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April 26, 2012
 

The Comics Console: The Walking Dead: The Video Game: Episode 1

Resident Evil, Dead Rising, Left 4 DeadThe Walking Dead is none of these; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Walking Dead: The Video Game: Episode 1, “A New Day”

Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Released: April 24, 2012
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3
ESRB: Mature

“A New Day” is the title of episode one of The Walking Dead‘s video game debut, and a fresh start in this zombie apocalypse is what you get. As Lee Everett, a recently convicted felon, you create your own zombie adventure in Robert Kirkman’s world of the undead through dialog, heavy conversation, and tons of hard decision making. Though Walking Dead does have its fair share of walker skull bashing, this is a narrative driven game that pits the player against not only the impending physical threat of the zombies, but the emotional hardships of “do or die” choices that affect not only Everett, but his companions and group of survivors he comes across.

The game is set in the very early stages of the apocalypse, so much so that even Rick Grimes is still snoozing away in his coma. But even without the strength and fortitude of a Rick Grimes, there are plenty of living humans left to be watched over or left as bait, and those are the kind of impossible choices you’re left with in this game. While keeping your main character alive, you, as Everett, must make choices about the people and environment around you; choices that affect the outcome of your playing experience, and the characters who react to and closely remember even the slightest detail of your calls. Unlike Telltale’s previous games, like Back to the Future, there is no going back on your actions. Each decision made is a decision you live with throughout your two hours of game play, some of which can come back to haunt you. It’s that kind of stress inducing importance that makes any playthrough of this game unique and fresh.

There’s little I can write about this game’s story, because each player will dictate their own adventure, and far too much I could write while spoiling the familiar characters that spring up on your quest for survival. But what I can safely convey is that, as someone who’s already played through episode one several times, your emotions and actions will have dire consequences, and it’s that kind of unpredictability and responsibility (or lack there of ) that makes this game a shining example of the glory and horror (and that’s a good kind of horror ) of what comic books transitioning to video games can be.

The Walking Dead is a rather simple game in its mechanics, most of its hardships coming from the gut wrenching conflicts the player is faced with, and can even be a bit slow paced at times. But anyone who has ever enjoyed Kirkman’s zombie nightmares can find hours of excitement and pleasure replaying the many different possibilities the initial two hour game provides.

Driving home the game’s heart is the amazing voice cast, and pretty, if not impressive, graphic design. Though I’m not sure even a poor voice actor of glitched graphic could have soiled this game because of how grabbing the narrative is.

The Walking Dead: The Video Game: “A New Day” in itself already brings a great argument for a new standard of what comic book video games should be.If you’re looking for a session of zombie clobbering action, you’re in the wrong place, but those wanting to not only experience a new aspect of Kirkman’s dying world, but create their own, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better way to spend your money. The Walking Dead is simply a must-play for any fan.

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Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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