The Walking Dead Episode 1: A New Day Review
- The Walking Dead
- Telltale Games
Made2Game The Walking Dead Episode One Review Score: 9/10
Formats: XBLA, PSN
Format Reviewed: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Reviewer: Jo Kendrick
When you think of a game that has zombies in, your first thought may be “guns”, or “action”. At the very least, you might be thinking of the typical survival horror aspect, with one sole survivor finding a way to escape hundreds of hungry monsters, with no other focus than to get out of the city/infected area alive. The Walking Dead does things a little different. Sure there're zombies in it, and sure, they play quite a prominent role, but The Walking Dead: A New Day is not solely about them. This game is also about human relationships, the choices you make, and how those choices can really make a difference in the future. Deep, indeed.
You have probably heard of The Walking Dead: starting out as a graphic novel before its adaptation into the popular TV show, it would have been far too easy to make a quick cash-in game, with horrible, poorly-voiced animations of Rick and Shane that would have been quickly forgotten. However, thankfully, this hasn't happened. There are some welcome cameos and locations from the TV show, such as Hershall's farm, so there's a good mix of the familiar as well as the original but, overall, this is a new adventure.
The Walking Dead is a 5 part game, released episodically. You start out away from the main cast as a guy named Lee Everett, who gets thrown into the horror quite early on. Pretty soon he runs into a little girl named Clementine and takes her under his wing. Now, usually when faced with looking after a child or a weak character in a game, I have to let out a slight groan. It's a pet hate, usually resulting from poor AI, an annoying voice or something along those lines. This is actually not the case with Clem; in fact, by the end of A New Day, there will be something inside you that will vow never to let her come to any harm.
This game is like an interactive drama of sorts, kind of like Heavy Rain in some ways. A lot of the impact comes from the dialogue, and every one of your interactions with others may come back on you, for better or worse. You could be choosing a standard reply, when in the top left corner “Clementine will remember that” will appear, forcing you to choose your future dialogue more carefully. The voice acting and expressions of the characters’ faces are very good – and believable, which is very important in a game like this, and part of the appeal is that even though Lee seems like a good guy in general, he has his demons and his dodgy past. You can choose for him to lie about it, but you need to be prepared to remember what you said, because you can be caught out on it later.
The Walking Dead: Episode 1 is not without its problems, however. Sometimes it will freeze for no reason segueing between screens, and the actual combat – though there isn’t much of it – could be a bit tighter. Also, though this may be the overall point, you have to be very quick with some of the dialogue options, so you may not pick the one you originally wanted.
These are all forgivable flaws though, as long as they are improved upon in future instalments. It will be very interesting to see how the decisions that Lee made (some of which are life or death) will affect gameplay, and how big the impact really is. All in all, in terms of story, playability and choices this game is a must.
Words by Jo Kendrick (Twitter: @PixieJo)
Liam Pritchard fights to survive in the second episode of Telltale's impressive adaptation