May 22, 2012

Review - The Walking Dead: The Game - Episode 1

6:57 PM

With the explosive popularity of the television series, it's no surprise that the The Walking Dead property would venture on to other forms of entertainment: a video game. As a fan of video games, survival horror, zombies in general and both The Walking Dead comic books and the television show, it's no surprise that I have been looking forward to playing the game (albeit with some hesitation, which I'll cover towards the end of this review).

The Walking Dead: The Game is within the realm of the graphic novel canon and follows a new group of survivors -- and even some familiar faces pop up along the way. Players take on the role of Lee Everett, who also happens to be convicted of a crime. As Episode 1 of the game begins, a zombie apocalypse is in bloom, resulting in a dark but opportune second chance for Lee. As Lee tries to figure out what is going on around him, he meets Clementine: a smart but scared little girl that was left alone after her babysitter became a walker.

Watch the trailer:

As you progress further into the story, Lee continues to meet more characters and more about what is happening around Lee unfolds. Conversation options and choices are presented to you, all of which impact how other characters perceive you and the course of the storyline. The control over what type of impression Lee gives to others through dialogue choices gives great a great sense of customization.

At times fighting zombies require some fast reflexes which provides a satisfying challenge for most. The one nitpick I do have about that is that the story is so engaging that at times I forgot to be on my toes and I reacted to slowly and thus, I died. Luckily you can jump right back in without having to go too far back into the story.

It is obvious that a large amount of work and thought that went into each new character and this new entry in The Walking Dead universe. The pacing of the story is spot-on and constantly engages the player with either the suspense of flesh-hungry zombies or the unfolding of Lee's and other characters stories.

So why my initial hesitation about the game? When I first heard about the video game, I read that the main character would be an African-American who is convicted a crime. For the most part, minorities in games are largely underrepresented. So to hear that the main character is both African-American convicted of a crime made me raise an eyebrow as it's an unfortunate but common stereotype. Telltale Games really excelled at not only making Lee a relatable character but one who breaks assumptions about the stereotype.

The game truly surpassed my expectations.The Walking Dead: The Game Episode 1 stays with me even after I completed it. I find myself thinking about every single character. I wonder if I made the right decisions and if I said the right things. There is no "right" or "wrong" as it all depends on how you want to play the game of course, but the conversations and characters all felt very real. I was also genuinely nervous as I played through some portions of the game as many of zombie attacks are intense. I want to know even more about Lee than I learned through Episode 1. I want to see where the story takes him and those around him.

If you're a fan of the comic books, the television show, zombies, survival horror, or any solid game with an engaging story, The Walking Dead: The Game is right up your alley.

5 out of 5

This post was written by:
Crystal

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