Arguably the most iconic and influential comic book series of the last decade, The Walking Dead series has spawned a successful TV series (developed by none other than Frank Darabont) and now an impressive roleplaying, action and decision based adventure game.
Developed by TellTale games, the very same developers that worked on The Back To The Future series and the Jurassic Park games, The Walking Dead follows the same template.
The first of five episodes, Episode 1 – A New Day effectively sets up the proceedings by introducing us to the lead character, Lee Everett. An escaped convict and the only character you control.
As the game progresses, we are introduced to various members of the group and a few familiar faces from the comic books.
Much like the TV and the comic books series , the game continues that trend of putting it’s characters in difficult circumstances and most of the time it is up to Lee to decide which coarse of action to take.
It’s an interesting device which affects the outcome of the story and offers the game plenty of replay-ability.
From basic conversations to deciding on which characters you should save, the most simple decisions have consequences that can often leave you doubting yourself – with several dilemmas giving you little time to decide.
The controls at first are a little tricky to get your head around. Acting like a cross between the likes of Heavy Rain and the classic point and clicks such as The Secret of Monkey Island, the analog stick controls the pointer and the X, O, square and triangle buttons control your actions.
In a strange way, this clunky set up actually works in the games favour during the more frantic moments, as quite often it will lead you to think on your feet and act quickly. Essentially it adds a whole sense of panic to the proceedings.
Visually, the game looks quite impressive. Making no secret of the fact that it is based on a graphic novel, The Walking Dead features a fine palette of colours (which is ironic considering the books are in black and white) and nice cell-shaded finish that is somewhat reminiscent of Borderland.
Audibly, The Walking Dead hits the mark too. Featuring consistent insect noises in the background and those old fashioned zombie moans, the audio certainly enhances the uneasiness of living amongst the living dead. The voice acting is also pretty impressive.
At £3.99 an episode, it’s hard not to recommend The Walking Dead series. It might not be to everyone’s taste and those looking for a more frantic gaming experience should probably be looking at the Left 4 Dead games, but fans of the books and the TV series should appreciate the amount of effort that has gone into this emotionally driven game.
Telltale are to be commended here for what is a essentially a gripping story which also has a good sense of pace and an appreciation of it’s subject’s source.