17
New
Stories

egmnow
My Games
New Games
Top Games



EGM Review:
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

By
Posted on March 22, 2013 AT 04:14pm

Dead on Arrival

As of this moment, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is handily the worst game of 2013, and I highly doubt it’s going to have much serious competition over the next 8 months. It’s bland, ugly, repetitive, disjointed, and almost wholly devoid of any redeeming qualities. There’s a looming air of defeat that permeates the entire experience, like the team abandoned all hope of success midway through the development cycle and shifted their focus onto making something that might, at the very least, be technically classified as “a game.”

Plasticky zombies swat at you with all the power and malice of a feeble old man attempting a handshake. Models overlap with astonishing regularity; you’ll see bushes growing through solid concrete walls into building interiors and cars sprouting from the middle of school buses. Most combat encounters can be solved by circle-strafing around your enemies to perform a stealth execution, even when the zombies are aware of your presence and attacking head-on. When you sprint for too long, your eyes sweat. Your eyes sweat. It’s all laughably bad, and the failings are so glaring that they should’ve been blatantly obvious to everyone involved in the project. Alas, no one working on the game seemed to care—and neither should you.

With that in mind, I’ve decided that a boilerplate review just won’t cut it here. Instead, I’ve tried to cope with the psychological trauma of my playthrough by attempting to find valid reasons why a game this utterly miserable could’ve ever come to exist in the first place. Let us embark together on a journey to a land of possibilites, of rationalizations, of suffering, and unflinching disappointment.

Possibility 1:

DEVELOPER

So, as you can see from the demo, we’re well on track for our scheduled March 2014 release.

PUBLISHER

You mean March 2013, right?

DEVELOPER looks closely at contract.

DEVELOPER

Goddamn it.

Possibility 2:

LAWYER

I know it’s sounds strange, but it’s true. Due to an obscure 1873 Texas law, you need to immediately fire your entire art department and replace them all with people who’ve been legally blind since birth.

DEVELOPER

Animators, too?

LAWYER consults a dusty law book.

LAWYER

Looks like it.

DEVELOPER

Goddamn it.

Possibility 3:

PUBLISHER

Per our discussion yesterday, we’re going to need you to make this Walking Dead game on a tighter budget than we originally planned.

DEVELOPER

Well, if we needed to, I think we could get a decent product together for around $15 million.

PUBLISHER

We were thinking more along the lines of 10.

DEVELOPER

10 million? We could probably live with that.

PUBLISHER

No, no, no, sorry. 10 dollars.

DEVELOPER

Goddamn it.

Possibility 4:

AMC EXECUTIVE

I don’t know if what you guys are doing so far really captures the spirit of the show. Where’s the part where you spend hours looking for gasoline? Where’s the part where you leave people you barely know to die without any emotional impact?

DEVELOPER

With all due respect, sir, I don’t really think those things define The Walking Dead for most people.

AMC EXECUTIVE

You know what was a good game? The Oregon Trail. You should make this thing like The Oregon Trail.

DEVELOPER

What?

AMC EXECUTIVE

Yeah. People love staring at maps, having to meticulously manage their supplies, and building incredibly shallow relationships with completely expendable characters.

DEVELOPER

I guess we could work a few of those features into the game. I mean, they don’t really mesh with the mechanics we have now or the vibe of the universe, but maybe we could find a way.

AMC EXECUTIVE

Also, put in a ton of invisible walls for no good reason.

DEVELOPER

Goddamn it.

Possibility 5:

SENIOR DEVELOPER

I know it’s been hard for all of us since Bill’s untimely passing. He was our friend, our colleague, and our lead gameplay designer, but I think we owe it to him to finish the game the way he wanted it to be made.

JUNIOR DEVELOPER 1

But how will we know what to do without him? He was amazing!

JUNIOR DEVELOPER 2

Yeah, Bill was the best thing to ever happen to us!

SENIOR DEVELOPER

It’s OK, guys. It’s OK. I visited him at the hospital shortly before he passed, and he gave me these.

SENIOR DEVELOPER reaches into his bag and pulls out two sheets of paper.

SENIOR DEVELOPER (CONT’D)

One of them lists the features that we should definitely put in the game. The other lists things that we should never, ever, ever include.

JUNIOR DEVELOPER 1

So, uh, which sheet is which?

SENIOR DEVELOPER

…Goddamn it.

Developer: Terminal Reality • Publisher: Activision • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 03.19.13
1.5
Though a functional game at the most basic level, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is an absolute disaster from start to finish. It feels like Terminal Reality duct-taped several different half-finished projects together and assumed the brand tie-in would move units. It’s an absolute disgrace—both to the TV show it’s based on and videogames as a whole.
The Good The box art is nice, I guess.
The Bad Take your pick.
The Ugly Again, it’s pretty much open season here.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Wii U. Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.
Josh Harmon, Associate Editor
Josh Harmon picked up a controller when he was 3 years old—and he hasn't looked back since. This has made him particularly vulnerable to attacks from behind. He joined EGM as an intern following a brief-but-storied career on a number of small gaming blogs across the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @jorshy. Meet the rest of the crew.

Partner Pages

Subscribe
Subscribe
Subscribe



EGM MEDIA, LLC
29800 Agoura Road
Suite 103
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
egm

© 2014 EGM Media LLC. All rights reserved. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Website Interface © 2012 EGM Digital Media, LLC.