Real Talk By:  Steph-O

Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead: Episode 1 is the first of five episodes that will be released in the coming months. The game is set in the same universe as Robert Kirkman’s comic book series of the same name, and will no doubt attract fans of the TV series as well.

The action/adventure RPG features a few familiar faces and introduces many new ones, including Lee Everett. Lee is the main character, and a convicted criminal – he is cuffed and in the back of a cop car at the beginning of the game. You are given very limited information about Lee’s past and must discover his story along the way. You are guided through the game by quick time events and prompted with decisions to make, sometimes in a split second.

These decisions affect how your storyline moves forward, and how the other characters will interact with you in the future – usually based on how much you have led them to believe they can ‘trust’ you. Some decisions are bigger, and will alter your storyline more than others. The overall main story arc, however, cannot be changed. Don’t worry though. The talking and getting to know the characters part is mixed in with the… bashing in zombie brains part. This dynamic is what truly makes the game similar to the comic book and TV series- personal drama and character interactions are just as important as surviving the zombie apocalypse.

The game does a great job of putting the player under pressure in the both the drama and the action sequences. There is some ‘press X not to die’ involved, but usually you must quickly target the zombie’s head first – otherwise you will get eaten and die! Lee also takes a little girl, Clementine, into his protection. Sometimes you are fighting off zombies to protect her as much as yourself. It is really interesting to see Lee and Clementine’s relationship grow, and the decisions you must make while talking to Clementine can really help you decide what kind of character you want Lee to be throughout the rest of the game. Lee forms relationships with other characters in the group as well, and by the end of the 1-2 hours of game play you are really hooked! You really want to know what Lee is going to do next and feel very engrossed in their story.

The overall look and feel of the game is another aspect that is linked closely with the graphic novels. Although it is a 3D game, the renderings look hand drawn, with thick ink lines, water-color washes, and even hash lines used to add definition or fill in shadows. The rest of the game has a very minimalistic interface and easy to understand graphics and symbols… for the most part. There are a few times when the interface is SO minimalistic it’s confusing. Overall though, the look and feel of the game is amazing, especially for how inexpensive it is.

This game is definitely a must have for Walking Dead fans, and is a good way to introduce those who are not yet familiar. The Walking Dead: Episode 1 is available on Xbox Live and PSN for $5, or you can pay $25 for all five episodes together (with only Episode 1 available now) for PC/Mac. The next episode, Starved for Help, does not yet have an official release date.

The Walking Dead: Episode 1 gets

4-5mf

Out of Five

What’s legit?

+Cheap

+Looks great

+You jump right into the action

What’s Perpetrating?

-Can only play Episode 1 for now

-Decisions cannot alter the storyline too much

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