Rectify Gaming

Overkill’s The Walking Dead Review (PC)

Posted on November 21, 2018 by Ryan Welch

Listen to this Article:

Overkill's The Walking Dead Review (PC)
  • 5/10
    Overkill's The Walking Dead Review (PC) - 5/10


A repetitive zombie game without a soul.

In it’s long run, The Walking Dead has been filled with ups and downs.  But some of my favorite moments have come from the character-driven drama.  Yes, the bloody fights and survival are very cool. But I love seeing how characters react to harrowing ordeals.  I love seeing how they deal with the emotional despair of losing a loved one or trying to overcome what would typically be insurmountable conflicts.  I also love seeing the triumphant moments; happy moments in an otherwise bleak world.

For a while, the marketing behind Overkill’s The Walking Dead gave me something that I was dying to see in a zombie game.  I wanted characters with backstories. I wanted characters that I can root for. Characters that I will care about and work my hardest to protect.  I haven’t cared for a character in a zombie game since Left 4 Dead and the Resident Evil series, so the character trailers for The Walking Dead gave me a sense of hope that I will finally get a proper Walking Dead game with character development.  Unfortunately, characterization is one of the many problems plaguing gamers who have played this game.

Let’s get some of the positives out of the way.  The core concept behind TWD is teamwork and building a civilization amongst a world gone to hell.  At the start, you have 4 characters to choose from. You know these characters from the trailer, and each of them plays a role that you are most likely familiar with.  Tanks have more health, medics have health packs to drop, etc, etc, etc. When teaming with other players, you are not limited to one role. You could potentially have multiple tanks in any given scenario.  

You would think that there would be more character development.  But in reality, the characters and story are pretty weak. We were teased with the character videos.  These characters seemed interesting, and I was hoping for more backstory and how it motivates them to survive.  But Overkill’s TWD doesn’t give us any more opportunities to learn and care about these characters. The story takes a backseat to the gameplay, which itself needs a lot of work.  

Each level is pretty linear, and you have specific tasks to perform.  Find items or supplies is the main objective in most of the missions. In others, you must deal with a faction called the Family, which, to be honest, are pretty generic jerks hell-bent on ruining your settlement.  There are RPG elements where you can improve your character’s skills set and improve your settlement. In theory, these gameplay mechanics fit well with the genre.

But man, is it repetitive.  You need specific items to upgrade your settlement.  Which means you need to repeat missions to get the necessary amount.  It’s not like you can replay a mission and choose different pathways. You follow the same steps and deal with the same situations.  If you get a competent crew, then you can rush through these missions with no issues. But that’s only if you get a competent crew. If it’s strangers, best of luck, because the rumors are true – there are no voice chat options in the game itself.  You must use Discord or some other outside service to communicate. Talk about dropping the ball on that one. And make sure you have friends playing with you. Otherwise, you will wait an eternity for randoms to join your match.

While the missions are extremely repetitive, there are moments when you need to strategize to make it out alive.  One mechanic I do like is the noise meter. You have the choice to go through a level, guns blazing. But the more noise you make, the more walkers come your way.  Stealth isn’t too challenging in most of these levels. But the frustrating aspect of it comes when you have members of the Family attacking you. In theory, the walkers should attack the Family as well as you, right?  Well, it isn’t exactly the case. The Family can make as much noise as they want, and you are stuck fending off the horde of the undead. Technically speaking, the enemy AI is not the best.

I am by no means a developer.  I completely understand that development takes time, money, and resources.  It is not an easy task. But I just wish that someone would have the resources and ability to make a proper Open World zombie game.  Overkill’s TWD has pieces that could potentially be fun. Washington DC is a very cool city, and it would be so much fun to sneak and run through the city streets and find supplies naturally.  In fact, the levels and character models look pretty solid in Overkill’s TWD. It’s unfortunate that the game couldn’t be more than it already is. I believe a model like Fallout 4 would fit incredibly well in the Walking Dead universe.  A vast open world where you search houses and cities to survive, then find a place of your choosing to use resources to build of a settlement. Give the characters and enemies some backstory through notes or audio logs. The formula is out there, but it would take a vast amount of resources and developers to pull it off.

As is, Overkill’s The Walking Dead is a zombie game without a soul.  There are aspects that have potential, but the product right now is not enjoyable.  The repetition kills the experience, along with technical moments that keep you from being fully immersed.  Now, I do have some hope for Overkill’s TWD, especially with the game coming to consoles early next year. There is some time to patch bugs, fix enemy AI, add voice chat, and add new content.  Time will tell. But as is, this may not be the Walking Dead game you are looking for.


Note: The editorial team received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.

Share Everywhere!