So for those of you not familiar with The Walking Dead this has already been a successful comic series and TV show based on the lives of a group of survivors during a zombie apocalypse. The game by Telltale studios takes their already established point and click finesse and apply it to the franchise creating an involving and dramatic game.
So the story (without spoiling too much) begins with a half-life-esque travelling sequence. You are told your decisions change the game dramatically and then you’re introduced to the character you’ll be making the decisions for. After your pleasant intro it’s straight to business and your thrust into the thick of it.
Along the way you find many a companion and start to form relationships based on conversations you have with them. Unlike many games that claim decisions impact your game, The Walking Dead really makes you feel like you’re in control ironically by limiting how long you have to respond. This makes you more likely to give your immediate reaction rather than think ‘how can I be the good guy?’ This means your instincts kick in and the story becomes your own.
Furthermore this game manages what most games don’t, you actually begin to care. When you do this becomes a believable and sad world full of loss. Through great story telling Telltale manage to invoke emotions in you and make you feel the consequences of your actions. These consequences can on occasion lead you to question your own choices and wonder if you’re doing the right thing.
The style of The Walking Dead game is clearly a nod to the franchises roots. Adopting a comic book appearance, the textures and models are gruesomely good and although not the prettiest game out there it’s certainly not a low quality looking game. On the other hand PC players will not have to worry about having a top end machine to play this game.
When it comes to sound Telltale have managed to create a tense atmosphere which even when you come to play it again still keeps you on edge. The voice acting is marvellous and characters have depth.
Controls at the start feel a little more complex than necessary. Input from the keyboard is also required but nothing feels unnatural or distracts you from the action. Those with a gamepad such as the XBOX 360 controller may prefer to use that however.
Given the zombie survival genre is becoming highly populated with the likes of the Resident Evil series, Left 4 Dead, Dead Island and Dead Rising. The Walking Dead manages to bring fear and excitement back to a genre that I feel has lost its edge somewhere along the way. Whether it’s through the timed events requiring quick reactions to escape a nasty death or the careful planning and sneaking around that make you feel vulnerable and exposed. You always feel a sense of urgency and the ever present danger from the world around.
The game itself is about 2-3 hours in length and as this is only one of five I guess this is acceptable. Although the thought of playing through again to get a different experience really does boost the time you’ll spend in this title.
In summary brilliant storytelling and believable characters make this a must get title for all those who are either a Walking Dead fan or love a good point and click adventure. Anyone who doesn’t fall into those two categories I urge you to pick it up as well. Episode one is almost worth the price on its own and I can only imagine further episodes being more of the great quality this game delivers. Through tense set pieces that test your skill to choices that change everything The Walking Dead really does take you on a journey you’re not likely to forget. Although controls can at times feel awkward they never cause a problem when split second decisions need to be made. The Walking Dead reels you into a world that you’ll want to spend hours in and is an experience like no other. So what are you waiting for, start surviving today.