REVIEW: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Episode 1: A New Day
|Game Name:||The Walking Dead|
|Platforms:||XBLA, PSN, PC, MAC, iOS|
|Genre(s):||Action-Adventure, Horror, Role Playing|
|Release Date:||April 25, 2012|
Telltale Games brings us the first in five episodes of their The Walking Dead series that will plunge players in the middle of Robert Kirkman’s zombified world. For the fans of the now-famous series on AMC, don’t expect the familiar faces you’ve grown accustomed to for the past two seasons. The game stays true to the comic book-like environment, and characters on the show will not appear in any of the game episodes save for Glenn and Hershel Green (who looks nothing like the televised version played by Scott Wilson).
Lee Everett is introduced as an almost calm natured man sitting in the back of a police vehicle, and initially gameplay drones on as it is highly conversation driven. Options pop up at the bottom of the screen with some possibilities that enable players to pick the direction they want to go, with limited time to actually execute that decision (otherwise a default of silence will be chosen for you). The only action thus far will allow you to look out of the window to focus on key elements. Suddenly a walker appears in the road, the car swerves and crashes, and Lee is knocked out. When he comes to, he realizes he’s in quite the predicament. You maneuver Lee across the crash scene and end up inside a home kitchen where you cleanly knock out a zombie and scoop up Clementine, your new ward in this zombie adventure.
From here, the action is limited to a walking pace similar to movement underwater (or the horrific slow-running in a nightmare), and the few dicey combat scenes consist of correctly obtaining a single object (whether it be screwdriver or axe), and giving the flesh hungry zombie a few whacks over the head. In some instances, a sequence of simply pressing the correct button-combination that is shown on-screen will do the trick to feign off any enemies. If you’re wanting a high-action shoot-em-up game, this will not be it. The Walking Dead cleverly promotes the integrity of comic book nostalgia in an apocalyptic type atmosphere while leaving the direction of the story completely up to the player.
Don’t expect to delve into an aggressive action packed gaming style, and although slower paced, The Walking Dead is pretty rewarding as you formulate and gain trust in Lee’s character through conversation, action, and attention to detail (did you glance at those photos along the darkened wall in the drug store hide-out? Find batteries for the silent radio?). Other characters in the game will be responsive and remember your kindness, your anger, or your loyalty, and even the way you react to others.
There will debatably be some clunky controller elements, (and no shortage of corny dialogue delivery), but overall we enjoyed this first episode. We like the approach of being a character driven game that harnesses in emotions vs. a “get in there and start shooting the hell out of things” type of action story.
There is no confirmed release date for The Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved For Help at this time, so enjoy the trailer for it in the meantime: