XBLA Review: The Walking Dead: Episode 1 – A New DayPosted 9:48 am on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 by Mike Villarreal
To say the stakes are pretty high for a Walking Dead video game is an understatement. The comic book series continues to be a month-to-month Top Ten Bestseller, and AMC just wrapped up their second season of the critically acclaimed television series with record-breaking ratings. Enter, LEGO Star Wars developer Telltale Games.
Telltale Games has recently gained a lot of attention for their big name property titles such as Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. A few months back, I reviewed Jurassic Park and gave the game a very solid B. Let’s see how well Telltale does in their first episode of their video game adaptation of The Walking Dead.
You play as Lee Everette, a completely new character that does not appear in either the comics or the TV series. Lee is a convicted felon and through the events of the zombie outbreak, he is able to escape his transport to a new prison. Lee is accompanied by Clementine, a young girl Lee finds stranded all alone waiting for her parents to come home. Rather than leave the girl all by herself, Lee decides to take her with him, especially after hearing a very grim message left by her mother on their answering machine.
In their travels, Lee and Clementine come across series favorites Glenn and Herschel Greene. We get to see Glenn long before the events in Atlanta. Sadly, his stay is short lived, because he leaves by the end of the episode. Fans of the comic book series will also note that this is the first time we have seen Herschel’s son Shawn alive. In the comic book series and the TV series, Shawn was dead long before Rick and others arrived on Hershel’s farm.
If you happened to play Jurassic Park or Back to the Future, you will notice that Telltale Games has taken a completely serious approach to this game. Much like Jurassic Park your choices can and will change the outcome of the game. Your dialog choices will also effect your story as well. Making other characters decide if they trust you or not, and in a zombie-apocalypse world, trust is worth more than gold. Clementine’s trust will also come into play. You may not be her parent, but she trusts you to keep her safe and out of harm’s way.
As far as gameplay goes, don’t expect to be taping chainsaws and boat oars together. The Walking Dead heavily revolves around puzzle solving and story, which fits The Walking Dead universe perfectly. The game offers up some intense moments where you will need to grab specific items in order to defend yourself or save someone in Quick-Time-Event fashion. The episode also offers up some unique sneaking stealth mission, where you will need to devise a plan to take out the zombies one-by-one with out alerting the whole horde.
Though there is a lot to like about the game, there are some awkward moments. An example is when the radio station reporter, who was wondering why the radio didn’t work, didn’t bother to check to see if there were any batteries in the radio. You eventually find some and give them to her, and then, she doesn’t know how to properly put them in. There is a freaking diagram on the actual radio! Women, am I right?
The cel-shaded look of the game gives it that comic book feel, but it is the voice-over work that really shines in this game. You can’t help but feel invested in the lives of both Lee and Clementine, two complete strangers who did not know each other prior to the events of the game. I believe as a Walking Dead fan, you know just how quickly things can go from bad to worst, and you just hope that Lee and Clementine will make it through whatever that is ahead of them in the sick twisted world.
It is a must play for any Walking Dead fan and will leave you itching for the the release of Episode 2 – Starved for Help.
The Walking Dead
Genre: Action-Adventure, Role-Playing
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: PC, Mac, XBLA, PSN, and iOS
Mike Villarreal is the Community Manager for Nerd Reactor. He loves movies, video games and comics. #OMGWTFBBQ