The Average Gamer

The Walking Dead Episode 1 Review (XBLA)

The prominent video game storytellers Telltale Games, developers of the current Monkey Island and Sam & Max games, have whet the appetites of The Walking Dead fans with this latest point and click adventure.

Set at the beginning of the zombie-apocalypse world created by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, this is a different venture to the existing stories of the comic/TV series, with altogether different characters.

You play as Lee, who starts the game in the back of a cop car, in cuffs. As the game progresses, much like the existing Walking Dead stories, you learns more and more about your protagonist. Or is it antagonist?

Straight away, the game launches into its main control scheme, using the right stick to look around as you would with a mouse, with actions highlighted for the corresponding Y,A,X and B buttons.

As with all Telltale Games, conversation is a necessity to progression. Thankfully, the voice acting and script are excellent. Lee responds really well to the choices you make in defining the character he is going to be, going forward. Each face button triggers a different response to a question asked, when prompted.

I say different but that doesn’t always appear to always be the case. One of the earliest conversations allows four different responses, all giving the same grunt in response. But at least you know what you meant, I guess.

You can be aggressive, calm and collected, or not even answer at all, if the response time runs out. Other characters respond to what Lee says and how he says it, with notes popping up in the top left of the screen to acknowledge so, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. It works.

I chose not to, but you may choose to be an absolute ass. Look after number one, as long as you can deal with the moral implications.

The visuals, with Borderlands style sprites but less spectacular, are animated rather well, and are neither like the black and white comic book, nor the TV series, but more an amalgamation of the two. This is no cartoon, however, and can get pretty gruesome in places. You may never look at a hammer the same way again. It’s pretty gripping stuff to witness, very atmospheric and, while not scary, it certainly projects an uneasy and cautious mood onto the player.

The Walking Dead then, is your typical modern day iteration of the point and click genre. It adds nothing new and is maybe a little shallow, but its excellent script, characters, and the fact it is very simple to play actually adds to the storytelling experience. I just hope that later chapters are a little less predictable.

The Walking Dead is digital only on PC, Mac, PlayStation Store and XBLA. In total there will be five episodes released. Episode one is out now for £3.99/400 MSP or you can buy all five in the PSN Store for £15.99 or on PC and Mac for $24.99 (convert here)

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