The Walking Dead Game : Episode 1 Review

14 05 2012
By Jesse

It’s hard to believe the success that The Walking Dead has achieved over the past couple of years. A huge fan base, an insanely successful TV show, and now a video game. At first thought, many may scoff at the idea, but they’d really be missing out.

The game was created by TellTale games. They are best well known for recently producing the highly acclaimed Back to The Future: The Game, and the less well received Jurassic Park: The Game. In the eight years the company has been around, they’ve almost perfected the point-and-click style of gaming. Recently, they’ve been looking for inspiration from fan-favorite films and television shows. Even with their impressive resume, it was a question if TellTale could pull it off. In short… Hell yes, they did.

The game is available for download on PC, Xbox Live Arcade, and the PlayStation Network. I played the PC version. The first thing that strikes you is the beauty of the graphics. Unlike Back to The Future: The Game, where everything had a cartoonish style to it, The Walking Dead is molded to look like Charlie Adlard’s artwork and they capture it flawlessly. The whole game has a style to it that works so well. Lines look like they were drawn with dirty edges, and environments have a somewhat painted quality to them. The characters look stunning and capture the feel of the comic so well. Rather than copying the monochrome color palette of the comic, TellTale went with a muted color scheme, which works wonderfully.

The story is what will draw you into this game more then anything else. It takes place during the comic canon, so if your a fan you’ll know exactly where you’re at. You play as a man named Lee Everett. When you first meet him, he’s handcuffed in the back of a police car. The opening moments of the game set the tone and really pull you into the world. As the first episode unfolds you slowly get to know more about the man you’re playing as. The way it’s handled is fantastic and really makes you wonder just how to feel about this guy. I can’t wait to see where the story takes him.

While you are trying to survive, you come across a slew of different characters that affect your journey in different ways. The way you communicate or the actions you take affect the world around you in many different ways. Sometimes it’s subtle, like someone noticing how truthful you are or if you were loyal and some are choosing who to save and let die. These moments are the most exciting and tension-filled in the game. You must think on the fly and live with your choices. Now the full effects of this system won’t be felt until the other episodes are released, but I can’t wait to see how it changes the story. You’ll also run into some characters and locations that appear in the comics, but I’ll leave those as a surprise.

The controls and gameplay are your typical TellTale affair. It’s a point and click game, like the other TellTale titles. Movement is controlled by the WSAD keys and you use the left mouse click to interact with objects. You can use the 1 and 2 number keys to switch between action and speaking, but that’s the only real variety in the game. The action is handled surprisingly well for this type of game, using the point and click system to attack specific points on the undead. The only real downside to the title is that the gameplay is a little soft, meaning it’s not very difficult. You can get through it in a single two hour sitting with little to no trouble. And though it’s best to experience the game in one playthrough, some additional challenge would have been nice. But, to be fair, this could change in later episodes.

Even if it isn’t the most challenging game out there, it is one of the most engaging. The visuals and story pull you into this dark world so well and make you feel the weight and emotion of every action you take. If your a fan of The Walking Dead you’ll absolutely want to buy the entire series for $25 on Steam or on one of the consoles. If not, consider this a great primer to the comic and the best interpretation of the world that Robert Kirkman created.

Trust me, this one episode is better than any part of the TV show so far. So you can only imagine how excited I am to play the rest, and you should be too.

Look for Episode 2 on May 25, 2012.
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