The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Gameplay Preview (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U) - Prima Games

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Gameplay Preview (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U)

by Prima Games Staff

When you’re talking about games that are based on Robert Kirkman’s popular The Walking Dead franchise, your conversation can go one of two ways.

On one hand, you’ve got Telltale Games’ original adaptation, which follows two original characters – Lee and Clementine – as they make some hard choices throughout their fight for survival.  The game is based more on decision making and occasional quick-time events, but is still considered one of the best titles of 2012, bar none.

On the other, you have Activision’s take on the series, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a first-person shooter that has tie-ins with the AMC TV show of the same name, but takes place before Rick somehow gets involved.  Though there was initially some excitement over the game’s announcement, a fan-produced YouTube video has shown some graphic problems with the product, mainly with screen tearing and lack of dead enemies on-screen.  But should that be enough for concern?

Not really.  The fact is, the footage doesn’t entirely show everything that the game is about, and its shoddiness in quality isn’t quite the representation that the developers at Terminal Reality are shooting for.  Activision is already planning on releasing some new footage “very soon” and, with it, proving that the product is hardly as troublesome as the fan footage indicates.

As we mentioned, the game doesn’t focus on Rick, the main star of the show.  Instead, it gives you control over the tough Daryl Dixon, who has his own share of troubles with the undead, while also, at the same time, dealing with his brother Merle, who’s enough of a handful.  Though further details on the story haven’t been revealed just yet, you can probably expect a few twists and turns throughout, as well as some familiar faces – and, of course, lots of zombie heads to blow off.

Survival Instinct is much more visceral than Telltale Games’ product, focusing less on the human element and more on traditional first-person shooter action.  But the game will be made up of objectives throughout each stage, such as collecting fireworks or other necessities to make it to the next area.  What’s more, you can actually go about deciding how to get there in some situations, like wondering if it’s worth going through a group of zombies in order to get somewhere, or maybe find another route.

The game’s action levels won’t reach that of Call of Duty, as your weapons and strength don’t automatically guarantee that you’ll be able to effectively mow down all those in your way.  In a sense, the game shares some traits in common with Ubisoft’s Zombi U, forcing you to think and react quickly depending on certain situations.  If you’re surrounded, for instance, you’ll need to scramble and get out of the area quickly, lest you become the undead’s latest “happy meal”.

You do have some action advantages, however.  You can melee, and while it’s not the kind of striking move that will decapitate a zombie, it’ll get them off your back long enough that you can plan your strategy.  There are also times you’ll need to engage in a mini-game to get a zombie off your back, or execute a certain move to complete your escape.

Zombie behavior is of utmost importance with a game like this, and although early footage from the YouTube piece didn’t exactly indicate realism, Terminal Reality is working tirelessly to make sure that they react to you in the right manner.  For instance, if you light up a flare at one point in the game – especially in a darkened area – they’ll respond by pursuing you relentlessly – like any good brain-eater would.

There are still some questions that come up with Survival Instinct.  For instance, will there be some sort of co-op multiplayer, where one person controls Dylan and another takes hold of Merle, so they can do some tag-teaming when it comes to dealing with the zombie horde?  Also, a version was announced for the Wii U, so we’re left wondering if that system will have any specific functions that use the GamePad, such as weapon selection or utilizing a mini-map.  And finally, we can’t help but wonder if the game’s somewhat washed-out graphic style is the best choice here.  Sure, it makes the content look dingy on a level similar to that of the TV show…but considering this game is coming from the house that made Call of Duty, is that entirely a good thing?

We’re sure to have some answers in the weeks ahead, as Activision delivers new footage of the game, along with details, to let us know what’s up.  In the meantime, keep those fingers crossed.  This could very well be the type of game that fans eat up – and thankfully not that flawed piece of work that the YouTube footage first hinted at.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct hits stores on March 29th for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U.

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