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We’ve all seen this pattern before, haven’t we? First the successful comic/graphic novel. Then the compromised, but still runaway movie based on said comic/graphic novel. Finally, you get a buggy, third-rate game that has been rushed out to meet some arbitrary marketing deadline.
Fortunately for fans of all things zombie, we can’t say that about Telltale Game’s take on The Walking Dead. Instead of trying to follow in the footsteps of Robert Kirkman’s comic series of the same name or AMC’s TV series, Telltale unwinds a completely different story in The Walking Dead universe.
Told in the classic adventure style, The Walking Dead imbues the same sense of dread and doom that Kirkman’s comic does. The game starts off with you as Lee Everett being carted off to prison when the world goes sideways. We can’t give away too many details, but there is some crossover with The Walking Dead comic, although it’s mostly kept to a minimum.
What’s brilliant about The Walking Dead game is that you are forced through the same split-second moral decisions that make The Walking Dead such a unique comic. For example, do you save the resourceful nerd or the TV reporter with her Glock 17 and never-ending purse full of magazines? Sorry, nerd, firepower trumps compiling a Linux kernel ATM. Such choices shape the story arc down the road, but at every turn you’re forced to make decisions that put you in uncomfortable territory. Do you lie about your past and let the lie build, or just spill the beans? Who can you trust? Whom do you build alliances with? Whom do you give food to?
Let’s just take a little off the top, shall we?
The creepy atmosphere of the game is helped by a beautiful blend of 2D and 3D artwork by Daniel Kanemoto and a dark score by Jared Emerson-Johnson. The Walking Dead game is being released in five “episodes.” The first two, A New Day and Starved for Help, are out now, with the third episode imminent. Each chapter takes about two hours to play through, and as adventure games go, it can become a bit tedious if you can’t find the one unobvious room you’re supposed to go to, but we found that after finishing each episode we couldn’t wait for the next one.
Excellent voice acting and a creepy set can make portions of the game terrifying.
The gameplay certainly isn’t suited for action junkies, but it’s a perfect way to relax after getting constantly sniped in that hell-on-earth, apocalyptic zombie-simulator mod known as DayZ. With DayZ, we already know how absolutely horrible human beings are. Not can be, but are. With The Walking Dead game, we still have hope that we can hold onto our humanity.
Superb storytelling and voice acting; creepy atmosphere.
Console-style button mashing is pointless.