Fandom

Zero Punctuation Wiki

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

509pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.

TranscriptEdit

So I was gonna do the new God of War, Ass-tension or whatever it was called but that felt like throwing vegetables at a bear on a hotplate for not dancing well enough, when I should be telling the heartless bastards who own the bear to take it off the hotplate! At this point, Sony is like a pushy mother and Kratos is their little ballerina daughter; they whore him out to every Playstation game that'll take him and they put a link to a preview of The Last of Us on his title screens, which is obviously exactly what we're after when we've put a God of War: Ascension disc in the console and clicked on the God of War: Ascension icon.

And then the game itself can't be described as anything more interesting than another God of War! Ever since they wrote themselves into a corner in God of War III, they've been squeezing samey prequels out of every as-yet unexplored period of Kratos's life. I will put money right now on there eventually being a DMC-style God of War reboot in which you play as a snarky teenage Kratos learning how to fight and first acquiring his trademark simmering rage from all the older Greek men trying to bugger him.

But then this Walking Dead thing comes out and presents a much more interesting talking point. It's supposed to be a prelude to the TV series of the same name, which I know nothing about because what kind of saddo uses their TV for things with no potential for tea-bagging? But apparently it's about a zombie apocalypse, so yeah I think I've got this. Zombie apocalypse was old hat, now it's a dusty torn-up section of brim that came off an old hat because the rest of the old hat was eaten by a stegosaurus.

What I do know is that Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is unrelated to the other Walking Dead game which turned out really good because it wasn't the obvious zombie-killing action game. So at this point, Survival Instinct throwing its very old hat into the ring as a zombie killing action game (in first-person no less!) might be considered a bad move. But there's a place in the ever-reliable adult playground of zombie apocalypse for games of every shape and size, and there are enough interesting ideas behind this one to elevate it from the crowded little playpen where games like Resident Evil sit around trying to light their own farts.

Survival Instinct opens like one of those weird Cabela animal-hunting games in which every animal on Earth has mistaken you for a man made of steaks and bamboo. You are a redneck holding a really shitty rifle in the middle of the wilderness, but after tracking the world's easiest to track deer for a second, zombies show up wanting a slice of your moon-pie. I think a lot of people are going to dismiss Survival Instinct just because it doesn't look like a triple-A game, maybe a second-tier one from about ten years ago of the opinion that any kind of environment design that couldn't have been made in the Build Engine is just being hoity-toity, where the zombies look like someone stuck a Halloween mask on a drying rack and their principal melee strike looks like they're trying to brush lint off your lapels.

But the thing is you have to look past that to see the strong points. You are a redneck named Darryl and you set out on an epic quest to... okay, plot isn't one of the strong points either. Darryl's motivation seems to be to keep moving south with no apparent goal in mind, unless it's to beat his record for how quickly he can alienate people through being a boorish redneck asshole. Hey Darryl, I don't think you of all people need to move any further south!

What is interesting is that Survival Instinct has a core survival element which already puts it ahead of Tomb Raider in the "Relevance of Title" event. Your task, besides avoiding getting your Southern cross bitten off, is to explore open-ended levels to find enough fuel for the journey to the next level, as well as first aid and ammo to ensure you stay alive long enough to waste it. You can also have random survivors join your party, who can go out and scavenge while you're doing story missions, but in my playthrough, they only came back alive twice.

If you set them out on their own you see, they have the life expectancy of a little lost lamb sheltering from the rain in a nuclear test silo, and my car only had one spare seat. Yeah, I noticed the 74% risk rate, but I didn't pull off that spectacular rescue so you could sit and fiddle with the cigarette lighter, mate! And after I found a bigger car and enough chuckdees to make scavenging tenable, then the story campaign was about done. Not that it mattered so much, since when I did run out of fuel mid-journey, all the game did was drop me into a random scavenge mission that was just pissing the stuff out of the walls. I think you need to punish me more, Survival Instinct. I've been a very bad boy!

I can imagine God of War: Ass-slappage giving Survival Instinct a lot of shit on the New Release shelves. "Ooh, look at this joker, thinks he can hang with us! Where are your rendered cinematics and your predetermined action sequences? I bet you don't even zoom the camera all the way out to show off your expensive environment design while the player's trying to tell what the fuck they're doing. No, I bet you just try to make them engage with the main character like some kind of fag!"

Well, you know what, Asperger, I was more tense playing Survival Instinct than I had been playing most of your triple-A ilk lately, way more than when I was playing Dead Space 3 — when I'd look down a corridor with fifteen vents along the wall and say, "Yep, should have gone for the shampoo specially formulated for bodily fluids," and then the music guy would trip and somehow fall on every single button on his mixing desk. No, Survival Instinct achieves tension through organic unscripted gameplay. I thought I'd snuck around those stanky drying racks in the street, but some of them followed me down this alley so I had to start shooting and it turns out some of them were behind a nearby wooden fence, so they start smashing it down to get at me and you'd better cast me in The Cask of Amontillado, 'cause I'm about to fucking brick it!

Where Survival Instinct lets itself down, besides looking like someone left a copy of Redneck Rampage in the tumble-dryer, is that it doesn't have the imagination to make the most of its more interesting ideas. The organic survival management and random mission mechanics were crying out for some kind of roguelike-y mode in which you just keep going 'til you die. If the developers had designed a few more maps for random missions to happen in — and incidentally, you can't reuse a map, start us on the opposite end and think we won't notice. But no, the game just bumbles through an overly brief and schizophrenic story campaign and that's your lot, ending in about the most misguided way it possibly could with a turret section out of nowhere as if to say "Yeah, sorry about all that stealth and effective tension. Why don't we leave you with pleasant memories of blowing heads off instead?"

Surely the lesson of Walking Dead the comic and the show and the other video game is that zombie violence in itself is done like a sticky bun and now it's exploring characters that keeps it interesting. I mean, we all know by this point what happens if you shoot a zombie in the head: you have to use the specially formulated shampoo.

 AddendaEdit

I will survive: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

Yes obviously Bioshock Infinite is next week, playing a whole game and making up a load of knob gags about it within a single week hasn't gotten any more realistic

A zombie bit me on the arse but then I laughed it off

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.