtomFizz Saturday 25th May 2013 at 08:22

    "We're not sure if it's the developer, the publisher or both, but someone should be ashamed of themselves. Awful."
    Looking at the end the developer and the publisher were the same company, Activision...

  3. retrogeezer Saturday 25th May 2013 at 10:50

    I was hoping this game was going to do better than Resident Evil: Revelations but obviously not. I am tired of developers rushing games out to make a quick buck. You would think that after the success of the Wii that the developers would take time to produce a great game for the U knowing that people will flock to buy it and make heaps of cash for themselves and Nintendo.

  4. TheVelvetRoom Saturday 25th May 2013 at 15:06

    It's amazing that it's so far from finished. We're not sure if it's the developer, the publisher or both.

    Apparently Activision did the same thing as they had with the universally panned CODBLOPS: Declassified on Vita, releasing the game with a development time as short as 5 months.

  5. Robbo-92 Monday 27th May 2013 at 11:00

    They had the licence to one of the best TV shows at the moment and made a rubbish game to put it kindly, this COULD have been better than ZombiU, but it looks like they rushed it out of the door to make a quick profit which looking at reviews of the game. Hope they haven't done.

  6. ThePsychicExtrem Monday 27th May 2013 at 20:47

    Dale's probably glad he died soon enough to not have to witness this...

  7. OXM Joe Tuesday 28th May 2013 at 09:37

    "We're not sure if it's the developer, the publisher or both, but someone should be ashamed of themselves. Awful."
    Looking at the end the developer and the publisher were the same company, Activision...

    That shouldn't be the case - I'll change it, cheers.

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