The zombie genre has enjoyed a pretty significant resurgence into the popular consciousness over the past few years. While many site the success of Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead as the kick off for this “new” zombie renaissance, the undisputed torchbearer of today’s modern zombie story is The Walking Dead. While predating the aforementioned Dawn of the Dead remake, The Walking Dead has been on a slow roll toward pop culture dominance which culminated in the explosive success of the television series of the same name which debuted in 2010. The success of both the comic and television series have thrust the story of Rick and his band of survivors into stratosphere. Now The Walking Dead (Xbox, PS3, and PC) is poised to shamble and devour the video games landscape with the recent release of the first installment of the five-part episodic digital tale by Telltale Games.
The game adaptation of The Walking Dead is set in the storyline of the comic not the television show. Starting out at the beginning of the zombie outbreak, you play as convicted criminal Lee Everett; a man given a second chance at life in a world gone to hell. The story follows his struggle for survival in a world where danger is possibly around every turn. As the story progresses, Lee becomes the guardian of an orphaned girl named Clementine while interacting with various other survivors including prominent characters from the comic itself.
Telltale has done an amazing job of capturing the comic and bringing it to life. While the television series does a good job of capturing the theme of the comic, the game is literally the comic come to life… which is a very good thing! The pacing and story of the game fit very well within the dark and uncertain tone of the comic universe. It is without a doubt, the most immersive The Walking Dead experience to date.
As the game is taken from the world of the comic, the style of the game is very much in accordance to that of a living breathing comic book. The art style is very satisfying. It may not be a direct take on the art of series artist Charlie Adlard, but the graphics of the game do an excellent job of conveying the richness of this new “walker” infested world that Lee and the others now find themselves in.
I have known of Telltale game’s excellent pedigree for “point and click” games for quite sometime, but until now I had never experienced it. The gameplay is very smooth. The controls are very simple to get a handle on. Anyone from the novice to the hardcore gamer will be able to jump right into the game with no problems. The built-in control guide is an added bonus to the feature set of the game.
The Final Verdict
The first episode of The Walking Dead is a must have for any gamer that’s a fan of the comic and/or the show. More importantly, the game is very nicely tailored for those who have little to no knowledge of The Walking Dead as well. With each episode costing only $4.99 (400 MS points), the overall $25 investment in the series will be well worth it. At the end of the day, The Walking Dead is one video game that is just as engrossing as the source material that it is based on. It is certainly a games series that you shouldn’t miss.