Overkill’s The Walking Dead Closed Beta Impressions
The latest gaming title to bear the mark of The Walking Dead is set to release next month, as Overkill’s The Walking Dead hopes to succeed where many have failed. As the first Closed Beta event draws to a close, we take a look back at a weekend of zombie slaying and survivor saving.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead is a first-person shooter set in the increasingly popular world of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Following a similar format to Overkill’s hugely popular Payday franchise, players form teams and embark on increasingly difficult missions with varying objectives.
Before each mission, players can choose a custom loadout centered around characters of specific classes, which include Tank, Support, Tactician and Scout. While seemingly shallow on the surface, the classes actually play a vital role in the potential success of a mission. Aidan, the current primary Tank class, has increased health, with weapons and equipment suited for front of the pack combat, while Maya, provides a mobile medkit station and increased health on revive. Having one of each class is not a requirement, but carefully choosing your teams perks and abilities together greatly increases the chances of victory.
During each mission, your team will be given a set of objectives. The Closed Beta only featured two main missions, one of which was to defend your camp from an onslaught of walkers and the other to retrieve water filtering equipment stolen by a group of bandits. The defensive missions typically had a single goal of surviving while eliminating anything attacking the camp. While basic, these missions provide adrenaline-fueled action sequences that test your ability to run and gun to the maximum. Restoring blockades with boards, laying out traps and defensive tools, all while being attacked by bandits or walkers proves to be quite the change from the more traditional missions.
The other style of mission is much more tactical, rewarding strategic play with easier progression. Each character comes with a melee weapon and two main firearms, both of which can have silencers equipped depending on the weapon type. However, silencers are very limited. They will break after a short time, so you and your team will need to make a judgement call sooner or later. Do you keep sneaking through, attracting less walkers, or is it time to go loud?
Throughout the mission, you’ll encounter various obstacles in your path. These can be large groups of walkers, camps of enemy bandits, traps and dynamic objectives that changed each time you play through the mission. Although it was only a single mission, two of our editors played through over nine hours of the Closed Beta and had a blast the entire way.
Alongside the main mission objective, other tasks will demand your attention. Lost survivors, gathering materials so you can ensure your camp eats and has everything it needs, and using specific tools to open Weapon Crates and Mod Boxes are just some of the tasks you can find. Each attempt of the mission was challenging and rewarding.
Outside of running, or carefully walking, through various zombie infested missions, there’s plenty of activities to do during the downtime. Overkill’s The Walking Dead embraces features from past Walking Daed games and executes them in rewarding fashion. During missions, you will often find lost survivors, struggling to survive in a zombie infested environment. If you and your team manage to escort them to safety, you can recruit them as a member of your own personal camp.
From here, you can assign them to work on various stations that provide buffs for specific classes or characters, such as faster health regeneration or faster reviving, and they can also be sent out on Survivor Missions. These are automated missions with chances of success based on the levels and experience of the survivors you send. While offering potentially great rewards, they can also fail, and that’s never good.
Anderson Camp is your central hub of operations. This is where you can prepare for missions ahead, purchasing new weapons and modifications, collecting bounties with challenging objectives, or just chatting with the various stragglers you’ve encountered on your travels. Your camp is unique to your character, although friends can also visit and complete their own objectives and bounties at the same time. Various facilities throughout Anderson Camp provide further buffs and unlocks as you continue to progress.
The Closed Beta event this past weekend was technically sound. A few minor matchmaking problems and some issues loading in and out of camp were about the only problems we encountered. The gun combat needs a bit of tweaking, with some of the weapons lacking any impact or oomph, and the AI is quite poor. Very similar to that of Payday, but nothing that can’t be solved prior to release.
On it’s surface, Overkill’s The Walking Dead is the game we hoped it would be. The Walking Dead franchise is perfectly suited for a thriving video-game industry, but outside of the mobile gaming space, we seldom see it executed well. While the Closed Beta did suffer from a few minor problems, there’s nothing a few patches and updates can’t fix.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead launches for PC on November 6.