- Format: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PC
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Team 17
- Developer: Mouldy Toof Studios
- Players: 1
- Site: https://www.team17.com/games/the-escapists-the-walking-dead/
Game supplied by publisher
The Escapists was an enjoyable prison escape romp, where you had to craft items to aid your escape from a selection of prisons. This new tie-in with Robert Kirkman’s seminal graphic novel and the very popular TV series The Walking Dead, set in a post apocalyptic world overrun with zombies, is a strange combination; but is it a killer combination like Rick Grimes and Michonne, or is it a shambling corpse that the series is renowned for?
The game uses five iconic settings from the graphic novels, including the Harrison Memorial Hospital, the Greene Family Farm, Merriweather Correctional Facility, Woodbury and Alexandria. Instead of trying to escape though, you have to perform various tasks and daily chores throughout each day to keep team morale high, and help reduce the chances of zombies breaking through into your reasonably safe abode. Now this doesn’t sound too exciting (with chores including cleaning bloodstained clothing in the laundry, and button mashing to build up your strength in the gym), and it’s certainly not as action packed as the TV series. Combat is very hit and miss, mostly miss, and it’s best if you keep your distance from the walkers, as characters can very quickly be taken out by even one shambling corpse. When you’re not taking part in your daily routine, there are main objectives to complete, such as clearing out Hershel’s barn on the farm, or locating the generator in the prison. Once completed you move on to the next level. There are also lots of side quests that other characters offer you, although most of the time these are simple fetch missions that offer small amounts of cash on completion. Thankfully these are optional, as they are rather dull in comparison to the main objectives.
As you explore the levels there are collectable comics to find, and hidden areas that will give you useful items. While you’re out exploring you can take other survivors with you to help in case you get caught in a sticky situation. Well-liked characters like Hershel, Michonne and Glenn are all on hand to help, but just be aware that they can die if they get taken down by the undead, and your group can be significantly reduced in size if you don’t help them out or revive them. As you explore there are drawers and backpacks to sift through for items you can use to craft weapons, items or outfits for the survivors. These are crucial to get through the levels in one piece and, like the original Escapists, crafting plays a big part in the game. Unfortunately it can still be a bit of a guessing game as to which items you need to combine to create what, although there are crafting ‘recipe’ sheets lying around the level to help you get the correct combination of items while you’re out scavenging.
As in the original game, your characters’ speed, intelligence and strength stats can be improved by doing things like taking Rick to the gym or reading books. Building up these stats helps you run away from the groaning hordes, or gives you the strength to attack them. Intellect allows you to craft certain items. Doing too much can wear him out however, so you really need to make sure you are fed and take regular naps to keep Rick’s energy levels high. It’s all about time management and sticking to a routine, all while trying to complete objectives, and keeping your fellow survivors happy.
Fans of The Escapists and The Walking Dead will enjoy this collaboration, although there are still a few niggles that are prevalent from the original Escapists. Crafting can be a bit of a guessing game, and combat is frustratingly poor, considering the survival gameplay. The side quests are also bland fetch quests that get a tad boring after a while, and the daily routine you have to adhere to may not appeal to everyone. However anyone itching to play around in the world of The Walking Dead, can do a lot worse than look at this game. The iconic locations of the series are well depicted in a nostalgic (but cute) 8-bit sprite graphical style, and there’s a lot of fun to be had trying to survive in this version of the post apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead.