Review: The Walking Dead: Episode 1

Many may be familiar with The Walking Dead series airing on AMC, but you may not know that the TV show is actually based off the comic book of the same name from Robert Kirkman.  Telltale Games has based their newest adventure game series straight from the former and has released Episode 1 of The Walking Dead, “A New Day”.

If you always thought adventure games were too slowly paced and snooze-fests then be ready for a surprise.  Unlike other games in this genre, The Walking Dead takes a different spin with tense action moments where split second decisions must be made that will alter the rest of your story.  The game places you in the shoes of Lee Everett, being taken out of Atlanta in the back of a police car.  It doesn’t take long before you are cast from the car and directly into the zombie apocalypse that is spreading.  Even though Lee has a few skeletons in his past, he becomes rescuer to a little girl, Clementine, and the two set out for safety.

As you come into contact with zombies and aggressive humans, the gameplay makes use of quicktime events that require both the press of a button and aiming from the analog sticks.  The combination makes for tense scenes that have you scrambling to find the correct striking point before you meet your demise and become a walker yourself.  At one point early in the game you are attacked from behind by a zombie babysitter and must keep her at bay with your foot as your reach for a hammer to bash her face in.  And speaking of which, this game earns it’s mature rating with gratuitous scenes of heads getting smashed in until they is nothing left but a bloody stump.

The games graphics feel like a comic book brought to life, with heavy outlines and a type of cel-shaded system.  It fits well for the fact that this is set in the comic book realm and not the television series.  To those familiar with the series, the fresh cast of characters makes for an exciting story since you don’t know who will be zombie food next.  You are faced with life or death decisions at several points in the game, and since most choices give you only a few seconds you need to pick fast.  You use the four face buttons to make most interactions in the game.  During the less life threatening parts you are given puzzles to solve, having to directly control Lee around the room to pick up items.

Episode 1 ends with a preview for the next episode, which is again tailored to the choices you made, and feels like Telltale may be able to keep me interested throughout the rest of this series.  Overall The Walking Dead feels as good as the cliffhanger suspense you get from the comic book or TV show and coming out for only $4.99 (PS3) or 400 Microsoft Points (Xbox360) it’s a great deal.  With a rich set of characters and mix of action and puzzle solving, newcomers and fans should both be pleased.

I give The Walking Dead a 4.5 / 5

A copy of The Walking Dead was provided by Telltale Games for this review

Written by Bryan

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