[Amanda Dyar checks in with her take on the first installment of Telltale Games' Walking Dead video game series.]
In case you’ve been too busy building your zombie apocalypse fallout shelter, AMC’s The Walking Dead has become one of television’s biggest shows over the last two years by offering a different take on the already popular comic book series of the same name. The Walking Dead follows the story of a group of survivors fighting their way through a zombie outbreak under the leadership of Sheriff Rick Grimes. Now, Telltale Games is releasing an episodic horror adventure game that will act as a prequel to the comic series. The first installment, subtitled A New Day, was released on April 27; a new episode of the five-part series will be released each month through August.
In the game, you’ll play as Lee Everett, a troubled man who is being carted off to jail when the story begins. When the squad car collides with a zombie in the road, Lee must find his way out of the wreckage – and out of his handcuffs – before he is eaten alive. Lee manages to slip out of the cuffs and narrowly avoid a carnivorous horde of walking corpses by climbing over a fence and landing in a backyard, where he meets a little girl named Clementine. The two then set off together to look for a safe place to hold out. This game is all about storyline and it features a great one, from the action-packed beginning to the dramatic ending.
Gameplay in The Walking Dead is almost like an elaborate and elongated cutscene. You can walk around small areas, interacting with objects and finding useful items to help you solve puzzles, and you can talk to the other characters. When prompted, you will quickly have to choose responses to the game’s dialogue, and many of the choices you make will have a direct impact on the storyline, either immediately or in future episodes. Combat in the game is broken into button-mashing mini-games that will ask you to aim and attack something quickly, mash buttons rapidly or in sequence, or enter some similar type of command. The Walking Dead doesn’t feature the most exciting gameplay around, but it does allow you to focus more on the game’s excellent storyline.
The first installment features a top-notch voiceover with many great voice actors coming together to produce a totally immersive experience. The game’s music and sound effects keep you focused on the task at hand. These are some of the best graphics available in a downloadable title, as the game opts for the bright, vibrant colors that can only be achieved through cel-shaded graphics. Rounding out an excellent presentation are some handy menus that make accessing any episode of the game as easy as a click of a button from the main menu.
The Walking Dead — Episode One: A New Day is an excellent game whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a casual player who happens to enjoy a good zombie story. You won’t find a better storyline for a zombie video game, period. And with four more episodes due out over the summer, this is a game that should continue to get better and better with each release. Fans of the popular franchise will not only appreciate seeing the first moments of the outbreak unfold, but they will also enjoy meeting many of the characters from the comics, including Glenn and Herschel. If you’ve ever enjoyed The Walking Dead in any format or simply have a passion for zombies, do not hesitate to buy this game!
Game Rating: 5/5
Release Date: April 27, 2012
Publisher : Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PlayStation 3, PC & Mac
Amanda Dyar had a passion for writing from an early age. She started her writing journey as a young child, creating short stories and plays of her own. She always had a love for the horror genre, and she tried to incorporate it into some of her works by drawing her dark inspiration from such horror classics as Night of the Living Dead and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Amanda never gave up on her dream of writing, and she went on to start BioGamer Girl, a publication dedicated to gaming and horror (also check out its companion, BGG After Dark). She has written and directed several films and even created her own video game called Life Weaver.