The Walking Dead is one of the hottest properties around right now. Sure the comic book series has been highly regarded for many years but with the recent hit television series on AMC, The Walking Dead has been thrust into the public eye.
When something is as hot as that, people start looking for ways to broaden the IP with novels, movies and, naturally, video games. However just the idea of a game based on The Walking Dead sounded kind of silly. That is until Telltale Games got involved. By making The Walking Dead an adventure game, it can easily retain the story-driven pace of the comics while still presenting a fun, interactive experience.
The Walking Dead game takes place right at the moment of apocalypse. You are Lee Everett, a convicted criminal being transported to prison, unaware of the chaos being unleashed all over the world. At the beginning it’s unclear whether you are guilty or not but Lee certainly seems to be a good guy stuck in a bad situation. However, everything goes awry when your vehicle crashes, your escorting officer is killed and you are forced to deal with roving corpses who want nothing more than to eat you.
One thing that is clear up front is that this game is definitely set apart from the style of the television show and that’s a good thing. It has closer links to the comic books but it is still very different. You will get to meet an entirely new cast (although some familiar faces do show up) and experience the end of the world from a very different perspective. While you start out alone it doesn’t take long before you find a frightened young girl to protect and eventually you end up in a group of strangers just trying to make their way.
The Walking Dead is very much about relationships and survival and the game reflects that. Sure there are zombies around but more often than not you are talking with people, gathering supplies and figuring out situations instead of just all-out zombie warfare. This style fits perfectly with the type of game Telltale crafts.
The story is definitely interesting and the characters show a lot of promise for future episodes. The coolest aspect is how your choices actually affect the plot of the game. You are continuously confronted with options of who to side with in an argument, who to help out and even given choices about who to save from an inevitable death. As such the story will quickly become your own; all the more reason to be excited for the next installment.
Just because there is a lot of time spent on story and quiet moments doesn’t mean that The Walking Dead is bereft of action and there is definitely action to be had. Unlike most Telltale games it is actually possible to die and if you aren’t quick enough with button presses or your aim you will be eaten. It’s definitely not hard but it is exhilarating that you can die. The action moments are good, with the standout being a part where you have a group of zombies in between you and your goal and you have to figure out how to get past them quietly. It presents a great little puzzle to figure out as well as cool mechanics for accomplishing it.
Like many other Telltale games out there, the graphics are something that stands out. Everything is presented in full 3D but the world looks like a comic book. The textures look hand drawn, the environment is colored like a comic and most things have heavy, black outlines. The graphics may not look the best but the art style definitely sets it apart from other titles.
The Walking Dead is the first of a total of five promised episodes. It took around two hours to beat but with the choices available throughout it is definitely worth a second playthrough. The first episode also does a great job of hooking you for the next episode, with a great moment at the end and a definite feeling of escalation. There’s even a “Next time on Walking Dead” type video after you finish to really whet your appetite.
If you are a fan of The Walking Dead, playing this game is a no-brainer. Even if you haven’t seen the show or read the comics, this game offers a cool world and plenty of unique elements to stand on its own. Although it’s short, The Walking Dead provides a great experience and, more importantly, the promise of an even better experience down the road.
Back to the Future: The Game: I haven’t played all of Telltale’s games but I think Back to the Future is their best, until now that is. The Walking Dead has much more interesting mechanics for how puzzles are solved and items are used. The infusion of choice into the plot makes for a much more personal experience and also greatly helps replay value.
The Walking Dead (show): The Walking Dead game features very few characters from the show and even those familiar characters are obviously different. Both the show and the game deal with the same type of dark content such as losing family members, betrayal and suicide. Character development isn’t handled nearly as well in the game but it is only the first episode. It will be interesting to see how the game fares when more episodes are added.