Review | The Walking Dead: Episode 1 – A New Day
The Walking Dead: The Game is a standalone story that runs parallel with the story from the comic books, but that doesn’t mean you won’t come across some of the characters from the books. The game puts you in the shoes of Lee Everett. Lee may or may not be a murderer, and the game starts with him in the back of a police car on his way to prison(Oh, the prison!). As luck would have it, this is all happening about the same time a giant zombie outbreak is hitting Atlanta. As the cop car smashes into a walker, Lee gets a pass on heading to the big house.
Along the way Lee finds Clementine, a young girl who had been living in her tree house waiting for her parents to return. Her babysitter is zombie food, and you are now all she has. It is unknown if her parents are even alive at this point, though all signs point to the negative. Clementine and Lee set off to find help. That is your setup for the game.
If shooting zombies in the face and running and gunning everything in your path is what you are looking for, then The Walking Dead is probably not going to be your cup of tea. Much like the comics, and the TV series, the game is about the characters, and how they cope with what they have to do in this new world they are all stuck in.
There is a lot of talking, and a lot of character development. There is action, a lot of it actually, and done in brutal fashion. They don’t let it dominate the story though, and it works here. Breaking up the action with so much dialog proves to add to the games lasting effect on the gamer. You learn who these people are that you are with, which causes you to start to care about them, adding a sense of consequence to the game. Breaking up the action has the added bonus of making the moments you do come up against the walkers seem that much more awesome.
The controls make the game play as sort of a choose your own adventure movie. You move Lee with the left stick, while moving the onscreen reticle around to find items with the right stick. Actions are mapped to the face buttons, you will get an indication if you are looking at something you can interact with. A little map will pop up with which face button will perform which action.
Dialog is done with each face button being mapped to a different phrase for Lee to use, ranging from polite and kind to downright rude and abrasive. Sometimes you can take your time on making choices, but there are some conversations, usually the ones that will shape the story, where you have to choose your response in a hurry. The people you interact with will remember your choices, and it will affect the way they respond to you later in the game. You don’t get to see to much of that in the first episode, but Telltale claims that these decisions will absolutely affect things throughout the whole series.
Of course if you enjoy things, you will want to go through again and see just how things play out when you choose different chat options. I can assure you that it can mix it up, sometimes drastically. I started over, made a different decision early on, and not only did it change the time that things went down, they went down with different people. The Walking Dead offers multiple save slots, so feel free to experiment and create the Lee Everett that you want to use.
Lee is part of a separate group from the comic series, but you will run into plenty of familiar faces just in this first episode alone. The Walking Dead, like it’s comic and TV counterparts, is all about the characters, its not about shotgunning zombies in the face. The game is chock full of interesting characters and conversations, and some heavy decisions that you have to make for the group. Add on to that some brutal zombie violence, The Walking Dead Fans will find themselves right at home, in my opinion. I for one can’t wait for Episode 2!!
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5