The Walking Dead - Episode 1: A New Day User Review
The game begins with the central character, Lee, sitting in the backseat of a police cruiser, handcuffed and looking unhappy. The police officer is in the middle of giving Lee a hard time when, apparently, the zombie apocalypse happens all at once and he crashes the car, killing the police officer and freeing Lee. Soon enough, Lee meets Clementine, a young girl who has lost her parents to the apocalypse, and it's up to you to keep her safe.
The story unfolds much as you would expect a TWD story to play out; heavy on the dialogue and not-so-heavy on the action. The story exists within the comic book universe and the visual style of the game helps to bring the player further into the story. Simply put, this is the best looking game that mimics the look of a comic book. It's as if Charlie Adlard designed the look of the game. A few graphical hiccups aside (characters walking through one another and awkward walking animations when attempting to "use" items in the environment), the game looks absolutely gorgeous. Great voice acting and even better sound design helps to improve the overall presentation of TWD.
Gameplay clearly takes a backseat to the story line in every Telltale game, and that is absolutely the case with TWD. This doesn't mean the gameplay is bad, but it is simply there to push the story along. I would call this game the next evolution in adventure games. It's clear that it was crafted to work with both a mouse and keyboard as well as a controller. The left analog stick controls Lee's movements while the right controls an on-screen "arrow" with various actions mapped to the face buttons. Needless to say, the end product works, but at times can be frustrating. Take, for example, an early scene in which you have to kill a zombie: To your right is a shotgun shell and to your left is a shotgun. The goal is to grab the shell and then the shotgun and shoot the zombie as it crawls towards you. The problem is the movement feels stiff, making it seem as if the player is less in control than they should be. It manages to create tension, but I couldn't help but feel like the tension was only there due to the fact that the controls were slow. This turns into a very minor complaint however once the player gets the hang of it.
Choice plays a big role in TWD. Nearly every character has a deep backstory and a different opinion on Lee and other characters in the game. Choices must be made in a relatively short amount of time or else a timer will run out. Interestingly, if the player feels they don't know how to react to a particular situation, they can simply remain silent. The best thing about these decisions is just how difficult they become. Later into the game, the player is asked to choose to save one of two characters. To me, the choices were pretty obvious, but I found it intriguing that half of the people who played the game disagreed with my choices (upon completing the game, players are provided with statistics of the choices the overall community made, similar to Catherine). Some decisions have already shown a reaction among the other group members while other decisions and dialogue choices are sure to affect the following episodes. In the "Next time on TWD" at the end of the game, I saw a few of my decisions having an effect on others.
The game is short, and I understand that could turn many potential players off to purchasing the title, but the fact that the game is only $5.00 takes away most of that sting. The game ends in a cliffhanger and to say that I'm eagerly anticipating the second episode is an extreme understatement. Fans of the comics and the TV show alike will undoubtedly find something to love in Telltale's game. While it is not without its faults, they are relatively few and far between.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.