If there’s any franchise more perfect for video games than The Walking Dead, we haven’t found it yet. With a deep vein of history to draw from, constantly-evolving television series and comic series still going strong, and a passionate fanbase, the zombie thriller has never felt more alive. That said, The Walking Dead has had a mixed history when it comes to games. Telltale’s adventure series was previously the high point, but Scopely’s The Walking Dead: Road to Survival takes the crown with strategic combat, meaningful choices and complex base building gameplay.
Road to Survival begins by introducing its core cast of survivors in a fast-paced, thrilling introduction. It immediately becomes clear that the gritty tone of the comics has been maintained for the game, and in fact, that connection to the series is one of the game’s major calling cards. Walking Dead writer Jay Bonansinga created the story of Road to Survival to reflect the same uncompromising violence and shades-of-grey moral choices that permeate the best scenes of both the comics and the television series. Even the game’s icon – a comic-tinged image of Michonne with her trademark katana – makes it clear that this is a game for the fans.
That’s not to say that the game is prohibitive to new fans, though. In fact, Road to Survival might be the best jumping-on point if you’re looking to get into the world of The Walking Dead. By introducing a whole new cast of characters, Scopely has opened the door for newcomers to dip their toes into the nuanced world and learn the lore from the ground up.
Players are quickly thrust into the action, with a series of brutal battles and moral choices kicking off the campaign. You’ll quickly learn the basics of battle; each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, and these must be exploited intelligently in order to deal critical blows to your enemies, who come in both walker and human form. Characters also have ultra-powerful special moves that can be unleashed under the right circumstances, but because these moves take a while to power up, you’ll have to be smart about deploying them.
Following your introduction to the battle and conversation systems, you’ll be introduced to the game’s final pillar – base building. By building up your town, you’ll enable more survivors to enter your town, and create the means of strengthening your existing party. The ways that the game’s various systems feed into one another are intelligently crafted and serve to make each part of the game feel meaningful.
Road to Survival’s strength lies not just in its diversity, but in its sense of purpose. Each moral choice feels truly meaningful, and each disparate gameplay element fits neatly into the tapestry woven by Scopely, propelling you deeper into the violent world of The Walking Dead.