The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts Never Got The Chance To Be Good
Lets be honest, The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts was up against the world from the moment it was thought up. TV/Film cash ins have always been met with a degree cynicism , especially those based upon popular films and shows. It also doesn’t help that the game came out of no where, almost creeping up on people.
The elephant in the room is of course TellTale and their Walking Dead titles. Last year saw TellTale shatter expectations and earn both critical and player praise on a large scale. The nature of the games produced plenty of discussion which led to a pretty passionate fan base being formed. People were shocked that the games weren’t simply a quick cash in on a popular show. When Survival Instincts announced it was already firmly in the shadow of TellTale’s take on the universe.
The developer behind Survival Instincts doesn’t posses a stunning history of games. Terminal Reality have produced a number of titles in their years, but most of them have tended to be rather mediocre at best. This was one of the main factors to why I personally never paid much attention to Survival Instincts, after all Terminal Reality were coming off the back of Star Wars Kinect. Things weren’t helped when the initial trailers for Survival Instincts featured little to no gameplay. Instead the trailers opted to plant Michael Rooker & Norman Reedus on screen as they simply told people to buy the game.
To be fair the trailers did produce plenty of discussion across the internet, mostly for the wrong reason however. People had already become cautious over the game thanks to the sheer lack of information and slightly misleading trailer. Sometimes creating mystery around a game can work to the games benefit however this was not one of them times. People are bound to become cautious when a game is barely shown but is still being actively advertised.
The concept of a first person shooter with survival elements drilled into it does sound quite appealing. When this is attached to the Walking Dead then the appeal becomes intensified, at least to the ‘hardcore’ Walking Dead fans. When the first videos of gameplay emerged it became quite clear that the concept was not well executed. The footage shown displayed generic looking shooting with clunky and repetitive melee combat. The dated visuals didn’t help things either.
The main factor that I have questioned the most is perhaps a little juvenile. The idea of playing as a racist protagonist never really appealed to me. Given the game is a prequel the star of the game, fan favorite, Daryl is still steeped in his racist ways. It always struck me as odd that no had at least had raided a eye brow at this. To me this suggested that perhaps Survival Instincts was both fan service and a cash in. Daryl has become a huge fan favorite since Season 2, combine this with a video game in which you kill zombies and there’s money signs all over it.
At the time of writing this I am yet to see a positive review on Survival Instincts. The majority of these reviews highlight poor design, dated visuals, boring gameplay and awful AI as the major negatives of the game. It’s a shame given the potential the concept had. Unfortunately that very same concept would require both effort and time in order to produce a quality game. Time certainly seems to be the one thing Terminal Reality never had. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct never really had a chance to be anything more than a cash in, and that’s unfortunate.