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OVERKILL's The Walking Dead Review

Zombie smashing, blasting, and hacking has always been a gamer favorite across all platforms. OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead sadly did not hit the nail on the head, here. While good ideas and systems are present, the overwhelming bugs and poorly done multiplayer system truly grinds this title to a halt.

OTWD pits players against hordes of the undead as well as human enemies. Each match will bring you into a universe in which you are outmanned and outgunned but must use teamwork to progress through the city streets of Washington D.C. Stealth and scavenging will make up the bulk of your time in any match, as well as striking the undead with bats, clubs, staffs, or machetes. Any noise you create will inevitably attract the shambling hordes.

GRAPHICS

Aesthetically, OTWD is quite impressive in most departments. Zombies look extremely detailed and eerie. The environments and level design are also well done and bring immersion into the universe. However, smaller details look very subpar in comparison, such as bottles, cans, or leaves scattered across the playfield all have a lower quality to them. Effects details such as fire are the most noticeable of these subpar details. Not only do the flames themselves look pretty bad but they also do not affect their environments at all. The flames create no lighting change; zombies that you have burned will not be charred and terrain will be undisrupted.

GAMEPLAY

The progression in this title is based around gathering enough supplies to fulfill your camp’s resource consumption and  upgrade components for your camp to unlock further missions. With these same systems, you must also maintain your weapons by cleaning and repairing them, keeping the morale of your camp high and rescuing new survivors to join your faction.

Upon entering a match, you will need to move quietly through the streets and avoid the numerous traps in place across the map. From bear traps to shotguns mounted to fire when doors open, you’ll need to be vigilant and mindful of each corner and room. The undead areattracted to noise so each bullet fired will spawn more and more zombies to the play area. This feature is really interesting and provides players with repercussions for openly engaging the walkers. Though during engagements with the human AI, be prepared to “ring the dinner bell” quite a lot. In concept, having to fight humans and zombies at the same time, who are also fighting each other, should make for an exciting gameplay. In my experience, the zombies usually do not attack the human AI enemies nor do the humans shoot at the undead. Occasionally, a zombie will grab a human, but more often than not, they team up against the 4 players on the map.

Inside each match, you will have to fix generators or start up machines to progress through each area within the map. These tasks consist of having players loot the surrounding area for fuses, gears, belts, fuel, and cranks. This formula might work in concept, but in this title it feels monotonous and overdone. Sadly, there is not much new content in OTWD to attract any gamer who has been within the gaming culture through the 2000’s. While the ideas for the gameplay of this title revolve around teamwork, stealth, and communication, all of this is executed in a very familiar and distasteful way.

To my surprise, a title that emphasizes teamwork so heavily has little to no systems in place to benefit the player in these regards. Inviting friends to lobbies will usually result in disconnections and error codes, joining lobbies in progress will spawn you directly next to another player (even if they’re surrounded by the undead), and to top it off there are no in-game voice chat options. This leaves players two choices; Brave the matchmaking public lobbies where you will proceed mute through each mission or attempt to connect to friends while utilizing an outside voice communication program.

The largest amount of negatives for OTWD comes from the copious amount of bugs that plague your gameplay. Be prepared to get stuck into walls and terrain, get shot through solid objects, become frozen behind an invisible barrier, watch ragdolls bombastically flail about, have the undead get stuck into vehicles or terrain, open doors to only have invisible doors block your path, etc. The list goes on and on and will be present in every match played. To no surprise, it is fair to assume most of these will get ironed out in future patches, but after 4 years since the announcement of this title, it is pretty jarring that all these issues fell through the cracks.

Lastly, the release asking price of $60 USD is an astonishing initial entry price for the quality and innovation of OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead.

While I do understand and can fully see that the developers put a lot of love into creating this title, there are just far too many issues and subpar systems to consider this a AAA title. While the gameplay loop here is fun in nature, there is no justification for the price-to-content ratio.

4

The Verdict: Flawed

OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead does a decent job of immersing players into a universe of the undead, but lacks innovation and is ultimately brought to its knees by the overwhelming amount of bugs and lack of player-friendly systems like communication. While the bugs can be ironed out as time goes on, the release asking price and overall gameplay loop do not benefit the consumer for a price-to-content ratio.

Bric Hudson
Written by
November 21, 2018
Published in Action

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Bric is a US Army veteran and a passionate gamer. While in military service, he found gaming to be a way to connect with his friends all over the world. This blossomed into a fascination with the gaming culture and the experiences had while launching up a whole new title. He is fond of a variety of genres, which is reflected on his Twitch streams and on his Youtube channel. Find Bric on YouTube. Find Bric on Twitch.

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