I’ve never watched The Walking Dead. It doesn’t appeal to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my zombies. I’ve read the Zombie Survival Guide so many times it really needs rebinding, I do own a crowbar called ‘Vera’ and I thoroughly loved Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Conversely I have played The Escapists. It’s never something I have poured serious time into though when I have podcasts to listen to I’ll load it up and give it a blast. The Escapists has been reviewed previously (http://invisioncommunity.co.uk/2015/06/14/the-escapists-ps4-review/) though love for the game isn’t required for you to love this game. Yet the mechanics have similarity to the original so if you do not like it this game will not change your opinion.
So The Walking Dead iteration put you in the body of Rick Grimes (who does yell Carl, yes) waking up in hospital; which I assume is related to the TV show in some way. This level sets the controls for the game in a tutorial. General gameplay is much like The Escapists. You have a timeframe with meetings and meals to do in the day, with free time and a job to do. Rather than your objective being springing the joint, your objective is more related to the storyline with you collecting medical supplies and killing zombies. Fans of the series will recognise characters like Carl, Lori and Hershel and the levels are drawn out of the series in a rather sporadic order spanning from from Hershel’s farm to prison.
Here is where the mechanics cut the wheat from the chafe: If you didn’t like The Escapists, you will not like it any more with The Walking Dead attached. Much of the mechanics are drawn straight over from the original and it would not surprise me if people chide this game simply as a reskinning. This reskin causes some mechanics which were fine in prison to be out of place in a zombie apocalypse. A priority should not, for example, be doing laundry in the apocalypse, though this is a mechanic obviously dragged over which not performing will increase the zombie threat level to your stronghold. Some mechanics have been modified perfectly. The heat meter from The Escapists has been modified into the threat meter with a higher threat percentage making zombies stumble into your stronghold and requires a lot more attention than the heat meter ever did.
This is the biggest flaw and even though I say The Escapists fans will enjoy this the mechanics may be the caveat. The storage controls have been changed to confuse you. The hotbar is now essentially your inventory, with equipping items requiring highlighting and pressing E. Dropping items is right click and you will do this on accident as right click is also attack. Combat is also quite hit-or-miss (pardon the pun) with no lock-on brought from The Escapists; the difficulty also takes a huge spike from the tutorial and waltzing in thinking you’re David Haye will just get you pasted. Some of the mechanics are explained wrong or not at all. The threat meter, health and energy meter are just never explained in the tutorial. With at least these three vastly important items completely overlooked you will learn on the fly and it will be taught through many deaths.
At this point I have mostly bashed this game. Inherently there is nothing overtly bad about the game. It works. The game plays fine and the mechanics, while drawn straight across and may make no sense, all work. The threat level is a good mechanical turnover although not doing the laundry can somehow draw zombies as glanced over previously. You can still pilfer everyone’s trash and craft weapons out of them or sell them back like a devious dealer. The graphics look fine although they could always be better and appear to have had no updating since the original; but they look the part and fit the traditional Escapist’s style well. The follower concept also works well. You can recruit friends in the stronghold and equip them with weapons to help you fight, though they appear a little suicidal at times.
The best summary for this game is one I have said multiple times already. If you did not like The Escapists, you will not like this game. Even if you liked The Escapists to a vast degree that is not a guarantee that The Walking Dead model will appease your appetite.
The mechanics for The Escapists do not translate well into The Walking Dead motif. The game does work though if you can forgive yourself for making Rick wash dirty underwear to protect people from monsters. A little more time would have probably done this game some good and I would be giving it a better score than I will be giving it. This game gets a solid 3.0. Steam’s refund policy does allow people to try this game out. So if you liked The Escapists, give it a shot. But this game is as hit-or-miss as they come.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.