The Walking Dead | Gameguide The Walking Dead – Gameguide

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the-walking-dead-2-2I’ve been a fan of The Walking Dead since discovering the first volume of the hardcover Omnibus editions back in 2006.  I’ve devoured most of the comic series since.  But then it’s popularity began to spawn other things.  The TV series on AMC which, for a purist who ‘grew up’ on the comics like me, found to be having too much re-writing of the original story.  Much better were the two novels, which both told stories that ran parallel to the events of the original comic.  It’s this approach that Telltale Games took when they created their episodic adventure game The Walking Dead.

Telltale’s game was released last year to much acclaim, and I was eager to get my hands on it, but due to the inflexibility and high cost of our censorship laws, it didn’t look like the game was going to get a release in New Zealand.

Fortunately the success of the download only episodic first season was such, that Telltale decided to release the first five episodes on a retail disc, essentially turning it from 5 games into one as far as New Zealand’s FVLB was concerned and making it a commercially viable release. 

The game starts out with you – playing convicted murderer Lee Everett – sitting in the back seat of a police cruiser, with a chatty cop, on your way to prison.  It’s a long a relatively un-interesting intro to the game.  Except for all the little hints and clues that tell you something is going on in Atlanta.  Fans of the comic books or TV shows will know exactly what is going on, and this insight into the begging of the end is a small pleasure.

The problem with The Walking Dead however, was not how well it fitted into the world of The Walking Dead, but it how it didn’t fit into my first person shooter mindset.  By the end of the first episode, I was underwhelmed and wondering what all the fuss was about.

Essentially The Waking Dead is an old school point and click adventure, you move about and inspect things, have conversations with limited dialogue options, many of which are time limited to keep you on your toes and make a snap judgement.  And you of course have the quick time events that force you into button mashing to save yourself from being a cadavers dinner date.

If I had bought just the first episode rather than the entire season, I’d have probably written the whole ting off as a pointless cash in on the comics popularity.  But I had the entire season to review, so I had to man up and go onto the next episode.

And I’m glad I did.

I hadn’t got that far into episode two when I realised that I was becoming immersed into the story, I had become comfortable with the point and clickyness of the adventure, and the story was driving me forward.  I was however cynical of Telltale’s promise that the decisions you make, effect how the game progresses.

But then the story took some serious turns, characters were killed off and my head was spinning.  The Walking Dead was becoming a game that I just had to play ‘just a while longer.’  And to top it off, I was actually considering playing through again, to see if I could save my favourite character by making different choices early on in the game.

Telltale have taken the wonderful possibilities of Robert Kirkman’s dystopian world and created a parallel tale as good as the original comic series.

The visual styling brings the world to life whilst retaining the feel of it’s source material and the characters you interact with genuinely make your decisions all the more harder to make.  Though I wouldn’t have believed it during Episode One, the game is as immersive as any I have played, and proves that great storytelling is more important than the latest photo-realistic graphics.

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