Episode 1 “A New Day” Review
Telltale Games newest endeavor into the zombie apocalypse starts with the much beloved The Walking Dead comic book series. I only say that because the “game” feels much more like the book than the TV series of the same name. The Walking Dead Game puts you in the shoes of Lee, a man who you first meet in the back of a police squad car. After some zombie murdering and escaping from said zombies, Lee meets your soon to be favorite companion, Clementine. Together with Clem you’ll meet plenty of different people while making tough decisions in order to survive.
The Walking Dead has a nostalgic old LucasArts adventure game feel. Of course the graphics are much improved with cell shaded art, but you still search for clues around your character with a large translucent D-Pad looking pointer. With the pointer you can direct your character to start conversation, pick up objects, or just observe the environment around him. In combat scenarios the game relies on quick-time events and locating weak points on enemies followed by prompted actions. It of course doesn’t allow twitch reflex gameplay, but The Walking Dead‘s strength isn’t in the combat system, it lies in the conversations and interactions with other survivors. Each conversation prompts 4 timed options to choose from, with silence also being an option. Unlike Bioware’s famous morality choices, what you choose isn’t between good or bad, it determines how others perceive you. Do they think you’re honest or do they trust you? They also remember what you do when the going get’s tough and who you tend to side with during confrontation. In most conversations in Episode 1, no decision besides choosing to go out at night made a huge impact. But choose with caution, decisions you make in Ep. 1 will bleed over into the upcoming episodes. Of course there are life altering decisions but I’m not going to spoil any of those moments for you. I would suggest though, to speak to Clementine in an honest and nice manner, she is a bright and intelligent young girl who’s a great companion and will surprise you with many of her actions. Do not let her down.
I expected Telltale Games to make The Walking Dead in black in white much like the comic book, but I’m glad they decided to go with the color cell shaded design. The facial animations combined with superb voice acting makes each conversation feel genuine and gives each person true character. Action sequences are filled with suspense and tough choices. The short time you have to choose responses during conversations also add a little stress to the environment.
The Walking Dead Game Episode 1 is a fantastic beginning to the 5 part series. Unlike the comic book and even the television series, these characters are so genuine that I grew to have emotional attachments to some of them. I don’t really care when certain characters get killed off in the book or TV series, but I can’t imagine playing The Walking Dead without Clementine by my side. Decisions I would make “in real” life, such as let people die aren’t options. Being forced to do something may be more true to life than I may think. Because it is possible to finish Episode 1 in one sitting under 3 hours, you can change your choices in preparation for later episodes making replayability extremely high. I’ve completed Ep. 1 myself 3 times, making the third playthrough what I think would be the best and most successful choices for the upcoming Episode 2.
The Walking Dead Game from Telltale Games is available on PSN for $4.99 per episode (all 5 episodes available for $19.99) and XBLA for 400 Microsoft Points. Fans of The Walking Dead series and old Adventure games should hop on this now. The Walking Dead is a solid arcade title with deep character development and a strong story. It’s well worth the price of admission and should be on everyone’s radar soon.
We also have zombie comic book reviews.