Review: The Walking Dead Episode 1

by on April 26, 2012 >> PCPS3ReviewsXbox

I had lost faith in Telltale Games for a while. They simply weren’t delivering the products that they promised me and I had become annoyed with the latter half of Back to the Future and all of Jurassic Park was a giant mess to me. It’s safe to say that I had zero interest when going into , the latest episodic from Telltale… but they have full redeemed themselves. is everything I could possibly want it to be, and things I didn’t even know I wanted from an episodic game or any game for that matter.

The Walking Dead puts you in the shoes of Lee Everett, a convict who murdered his wife’s lover much and is not being transported out of Atlanta on the way to prison. Your car hits a zombie, you get into an accident and soon find yourself in the middle of the best zombie outbreak in the genres history. It’s not long before you meet Clementine, a sweet little girl who’s parents are out of town and who’s caretakers are no among the ranks of the walking dead. When I heard about Clementine being a crucial part of the game I was worried about crappy escort missions and levels where I’d take her place and control her silently through hordes of zombies… luckily it’s none of that. Clementine is an incredibly intelligent and caring young girl who you immediately feel something for. As Lee it’s your duty to take care of her, console her, feed her and make sure he’s dealing with this horrible world as best as you can.

The gameplay for The Walking Dead consists of moving Lee with the ASWD keys and using the mouse to select things, interact with objects or attack zombies. There are simple quick time events that involve mashing on one key and hitting another at the right moment. Nothing too deep but despite all that I was always worried I’d screw up because of how intense the scenarios are. One moment you’ll be trying to sneak by zombies or distract them and the next you have to use pin point mouse clicks to swing an axe into their face.

What I didn’t expect from this game would be the conversation trees. While the game is linear in that it’s trying to tell a defined story, your conversations all matter. You need to pay attention, react in a way that’s good for Lee and Clem and shows that you care. Your choices will matter in later games and some of the choices are pretty brutal. More than once in I had to choose between people I wanted to save. That means in alone I could replay with drastically different outcomes for just this short stint. All my choices carry over to the next four games as well.

Telltale does a beautiful job of taking simple character models and animating them flawlessly. The faces of each character speak volumes and paired with the voice acting you get a real sense of who each character is and how they’re feeling. There are a few short cuts taken like zombies all walking in the exact same animation cycle and in groups so it seems like they’re Thriller music video rejects and there were a few audio issues later in the game but over all it’s a gorgeous presentation. The art style matches up with the comics on which it’s based but I’d have loved for a black and white mode as well.

The Walking Dead offers a lot more than you might think and with the promise of 4 more months of content to come, a lot of replayability to see how different choices play out and more, the game is one of those must have titles for fans of the adventure and horror genres.

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