Telltale Games (Sam & Max, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park) released their latest adventure game last week, this one set in the zombie-filled world of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Far from a Left 4 Dead clone though, this episodic game series is focused on the same kind of character driven storytelling that separates the comic series from many of its peers.
Titled “A New Day,” the first of this five-part episodic game takes place as the zombie apocalypse is just beginning. The main character is a man named Lee Everett, a guy recently convicted of murder that is on his way out of Atlanta. When things start to go crazy, his police transport ends up in a crash, Lee finds himself a free man. As he tries to wrap his mind around what’s going on, he comes into contact with a young girl named Clementine, who has been all alone since her babysitter joined the ranks of the undead. Lee takes responsibility for watching over the girl and trying to get her to safety. The rest of the episode follows their journey and the people, places and zombies they encounter together.
What I really like about this game is that while there is plenty of action, the focus is on the characters and their interactions. The gameplay is a mixture of point and click adventure, quicktime events and roleplaying. Every choice that you make has consequences, both short and long term. If you lie to a character and they figure it out, they won’t trust you anymore, and that will affect how they act in the future. There are times where you have to make grueling choices that will change the course of the story moving forward. These are the moments where the game really shines, and they result in you feeling connected to the characters in a way that doesn’t happen in most games.
Despite only being a couple of hours long, The Walking Dead: A New Day is easily worth the $5 asking price. The episode stands alone story-wise, and for those looking for replay value, the branching storyline can be explored at least two or three times. The game does justice to The Walking Dead comic and TV series, and anyone interested in either of those should check this game out.
4.5 out of 5 Walkers