The Walking Dead – Episode 1: A New Day

By: on April 28, 2012

[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Telltale Games” publishers=”” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=””]

Starting out in comic books and developing into a hit television series and now game, The Walking Dead has become a worldwide sensation. After the popularity of the first season, it was obvious some kind of game was going to get made. When working with a licensed property it is easy to tie it to a genre or gameplay mechanic that is obvious. A movie about street racers might have a licensed game that involved car racing. A show about zombies might have the player shooting down the zombie hordes. The Walking Dead’s developer, Telltale Games, did not take the easy route by having the players put the zombies through bullet hell. They wanted to stay true to the source material which is less about zombie killing and more about what separates humanity from the dead. Does Telltale do The Walking Dead justice while keeping it fun or are we all stuck with yet another confusing licensed property?

Telltale has made a name for itself by bringing back the Adventure point and click genre from the dead much like the zombies in The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead game is a point and click adventure above all else. A majority of the time will be spent wandering environments, finding items, and talking to fellow survivors. Dialog has a timer on it forcing you to respond as close as you would in a normal conversation because in the world of The Walking Dead, hesitation and no response says something about a person. The action scenes such as killing a zombie or holding up a barricade tend to be time based too causing a sense of urgency. The scenes usually require you to move the pointer to a point and press a button within a couple seconds or tragedy happens.

The Walking Dead game is based on the comic and it’s events. It follows a different group of survivors than those that Rick has been leading. The game’s story also starts at the beginning of the outbreak rather than after Rick wakes up from his coma. That is not to say that players won’t run into familiar characters along the way as the characters from comics plot were trying to survive before Rick came along. Players will view the world of The Walking Dead through the eyes of Lee Everett, a man convicted for murder and on his way to prison when the zombie breakout literally breaks him out of police custody. While on the different side of the law than Rick, Lee is every bit as engaging as a lead character as he himself faces a world where the dead walk.

Players are left with a moral dilemma when they encounter fellow survivors..Do you hide Lee’s past due to fear of not being trusted or are you honest and hope for the best? It’s these kind of choices that define the players experience. Two survivors are being attacked, who do you save? Decisions will shape the narrative of The Walking Dead and Lee’s relationship with his fellow survivors. With high quality writing and voice acting, playing the game feels like you are living through the experience with these people and these decisions will plague the conscience of the player. Luckily there are multiple save slots, so it is real easy to go back and make different choices and have different versions ready for the next episode.

Score: 9/10

The Walking Dead exceptionally showcases how great storytelling, visuals, audio, and gameplay can come together and bring a wonderful experience for the player. Even those not fans of the genre of game can get sucked into playing just to progress the story. As for fans of the comics or tv show, The Walking Dead is a must buy.

About Brandon Koch

I write stuff. I play stuff. I code stuff.