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There’s something extremely tragic when it comes to looking at licenced games. Just about all of them are bad, there’s little to deny that, but they’re usually that way because the developers have been given a minute budget and ordered to squirt it out in six months. Sometimes the end result will be relatively good, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters for example, and manage to escape the curse. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct? It almost manages to be one of those good titles. There are so many sparks of brilliance which could have so easily made the game brilliant but were never developed far enough.
The plot to Survival Instinct is one of, well, survival what else do you expect in something with zombies (or walkers as the series calls them). Playing as Daryl Dixon from the TV series, you travel from one town to the next seeking out fuel, resources and general supplies to stay alive directly following the outbreak. With everything from fuel to water in short supply you’re encouraged to sneak past the undead as much as fight them and forced to choose just who is vital to keep with you. That’s about it and in fairness that’s all you need. Everything else is downhill from there.
The problems with the game all originate from developer Terminal Reality’s execution and the sheer lack of polish on the title. Frequently you’re going to encounter visual glitches and bugs such as floating objects but also extremely immersion breaking problems. An already infamous one is the sound effects used for hitting the windows on cars, the sound of striking metal, which don’t so much as dent even when you are striking them with a sledgehammer. There is also the apparent lack of awareness with the walkers, or how inconsistent it can truly be. Half the time the brain hungry walking corpses can spot you from the other side of the map, while others will not notice you even as you are standing next to them. Often paying you no attention even as you take out a swarm in close combat, slamming a hammer against their skulls every time one turns your way like some sort of macabre game of whack-a-mole.