The Walking Dead: Episode 1 Review
Let’s face it: Shooting zombies is getting boring.
There are about 900 trillion games that pack plenty of zombies together, hand players all manner of firearms, and lets them go to town. And while I love zombie fiction and zombie games, the permutations are wearing thin. Most zombie titles have moved beyond straight horror (like Resident Evil) into parody. Still others use zombies as convenient fodder, and they’ve permeated as useful enemies into games as far-flung as Mass Effect and Gears of War. They’re mostly a joke at this point, and certainly not that exciting.
That’s why Telltale Games’ first episode of The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman’s often-phenomenal graphic novel series, is so damn refreshing. Here’s a comic book world perfectly suited to Telltale’s style of game, and at least in this first episode, the writing is so on-point and affecting that it reminds us why zombies got so popular in the first place. What’s more, the zombies aren’t just misshapen monsters lining up to catch a bullet; they’re an integral part of the story and the world, and they’re a helluva lot more interesting than the rotten moving targets that populate other titles.
The Walking Dead: Episode 1: A New Day (2012): PC (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Playstation 3, iOS
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Released: April 27, 2012
Telltale, it seems, has learned a lot from the last few big licensed games it has released. Jurassic Park: The Game struggled with quick-time events that were too oppressive for the rest of the game, and Back to the Future: The Game suffered from a story that couldn’t live up to the promises it made in the early going.
In at least the first episode of The Walking Dead, however, Telltale seems to have found ways to deal with both issues. The game centers around a character called Lee Everett, who finds himself in the back of a police car on his way to prison at the outset of the episode, on his way out of Atlanta, Georgia. Within a few moments, we’re fully engaged with Lee’s plight through a slick bit of conversation — and then suddenly, we’re finding ourselves knee-deep in the roiling horror of Kirkman’s zombie apocalypse.