It’s no secret that I love zombies. One look at my story The Fast and the Dead is enough to convince anyone of that. It should come as no surprise then that I love The Walking Dead in every form it’s available in; as a comic/graphic novel, as a TV series, and now as an adventure game from Telltale Games.
I’ll have a full review of The Walking Dead Game up on GeekBeat.TV soon, but I wanted to go into how episode 1 handles the storytelling, as that’s really the part of the game that impressed me the most.
It’s common these days to call any good, impressive game ‘epic,’ but The Walking Dead Game Episode 1 - A New Day is the opposite of epic. It’s small, it’s personal, it’s isolating, stressful, fearful and very satisfying.
The game puts huge emphasis on the importance of the choices you, playing as Lee Everett, make throughout the story. Conversation and investigation make up the bulk of the game play; make no mistake, while this is a zombie game, it is NOT a shooter, nor is it a survival horror game. It is pure adventure.
At key points throughout the game, you’ll say things in conversations, and you’ll be given a brief flash of information about the impact that your choice had on things. If you stick up for a friend in an argument, they’ll remember it. If you mouth off and call someone a nasty name, they’ll remember that too. In a twist that’s very Bioware in nature, these decisions can have consequences far beyond episode 1, impacting your journey into the next four episodes as well.
The examples I gave above were relatively trivial (at least they seem that way at first glance.) But there are much weightier choices to be made as well; there are a number of points at which you’ll literally be choosing who lives and who dies, and make no mistake, people WILL die.
The story’s far from over; we’ve been given a single episode of 8 chapters, with four more episodes to come. I’m really looking forward to seeing how deep the connections run between episodes. I’m loving Telltale’s Back to the Future series, but haven’t finished yet in part because each episode is so very self-contained; there’s not as much driving me to finish all five quickly. If The Walking Dead Game lives up to the early promise it shows, I won’t have that problem with it.