As a fan of both mobile gaming and The Walking Dead, it’s easy to understand why I was excited for this game before I started playing it. Personally, I don’t believe zombies have outstayed their welcome in popular media, and I’m automatically drawn to any game that lets me explore The Walking Dead‘s world. Unfortunately, The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land is not very good. In fact, it’s one of the few games I outright hate. Read on to learn why I think the game is such a stinker.
The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land occupies that strange genre that can only be called: “Mobile”. It’s a mixture of base management and turn-based strategy missions. Each mission costs several units of a time-based resource, and both your base and survivors can be upgraded with additional resources, usually taken as loot or rewards from missions. It’s an incredibly familiar and stale setup, one that is identical in some places to myriad other mobile titles.
The story follows a group of
zombie walker-apocalypse survivors who escape Terminus (last seen in season 5 of TWD), and must work together to create a new base to survive. They quickly meet up with the ever-awesome Daryl Dixon, who serves as the voice of your tutorial. Despite only being in the game for a short time, the developers made sure to put Daryl’s highly recognisable face on as much of the promotional material as possible. The game barely takes further advantage of its AMC license either, although it does have a neat intro cinematic in the style of the series.
That’s really it for storyline. The gameplay is broken up into chapters, with some of them involving revisiting former locations from the TV series, and some of them exploring generic post-apocalyptic locations (military bases, road blocks, etc.) to find more survivors and loot. This quest system might be one of the only good things about the game, because it’s at least more than what similar games have.
So why do I hate this? Well, it mostly has to do with the rocky history that The Walking Dead has with video games. With the exceptions of the Telltale games, and one I have my eye on, there hasn’t been a good TWD game for either mobile or home platforms. Maybe Overkill can remedy that, but we’ll have to see. Considering how popular the series and graphic novels are, it’s astounding that the license holders are not putting in a little more effort; instead seeming content to shovel out generic, stale, and highly forgettable pieces of cash-in software. No Man’s Land is all of that.
Firstly, the story is weak. It focuses on random characters with no defining attributes beyond their classes, yet still expects me to be invested in them. Moving on, the music is repetitive, and the turn-based battles are unnecessarily slow-paced and boring. It requires a constant Internet connection, which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t frequently disconnecting, and it has extremely long load times. Finally, the graphics are terrible with poorly modeled and ugly characters scurrying around hideous landscapes, and a base that look like a low budget Balder’s Gate II clone. Yes, that’s an awfully specific comparison. The only thing No Man’s Land has going for it is that it makes it really easy to decide what to uninstall to free up space next.