This one's already dead.

User Rating: 2.5 | The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct PS3
I love AMC's The Walking Dead. Gritty, suspenseful and riveting, the show has attracted millions of viewers for a reason. Activision bought rights for a game set in the universe; a first-person shooter starring fan favourite Daryl Dixon and his brother Merle. It all sounds good: drive to different locations scouring for supplies and survivors and engaging in melee combat with walkers. Unfortunately, the execution was awful. Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is an ugly, poorly handled, dull and slow action game with terrible writing, flat characters, dreadful AI and an overall lack of fun. This isn't the great zombie-killing experience you've been waiting for.

Set somewhat against the backdrop of the Walking Dead universe, Survival Instinct takes one our favourite characters, Daryl Dixon, who is on a mission to find his brother, Merle, and escape the city... or something like that. There is zero exposition, the characters in the game are generic and uninteresting, ranging from a sheriff, a random gas station employee and Daryl's uncle. They have no relevance to the story, and impact it in no significant way. The game has an interesting system where you must decide which survivors to send to scour for food, ammo and fuel, or which ones should stay at the car and wait for Daryl to find items in a level. When you travel to different locations in the game, you can choose one of three routes – back roads, which consume the highest amount of fuel but have the most supply opportunities; streets, which have a medium fuel consumption and have medium supplies; and highways, which have the lowest amount of fuel consumption but have little supplies. This system is interesting, but it makes no impact on anything. What is the point in managing your fuel when there is enough to refill in the levels anyway? This means any route is possible, regardless of the fuel consumption.

You can also manage your inventory, and decide which weapons you will take with you. These range from melee weapons like a metal pipe, knife and hammer to shotgun, revolver, grenades and Daryl's signature crossbow. Unfortunately, using these weapons is a chore. Using guns is shallow and has no weight, and using melee weapons is a tedious process of pushing a zombie with R1 and striking them with R2 until they are dead. Hit detection is frustrating as zombies will crowd around you from all directions, quickly depleting your health before you have to start from the beginning. Optional objectives, like finding things for people and recruiting them, will give you a checkpoint based on each objective you complete, but dying before this results in a dull case of trial-and-error.

The AI of the zombies is horrendous. You obviously can't expect them to be intellectual, but here they are beyond braindead. They will stand with their back to you so you can sneak on them and kill them from behind (with a dreadful animation each time), they will stand still while you hit them and they will slowly trudge toward you while you pick them off with a revolver. Also, if there are multiple enemies in proximity, they will grapple you. Here, you must guide a white meter into the reticule, pressing R2 and killing the zombie who is grappling you. The infuriating and amusing thing is, the zombies often grab you immediately after a successful grapple escape, which is bland. They all wait in a line ready to grapple you, and its silly to say the least.

The controls are clunky too. Sprinting doesn't feel great, striking weapons is slow and shooting, picking things up and climbing ladders is cheap and shoddy. Sticking with the term shoddy, its a great way to describe the graphics in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. The game looks very poor and ripped straight from the previous console generation. Environments are muddy and filled with jagged edges, zombies look hideous (not in a good way) and the character models, animations and textures are dreadful. It's clear that developer Terminal Reality didn't have much time to iron out a decent visual spectacle, and everything visually feels rushed right down to the boring, barebones menus and art design.

The audio side of Survival Instinct is just as problematic. Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker voice Daryl and Merle Dixon respectively, but their talent is woefully wasted. The writing and dialogue they are given is terrible, with bad one-liners, repetitive intro lines and other bad quips and conversations. No one has anything interesting to say, zombies sound bland and weapons don't sound great at all. The only decent thing I could say about the game is the introduction, in classic Walking Dead style, and the music, ripped straight from the TV show. Apart from that though, this game hugely disappoints.

The game is repetitive and short and will run at 4-6 hours. There are collectibles to find, but save yourself the time and play something else instead. There is also no multiplayer or co-op.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is an awful cash-in on a popular franchise that shouldn't have been made. Filled with bad visuals, clunky, dreadful gameplay and overall terrible design, its a game you should ignore and never consider its existence. That way, you won't have to face the misfortune of playing such a lousy, woeful game. Stay far, far away from this mess. It's one of the worst games in a long time.


Presentation 3.0 – The cool intro aside, Survival Instinct gives little story, and the menus and characters are bland as all hell.

Graphics 3.5 – Awful environments and textures, dreadful zombie design and laughable animations.

Audio 4.0 – The music is decent, but everything else is woefully sub-par.

Gameplay 2.0 – Clunky, repetitive combat, awful controls, terrible mission design and an overall lack of fun or interest.

Replayability 3.0 – It's 4-6 hours long, but you will likely quit long before then.

Overall – 2.5/10