Overkill’s The Walking Dead Review
The world of The Walking Dead has seen many forms, all generally well-acclaimed titles. I’d love to add Overkill Software’s newest rendition to the list, for real. It’s got some massive, awesome potential that a few patches could iron out to a perfect experience. What’s wrong with the game at current is debilitating for sure, but can be overcome over time. Please, Overkill, make this the great game it can be.
I’ll go over a few things that still hold true since the beta first. First things first: Your teammates will still make or break this game. I had some time to play by myself in some missions (for a while) and it isn’t a terrible time. Teammates who will shoot when they need to be quiet and rush into hordes are present…and prevalent. They’re what will cause the most pain. I’m no expert on this game, and I’m currently managing the support to increase my usefulness. But I still know a bad team member when I play with them. Like me, you’ll want to bring along a friend (or three) to keep things a bit easier.
The stability of the game still needs loads of tweaking. I had two hard crashes before capping my frame-rate and lowering the graphics all the way down. You’ll have some frame-rate problems regardless. This can definitely hurt the game in some places. My favorite was 3-5 second freezes where I ended up 10-20 feet from my freezing position, when I was walking of course. It needs some fixing, some way, somehow. At least my HUD kept up the entire time.
Level Design Could Use a Little Inspiration
Now, let’s talk about the full game, the new things I have to say. The game does look good under high-quality settings. There are only a few less than stellar textures on some decorative objects. The music is neat, though it can also be buggy and cut out every now and again. The UI is actually pretty nice, the map and in-game HUD are well designed and look great. Some menus can feel a little uninspired but that’s not a huge point of contention. With that in mind, I may like the level designs and themes but hate how they’re recycled and it’s not just for the horde defense missions either. You’ll end up in the same areas over and over with recycled areas strung together. It could have been done with more grace and can be pretty immersion-breaking. The story feels as unimportant as before, it’s nothing special, and so I won’t waste time on it.
Speaking of level design, there are two in total: horde defense and stealth missions. I say stealth because there is a noise level that must be kept low… Lest the game throw a massive horde of walkers at you. These stealth missions have the most variety. There are many objectives within to complete and many ways around. The horde defense is from either humans or walkers. Both objectives are to survive with the former throwing defending supplies into the mix. I hate the mission design not from a creative standpoint but from their execution. Enemies, human or walker, can spawn in terrible places and leave you completely surprised, through no fault of your own. The number of random openings that appear in-game feel like Nazi Zombies without windows. I’ve taken more damage from surprise spawning than anything else. The sheer number of foes when it comes to walkers is even worse, even with low noise. They can be tough, even with a full squad. When it comes down to the wire and things are tough you’re best off leaving your teammates without revives. Attempt to complete the mission goal if you’re getting overwhelmed and level up your health, for the love of God, as it’s so easy to lose. Getting into a grapple drains it very fast, and with the high volume of enemies you’ll be in need of meds.
I want to take a second to touch on loading screens, by far the worst part of this game. My partner compared the long load times to those of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and he isn’t far off. There are so many loading screens in and out of missions, in and out of the hub, it can take forever to get where you want to go. Not only that, the loading made teaming up tough. Our games were always getting disbanded due to the differing load times and other issues.
The camp defense and Survivor missions are neat, the latter much more so. Your camp needs upkeep every three missions and you can upgrade it. The people you save and recruit, NPCs, can go on automated missions and level up. They’ll also provide bonuses when set into a workshop, which can be very helpful. Be sure to pay attention to all your upgradable skills. This goes for your hero characters, which each have unique abilities that I won’t go into now. Test them out and read up on them and you’ll find a favorite. I still don’t like the mod durability and rarity. It worries me that the crates could be available as micro-transaction purchases later. Please no.
I enjoyed Overkill’s The Walking Dead but perhaps more as a concept. Playing with a friend makes the experience much more enjoyable; however, the price point is a concern given all the issues I had with the game. To this day, it doesn’t feel complete. Granted, it has the potential to be an AAA game but given its current state, The Walking Dead certainly feels like a budget title. Before you make the plunge (and I recommend you do strongly consider the purchasing the game), I’d recommend holding out until we see a price drop or when for it gets fine-tuned.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Challenging gunplay and melee combat
- Great skill progression
- Neat survivor missions
- Recycled maps
- Poor stability
- Unfair enemy setup
- Long and numerous loading screens