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The Walking Dead: Episode 1 Review

Telltale begins the zombie apocalypse in style.

The Walking Dead

Telltale games, developer of classic hits such as Sam and Max: Beyond Time and Space and the Tales of Monkey Island series recently tried their hand at licensed properties, with mixed results. Back to the Future and the Jurassic Park: The Game, Telltale's previous two titles, had potential, but fell short in a number of areas. In The Walking Dead, however, the creators have successfully captured the moral grey area that shrouds the decisions of characters in a zombie apocalypse.

The Walking Dead

The game offers a refreshing change to the typical first person shooter interpretation of the genre. The zombie genre is ripe with action movies and games that are gore fests. The Walking Dead offers a welcome twist. The game is plot driven and encourages players to think about their choices. During the quick first episode players will only kill around 8 zombies where as in a one hour campaign of the Left 4 Dead series players will kill over 1,000 zombies. Telltale sticks to the elements that made the comic and the TV show emotionally charged. They explore how people and families deal with a zombie apocalypse.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is story driven. Some players and reviewers may find this to be a downside to the experience, but it actually makes the experience much more memorable. In all Telltale's other games there is a focus on finding items and solving puzzles, but in The Walking Dead the focus is on dialogue, character interaction and choices. The Walking Dead is one of the only games to actually give players the feeling of being a part of a survival experience and making decisions that affect other people. In it's essence the game is very true to the feelings one has while reading the comics. It is action packed and loaded with hard decisions to make. Telltale in an effort to make the dialogue more realistic has added a time limit on how long players have to make decisions. This is expecially hard when deciding what to do when zombies are attacking.

The Walking Dead

In the game players take on the Role of Lee Everette a convicted criminal on his way to prison. On his way to jail the disasters start. He is freed from bondage and must start surviving on his own. In the beginning of his adventure he meets a young girl who may or may not be an orphan. He decides to care for her. The rest of the game is his interaction with her and the other survivors that they encounter in their travels. The story is a great introduction to what could be an epic adventure, but the release of the other games will determine if the whole package is worth it. This game is just the introduction. The real meat of the game will come in the following episodes. Since the game is in episodic form there are a number of loose ends and the game does not tie off leaving players wanting to have more. Telltale has done this with a number of their games. It is debatable if it is a good system or not, but with a game as story driven as this it forces players to think about the story while they wait for the next installment.

The Walking Dead

Telltale sticks to the usual mechanics of a point and click adventure and it seems to work well with this game. Because of this it has the feeling of a choose your own adventure novel. During the adventure as Lee Everette there are not too many opportunities to wander around and the puzzles are not overly difficult to solve. In fact it was a fairly easy game to beat in a few hours, but the point of the game does not seem to be solving puzzles. Most of the playing and value to The Walking Dead comes from the interactive story. The game is dialogue heavy and it is very easy to navigate the controls, but if PC gamers need to check controls there is a slight problem. Checking the controls on the PC version does not help because the game displays a picture of an Xbox 360 controller and has mapped out all of the console controls. This is inconvenient for PC gamers, but not too bad because the controls are very easy to use and learn. The graphics feel more like the comics and less like the AMC TV show. For example one location in the game is Hershel's farm and it is designed exactly like the his farm in the comics. One disappointment with the character models specifically the zombie character models is that they are not very detailed and they look inhuman. The disaster is suppose to be happening right there in the beginning. The zombies would look far more human and less decayed than they are portrayed in the game. Not all of them look bad there are some that are amazing. Their use of hard dark lines and a very cartoon like feel are an homage to the comic. The settings and characters all look like they have come out of the comics. It is done very well. Both fans of the series and newcomers will enjoy the unique design of the game.

The Walking Dead

The voice acting in the game is great. This is very important to the game since most of The Walking Dead is played through dialogue and the choices made there. The emotions of the characters are accurately portrayed and it feels very realistic. The music in the game is does a good job of building suspense while not bringing attention to itself and away from the events of the story. It is not spectacular, but not terrible either. All of the sound effects and music are good they help to create the tone and to tell the story. In the first episode of this five part adventure Telltale has set the stage for an epic story. Fans of the comics should buy this game to take part in an adventure in a well known setting. Fans of the TV show should also get the game, but they should understand that the game is based on the story from the comics. The Walking Dead is a great game that felt almost like a book in its presentation. It is hard to say if the whole package is worth the $25, but if the rest of the episodes are as good as the first this will be a must play game this year.

The Walking Dead: The Game - Episode One
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A heavily story driven experience, combining elements of classic point and click adventures, with a cinematic flair. Choices made matter, and will have a long lasting effect.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Great voice acting throughout, and a score that as a whole sets the tone nicely.
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Sporting an almost cell-shaded look, the visuals are as close as possible to the comics.
Controlswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Easy to learn, but navigation may prove difficult at first to players new to this style of game.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The first episode of The Walking Dead starts the five part series off nicely. If the future episodes can continue the terrific story and pacing, telltale may be on to something special here.
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