Overkill’s The Walking Dead Closed Beta Impressions – Zombie Survival 101

Noisy Pixel had the opportunity to participate in the closed beta for Overkill’s The Walking Dead, a cooperative survival game that was announced in 2014. Developed by the team behind Payday 2, the game offers various modes and weapon loadouts as well as upgrades to bases and characters.

Noisy Pixel’s Victor and Ash decided to play the game together to see if they could survive a zombie apocalypse together.

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Victor: Hey, Ash. So we played about three hours of the Overkill’s The Walking Dead Closed Public Beta, from the developers of Payday 2. An online multiplayer game that focuses on teamwork, objectives, and zombies. During our time we played two missions. One was a “defend the base” and the other was a “story centered objective”. What were your initial thoughts on the first mission?

Ash: At first, I thought this mode was fun, but also felt like the defense options of the camp could have been better designed. For example, in this mode, all we had was barbed wire to lay on the floor, which slowed the zombies down, but I would have liked to experiment more with other traps or additional blockades. However, this might be something introduced later on in the game.

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Victor: Yeah I definitely thought the game had laid down the basics needed for a defensive game mode but plenty more could have been done in terms of promoting teamwork. I thought that if the game could focus more on communication like Payday 2 in the sense that it needs more than what was in the game such as, similar looking icons and the few opportunities for crafting and character abilities. Such as when I put down a medical pack that others can heal themselves with, it seemed no one was aware of it. Requiring the need for communication instead of supplementing it.

Ash: Yes, I would have loved to know when you threw those down. Being in closed beta I can forgive the lack of team chat, but an indication would have been nice. What I did enjoy, even though my rage would suggest otherwise at the time, was the difficulty of the match. It wasn’t until all of us worked together that we completed the mission. This game requires teamwork from all four players, especially for this mode, but let’s talk about the second mission where you had to be a little stealth. What did you think?

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Victor: We had the unfortunate luck of having teammates that ran into every bear trap and noisemakers which attracted zombies. So, I’m going to focus on the noticeable absence of clear direction. I felt that after walking into two or three dead ends and being told we needed items we didn’t have, it’s up to exploring to find another way to complete objectives.

Ash: I might think differently with you here, I kind of enjoyed that, but I do agree that we needed better teammates. I liked that there were multiple paths to a goal and a clear lack of ammunition lying around the environment. Each character has a different skill such as picking locks or cutting wires that can come in handy during the mission, which I also thought was a fun idea. However, the biggest downfall for this mode was the idiotic human AI. Once you are spotted, every enemy in the area starts firing their gun which alerts the zombie hordes to the area. It’s like the enemies don’t understand that making noise calls walkers, which annoys me and I hope they find a better way to roll these enemies out when the game releases in the future.

Victor: The different character abilities are a skill that players can use to make the missions easier but without a clear way to replenish those abilities the map turns into a maze which may or may not go into a path you didn’t want. Which could play into the tense nature of a zombie game but just makes for an experience that feels a bit of an afterthought, like the crummy AI. Just thinking that the game needs a more balanced take on indicators and player interaction to not have the player sitting around or mindlessly popping shots at enemies without a plan.

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Ash: I see what you’re saying. After I used my lockpick I didn’t get another one until the very end of the level, but during that time I passed multiple locks that I wish I had a tool for. So pretty much, my character was useless. In the end, I can’t deny that I was having fun at some parts, but the game needs a little more balance to be on the level that Payday 2 is on in terms of cooperative gameplay. I’d also like to invest more in the camp building systems of the game and see how those work. What are your final thoughts?

Victor: The game is a strong initial take on a zombie survival mixed with mechanics from Payday 2. If I had to pinpoint a couple of things that should be addressed to make me stick with the game would be improved UI and also things like sound feedback to downed players and other high priority details around the map. Overall, I do enjoy the concept that is here but would really like to see more.


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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.