Zombie-mania continues to grow as TELLTALE GAMES new episodic game, THE WALKING DEAD has been unleashed. So far, only the first chapter, titled A New Day, has been released. I can already say this is better than the currently running television adaptation on AMC. The interactive comic, which is how it comes off, allows you to take control of one character struggling to survive in Kirkman’s post-apocalyptic hell where the dead rise again. Each choice you make as Lee, the game’s protagonist, affects how the story will flow. Already you must be prepared for major decisions that must be made in the first chapter and they will effect, not only how other characters see you, but whether or not they live. The game is available on Xbox Live (400 Microsoft Points), or for purchase on Steam ($24 for a season pass).
First and foremost, this game is a click-and-play adventure, so only through interactions with the environment and characters will you progress the storyline. This not a first or third-person shooter. You don’t roam the lands slaying thousands of zombies with the best weapons. If you’re bored already, you won’t like this game. The mechanics of this game fit the world perfectly. It’s about survival, just like in the comics. Instead of focusing on an unnecessary gore-fest like other zombie games, Telltale decides to instead present a horror-esque environment where the player will be kept on edge throughout the entire game. One thing the game does perfectly is make you feel pretty useless. because even when armed with a gun, the player can fumble while loading, or simply miss the shot entirely. The character is scared, and that effects game-play a lot.
Game mechanics aside, The Walking Dead video game has managed to surpass the TV series in terms of story. Although the story does not follow the comic series plot, it does interact with it. In the first chapter, two characters from the series make an appearance with one playing a major role. The game, thankfully, is linked more with the comic series, than it is with the television series. Not only does the art reflect artist Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, the characterization also has more in common with the comic (i.e. the characters are actually likable). The main character, Lee, is a convicted criminal on his way out of Atlanta just as the initial panic starts. Not much about Lee is known right away, but through dialogue you get the feeling the crime is not as “‘black and white” as it seems. Sure enough, through an unfortunate accident, Lee finds himself surrounded by the undead with no clue as to what’s happening. Narrowly escaping their grip, you enter an abandoned home where you eventually meet Clementine. The eight-year-old girl finds a protector in Lee, and the two attempt to survive the new world that has forced itself in their lives. It’s a common post-apocalyptic tale, but it works. Clementine not only adds an element of fear to the game, she gives the player something to want to protect. After a few minutes of play I found myself more concerned for this little girl then my own character’s life. Just like its comic parent, the game likes to live in the area of gray. You’ll be forced to make hard choices to protect the ones you care about, or simply to survive yourself.
This is an amazing product, and if you’re a fan of the comic you’ll probably want to purchase this ASAP!