Originally planned for 2016, Overkill's The Walking Dead waited for 2018 to see the day on our machines. The prospect of a co-op shooter in the world of Robert Kirkman's famous comic and developed by the creators of Payday: The Heist was enough to spark interest. But at a time when a Left 4 Dead still has its popularity rating, what will be the title of Starbreeze?
Both evacuate from the outset the comparison, which unfortunately Overkill's The Walking Dead can only suffer: if you were expecting a modernized Left 4 Dead 2, think again . If the game is well divided into scripted missions spread over a map and it is to progress by fulfilling a few objectives, philosophy and feeling are very far from the title of Valve.
MISSION (S) SURVIVAL
The principle of the game is quite simple. You can take orders at the start of 4 different characters, each with a specific class. You will find sniper, doctor, scout and tank and will have to fulfill different missions to stand up to your main antagonist: the Family. Kind of local bandits, Family members are like you and are trying to survive the zombie apocalypse in the ruins of Washington DC. But accomplishing missions is not just a pretext to learn more about history, which does justice to the world of comics rather well. Indeed, from their success depends the harvest of resources, intended to improve your characters and your camp, a sort of central hub in which you can manage many aspects of your protagonists.
Indeed, each character class has a specific skill tree. The healer can put ground care kits, while the scout can locate traps and other interactive objects in the universe. To boost these skills and unlock new ones, you will first need to unlock different elements of your side.. The latter also has a "talent tree", divided into several subcategories. With the exception of the main branch of the tree, which guarantees access to new areas of play, and therefore to new missions, the other sections of the camp are used to unlock and improve the trees inherent to the different classes . All of these accesses have a cost, so it will be necessary to repeat the same missions in order to progress.
The characters all have a level of experience that grows as the missions succeed each other. Leveling provides as much access to superior skills as to increasing your strength and the power of your equipment, ultimately allowing you to access other levels of difficulty for each mission without suffering too much. The interdependence between the management of the camp and the need to go to the front to collect resources is rather well suited to the world of The Walking Dead, but in fact, the title of Overkill is more like intensive farming than a survival game thrilling, especially in the first 10 hours of play. The progression of characters is particularly slow, slowing access to the greater difficulty to which are naturally backed the most interesting rewards.
Note that it will also be possible to save survivors during certain missions. They will then be able to join your camp and serve you as a labor force, whether to go on an expedition or simply work to improve the clinic of your base, for example, to give you a health bonus. This will require you to demonstrate a little micro-management, as additional survivors are as many mouths to feed and increased maintenance costs. If you fail to provide for all, morale will be at half while high morale guarantees some bonuses to your character.
A SLOW AND UNREWARDING PROGRESSION
The slow progression of the characters would not be particularly disabling if the missions to repeat were more exciting. If you set aside horde-type events that require you to fend off Family members or zombies to prevent them from dropping your camp, scripted missions take about 30 to 40 minutes to complete . During your journey, you will be required to complete small progress objectives. Find a handle to activate a freight elevator or gasoline to start a generator, few are really interesting taskswith the exception of a few requiring real cooperation. Note however that despite its multiplayer optics, there is currently no voice chat integrated, which severely limit collaboration when you play pick-up. As for the solitary players, we can only recommend that they avoid going solo in the different missions, the game being clearly cut for the multi and adapting only little difficulty to solo escapades.
The redundancy of the start of the game will naturally invite you to focus only on the progression of a single character, not necessarily wanting to repeat again and again the same missions to let each protagonist progress in experience. This approach may be problematic because if it is possible to take part in a group consisting entirely of Tanks, for example, the complementarity of the group is essential to the proper conduct of an expedition. Thus, either you will leave with a handicap, or you will have to farm the experience of the other classes to be able to go on mission in all circumstances.
A CONCEPT RELATED TO NOISE THAT FRUSTRATES BY ITS APPLICATION
The whole game is based on a mechanical rather well integrated into the world of Robert Kirkman: noise. In fact, when you go into a trap or use your firearm, a decibel gauge fills up. Reaching a certain threshold (on 3) of noise triggers the arrival of a horde that will hold the dragée high to your group of survivors. The idea, which constantly calls for caution, would be rather welcome if the mechanics of infiltration were better refined. While it is possible to divert the attention of zombies or to execute them discreetly, the case is very different from the human NPCs, all hostile, and whose particularly piercing view will detect you even well concealed. In addition, they are not particularly prone to discretion and do not hesitate to shoot at sight. The problem is that the sound gauge is impacted, and the zombies are not necessarily attracted by the opponent, but rather by you. As far as we know, there is no good way to use the hordes for the benefit of the allies. The best way, not to make matters worse, is to use the crossbow or melee to kill the opponent without making a sound of thunder.
The use of melee is central in Overkill's The Walking Dead. The noise meter being your main enemy, getting in touch with the zombies without unsheathing your weapon is definitely the best thing to do. Unfortunately, where a Dying Light shone through head-to-head fighting, The Walking Dead fails to instill good feelings. To overcome dead people, just click in a loop, wait for your endurance gauge to regenerate and start again until the death of the last enemy. The repetitiveness of the action is all the more problematic as the sensations are the same, or almost, regardless of the weapon equipped. Whether you are equipped with a stick, an ax or an ax, the feeling of always carrying the same intensity of blows is omnipresent, removing the clashes much of their interest.
If one or two zombies will not be a problem for the players, a horde will become a lot more problematic and you'll be hit quickly if you're not careful. In this case, you will have to wait until one of your teammates comes to save you. In the absence of a partner, you will have to wait a few minutes before reappearing on the map. If all your companions fall in the field of honor, it is the game over and the need to resume the mission from the beginning. So, of course, we can rejoice that the zombies are a real threat, but the absence of shivers in hand-to-hand combat and the relative softness of the clashes in the heart of long and repetitive missions are all elements making progress difficult.
Technically, things are not looking good for the moment. In addition to a matchmaking not really relevant, we had many disconnections and a few pure crashes of the game throughout our test session, and this on two different machines. And to say that to undergo a disconnection a few cables from the end of a difficult mission of half an hour, and lose the associated progression is quite annoying . The loading times, meanwhile, are terribly long and will come quickly after your patience. On the visual side, however, the game is pretty and enjoys a rather neat atmosphere.
POTENTIAL TOO LONG TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES
So, certainly, the game has things to defend. If you have the chance to go on a mission with friends in voice, the title will take another dimension and could even guarantee you some moments of satisfaction, especially when a mission was held in silence or almost. Some pick up games, when everyone was doing their job and always trying to communicate, were really rewarding. Define upstream which guard to eliminate discreetly and see the whole group deploying to perform 4 simultaneous executions in the largest silences works rather well, even more in the highest difficulty levels. The different classes to embody are perfectly complementary and the missions of the first season (the game bringing content over time) guarantee a certain diversity in the environments and the way of understanding objectives. The title has also managed to create a good interdependence between the camp, the evolution of characters and exploration, even if the progression curve should be a little less abrupt, not to discourage players to persevere in the adventure. Because finally strive for hours to repeat the missions in a loop to finally take pleasure in the highest levels of difficulty may discourage more than one.