The Walking Dead: The Game – Episode 1: A New Day Review
Genre: Action, Adventure, Point and Click, RPG, Stratergy
What we liked
What we didn't
The dead come to life on the interactive format.
The Walking Dead has always been popular among comic book readers but it became hot property since the debut of the very impressive TV show in 2010, and as with any popular franchise a video game adaption is never too far behind. The zombie/survival horror genre is slowly filling up with titles and finding a game that truly stands out in it is getting harder with each one. Many expected The Walking Dead to be similar to an early Resident Evil game or Left 4 Dead. Instead creator Robert Kirkman elected to go down a completely different route and chose developer TellTail Games to bring his dead world back to life on the interactive screen.
TellTail Games’s last two big releases were the impressive Back to the Future: The Game and the less impressive Jurassic Park: The Game, both of which are played out and released in episodic fashion. With expectation high, the pressure was on this unique developer to provide a hugely entertaining game which could stand out against others in its genre and please the millions of fans devoted to this ongoing saga. Fortunately everyone will be pleased.
TellTail Games have taken Robert Kirkman’s story and put their own unique twist on it by having completely new characters not seen in the comics to date, nor the TV show, giving them their own original story to tell. Fans dont need to worry though, characters from the comic will appear in upcoming episodes of the game. Presented in a shell shading comic book style artwork, the game plays in the exact same way as the successful Back to the Future game, allowing players to control your character with the left analog stick while the right analog stick controls a reticle to represent the characters view and shows you what the protagonist can interact with.
Episode 1 : A New Day begins as the zombie apocalypse starts. Your character Lee Everett has been arrested for allegedly killing a US state senator who was sleeping with his wife. Whist being escorted out of Atlanta by police to his allocated prison, the squad car he is in crashes leaving him stranded in the woods, but he is not alone! Every decision you make from here on out is going to change how the story unfolds.
As with Back to the Future, you will need to interact with many other characters throughout the story in order to survive. This is done by having players choose from 4 different responses assigned to the 4 buttons on your controller, but beware – each answer has a consequence. Characters will remember your answers and will know if you’re lying at a later point in the story. According to TellTail, the way other characters precieve Lee will drastically change the way the game plays out in future episodes. Friendships can really thrive in Lee’s situation and there are many conversations to be had with an ever growing number of characters. There are still action sequences though. The game would not be a true Walking Dead adaption without a good helping of violence and gore, something which TellTail don’t hold back on. Please note using a hammer to smash in a zombie’s skull is VERY satisfying. True to the franchise though, action sequences are few and far between, but the tension is constant and you are never truly safe.
With the stunning visuals, the clever dialog and impressive voice acting it’s easy to forget you are constantly under threat from Walkers and TellTail Games like to remind you by giving you the ‘luxury of choice’. In several story points you have to chose between two characters, one will live, the other is Zombie Chow. This is not as easy as it sounds! Do you save the person with a gun who knows how to use it or do you save someone’s young son? Once you have made your choice the rest of the game plays out with that decision. Fortunately TellTail Games have given you 3 different save slots so you can play each episode exploring all the options.
What’s truly incredible with this downloadable game is the emotional attachment you get to each of the characters. The first episode can be completed in 2 to 3 hours and in that short amount of time I became deeply invested in Lee’s well being and the relationships he is forming. No matter how many times you play through the episode the first time you experience the horrible decisions and difficult questions will create Lee in your image. After completing the chapter, you will spend hours discussing your reasons as to why you saved who you saved and argue that point to the death with others that have done the opposite decision.
Episode 1: A New Day is a fantastic start for this deep and engrossing game and if Episode 2: Starved for Help keeps up the tension, brings the difficult choices and more interesting characters with conflicts, we are looking at a very special and unique game.
Check back here for the review for the next episode as soon as its released.