COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Activision’s The Walking Dead

Updated: 03/22/2013 11:46 AM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

 

One of my favorite television shows ever is AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” It’s about a group of people who are trying to survive a zombie outbreak and it is amazing. It’s scary, well written, and I think it is one of the best horror television shows ever. I cannot remember the last time I was so excited about a show.

This week I received a review copy of Activision’s “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct” for the PS3. It is a first person shooter which I think is fun and very addicting. The night I received it, I stayed up the entire night playing it. I got so involved in it, that I lost track of time.

I really like the story a lot, because it’s new and it takes place before the first episode of the television show. It’s really a prequel and it’s is very interesting.

The game takes place in Georgia right when the zombie outbreak first occurs. The main character that you play as is Daryl Dixon from the show. Your father has just been killed by zombies and now you and your brother Merle have to try and make your way to Atlanta without getting killed by zombies. Along the way you meet other survivors that may or may not join up with you as you head to Atlanta.

One really awesome thing about the two main characters is that they are voiced by the actors in the television show. Daryl is voiced by Norman Reedus and Merle is voiced by Michael Rooker.

The controls are very simple and there is an in game tutorial that will explain what you need to do when you come to a certain area.

There are so many zombies that you encounter that you will have to use all of your skills and weapons that you find along the way to survive.

The only way to destroy the zombies is to attack their heads, so that’s what you need to focus on. If you have a gun and shoot their arm or leg off it will not stop them. However, if you hit them in the head they will instantly drop and will not move.

The zombies are quick and they do like to travel in groups so you have to be quiet and sneak around a lot in the game. If you are spotted, you can sprint past them for a short time.

You can pick up bottles and flares and throw them to distract the zombies so you can run past them.

Your main weapon that you start out with is a hunting knife and you can stab zombies or you can sneak up on them and do a special kill where you stick your knife in their head.

There are many different weapons that you find on your quest to Atlanta. You can find guns, pipes, axes, etc… When you have a melee weapon like a pipe equipped, you can hold the attack button down and when you release it after a short period of time, it will do more damage and will sometimes knock the zombie backward. 

If there are lots of zombies about to attack you, you can shove them and try to get around them.

You can also find energy drinks and MRE’s (meals ready to eat). These will revive your health when you consume them. There are plenty scattered around the game so you shouldn’t have a problem reviving your health.

You also have a flashlight that you can activate when you are in dark areas. You have to be careful though, because zombies can see it and will come after you like moths to a flame.

There are lots of times when zombies will grab you and hold on to you. You can escape by moving the right analog stick in the direction that appears on the screen.

When you are in the correct spot, you can push “R2” and you will do a special attack where you stick your hunting knife through their head. If there are several zombies holding on to you, you will have to do this until you defeat all of them.

When you start going to Atlanta, you get to choose if you want to travel on back roads, highways, or freeway to get there. You have a certain amount of gas in your truck and depending on which route you choose, will determine how much gas you use.

Another thing that you have to worry about is if your truck will breaking down going to the next location.  If it breaks down, you will have to stop and try to find a way to fix your truck. You have to try and find the part that you need to fix your truck before you get killed by zombies.  Once you get the truck fixed you can start traveling again. Later on in the game, you can get different vehicles that you come across.

There are many different routes that you can take and each one takes you to a different town or area, so in order to see everything you have to play through the game multiple times. I really liked this a lot because it gives the game great replay and I know that I will be playing through it multiple times.

At the beginning of each level you can choose what items you want to bring with you for the level. The items and weapons that you don’t take stay at the vehicle and you can use them later on if you need them.

This was great because every level has tons of items and weapons to pick up, so you can really stockpile items if you need them for later levels.

In each level of “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct” there are other survivors that you can choose to help. If you talk to them they will tell you what they need. If you find the item or do the task, you will be rewarded with items, weapons, or they may even join you.   If you want to just get through the level, you don’t have to do the special tasks.

I really liked Activision’s “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct” a lot. It was fun and very creepy. The zombies looked great and I felt it was a great zombie survival game based on an amazing television show. 

I also liked that there were collectible items scattered throughout the game that you need to find to unlock different weapons.  The game is rated “M” because of blood, gore, intense violence, and language. I know people who are fans of “The Walking Dead” are really going to enjoy this game a lot. I also feel that people who like zombie survival games will like this as well.  I know that I will be playing this for quite a while. 

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.