Overkill's The Walking Dead, the review of the video game inspired by the comic series

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Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
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Outside of its native comic book habitat, the brand The Walking Dead has experienced mixed fortunes. If you are reading this review with the interest of those who know the franchise, you will know without a doubt that if on the one hand the television series has the merit of having made known the creature of R to the masses, on the other hand, the show produced by AMC has struggled to maintain the same quality of its first seasons over time, losing much of the initial sequel along the way. In the videogame field, the fortunes have been more or less similar, starting with the famous adventure Telltale Games: After wowing with its first season, the last few episodes of Clementine's story were hit by the turmoil faced by the development team. Looking further, the situation does not have much to offer: in addition to a couple of titles for mobile devices there is in fact The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a survival horror that has unfortunately done nothing in particular to be remembered. For this variety of reasons, when Overkill's The Walking Dead was announced four years ago by the creators of payday, fans of the zombie-themed franchise have once again been able to hope for a video game that lives up to its fame: after a long wait, we can finally see if that expectation has been well placed.



Plot and characters

Despite being a game that sees its dynamics take place mostly online, Overkill's The Walking Dead makes an effort to present itself with a history which sees the usual group of survivors as the protagonist, settled in a field in the vicinity of Washington DC. Respecting the tradition of The Walking Dead, ours are called to defend themselves not only from the hordes of zombie that infest the area, but also by other human beings in turn gathered in groups and willing to take possession of their belongings. In the case of this game, the enemy faction we are dealing with is named "The Family", around which revolves a plot made up mainly of attacks and retaliation of various kinds between the two groups. As you progress through the game, however, you realize how the plot is actually just a pretext to propose the missions that we unlock by completing the previous ones, thus dismantling the expectations about that we had all created by looking at the trailer introductory characters. It is from this emblematic point of view that the aforementioned films are much more effective in establishing an empathic bond with the four protagonists than what is actually shown to us by Overkill's The Walking Dead. In spite of the trailers, the game does not care to mention the stories preceding the zombie apocalypse, or at least to introduce elements that can characterize the quartet in a significant way.



For the moment on the narrative front, therefore, we do not find anything memorable, and it is a shame precisely because it is a game dedicated to The Walking Dead: also considering the presence of Robert Kirkman on board, we would have expected more emphasis on this component to go beyond the banality of situations similar to those already seen in abundance between comics and television series. The hope is that the second season of Overkill's The Walking Dead can bring a breath of fresh air to the plot: we won't have to wait long to find out, since it will arrive by the end of November and will be included in the price of the base game. Returning to our four characters, their names therefore represent for now only an indication of as many classes, well known to those who know the genre: Aidan is the tank with the most health to be sent to the forefront of battles, Heather she is the silent ranger who can take down enemies silently with her crossbow (reminds you of anyone?), Grant is the specialized technician with the sniper rifle, and finally Maya it is the support you can rely on to get additional medkits when needed.

The gameplay

The missions of Overkill's The Walking Dead can be divided into two different types: those of defense, in which we must protect our own Anderson Camp from zombies and family, and those of attack in which we are instead the ones to make sorties in the structures of the adversaries. While the former generally finish in a scant twenty minutes, the latter can even exceed an hour in duration, depending on how things turn out. In these terms, the game knows no half measures, immediately proposing a very complicated mission even at the lowest level of difficulties. This is just one of the examples in which the design of Overkill's The Walking Dead proves unable to accompany the player through its dynamics, which in turn are limping in some fundamental aspects. In the same mission mentioned above, for example, an approach is encouraged stealth to avoid attracting zombies with noises, but at the moment of clashing with the members of the Family it offers no other possibilities than attacking with weapons drawn, hoping to do it as soon as possible, in order not to bring the noise indicator to the maximum level. The artificial intelligence of computer-controlled humans seems to have super sight and hearing, nullifying any attempt to silently approach enemies to eliminate them. It also does not seem to care about the possibility of attracting zombies with the use of weapons, thus making our efforts to remain silent useless.



Aside from a cutscene in the menus, the tutorial is also completely absent, thus making much of Overkill's The Walking Dead a mystery to uncover with your own hands. In fact, there is a whole management part to take into account, linked to the finding of materials necessary to strengthen the field through the five branches that are proposed to us. Likewise, the four characters can expand the number of weapons at their disposal, increasing levels and acquiring skills by collecting experience points. Some missions act as a barrier as they require a particular level, thus pushing the player to grind the previous ones to get the right level of advancement before facing them. Even when we step into the shoes of the chosen character, Overkill's The Walking Dead offers mixed sensations: if on the one hand the gunplay it is quite satisfactory, on the other hand the scarcity of ammunition forces us to often resort to close combat which is rather unconvincing. Whatever the weapon in our possession we find ourselves constantly pressing the mouse button to hit as many zombies as possible, dealing with a system that is a little too cumbersome and with the frustration of seeing the energy bar necessary to carry out the shots drop with speed.

Graphics and sound

Even without touching particularly high peaks, from a technical point of view Overkill's The Walking Dead seemed to us improved compared to what we had seen in the closed beta. The game gives its best in the composition of the models of protagonists and zombies, as well as the creation of internal environments where you can find messages left by people before they die, or other elements that can make the exploration a little less interesting. monotonous. The animations unfortunately don't prove to the same level, making some movements awkward or even unnatural due to a lack of "fitting". Whereas they don't exist dedicated servers but it is in every game one of the players to act as host, the game experience can vary significantly based on the connection status of whoever is connected together. Unfortunately, it often happens to see elements that teleport due to spikes lag, highlighting also in this aspect a lack of optimization of the dynamics that do not even provide for the migration of the host in case of disconnection of the latter. We also note a certain heaviness in the uploads, as well as some bugs that here and there undermine the overall experience. The sound is perhaps the aspect where Overkill's The Walking Dead convinces the most, proposing one colonna sonora suitable for the genre and a series of audio effects that make it very engaging to move between groups of zombies without attracting attention while the latter emit their characteristic cries.



Comment

Tested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price 49,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

6.0

Readers (8)

7.7

Your vote

At the conclusion of the review of Overkill's The Walking Dead we must say that in the moments in which the team manages to collaborate and the problems we have mentioned give a respite, the game manages to entertain. Despite the flaws Overkill's The Walking Dead can therefore exercise a certain charm on fans of the genre, to whom it is still difficult to recommend the new title of the creators of Payday at full price. Better to wait, or make sure you have at least one group of friends to play it with in case you want to proceed with the purchase now.

PRO

  • In a few moments you "breathe" the real The Walking Dead
  • There are some interesting insights into the gameplay
  • Those looking for a challenge will not be disappointed ...
AGAINST
  • ... but the difficulty is unbalanced
  • Marginal texture
  • There is still work to be done on design and optimization
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