Anyone who has a television seems to have some sort of opinion on the AMC zombie drama The Walking Dead. Some say the show is trash because there isn’t enough zombie killings, while some say there’s too much. Some also say that the story is trash (which is not my stance). Well fear not, fellow zombie lovers, The Walking Dead video game is out – and has one of the best stories of the year.
You play as Lee Everett, a former college professor who was heading to jail for killing his wife’s secret lover. on the way, the officer driving him hits a Walker, and everything goes to hell from that point forward. You meet up with Clementine, a first grader hiding up in her tree house with nothing but a hammer and her trusted Walkie-Talkie. Alone and scared, she asks Lee to help her look for her family whilst trying to survive the zombie infested state of Georgia. Later on, you meet up with more characters to join you in the search for some sort of safe haven away from everything. There are some notable crossover characters in the first episode, but from what I can perceive, these are all original characters stuck in the comic universe.
Almost like the show, it is mainly about the people of The Walking Dead universe rather than straight-up zombie killing. Throughout the entire game, Lee will have to talk to others and make decisions to whether or not certain characters like and respect you, or paranoid and untrustworthy of you. Every little talking point will be remembered by the characters, and they will undoubtedly call you on your shenanigans if you take back what you say. That became abundantly clear when I flip-flopped during a conversation in the first episode regarding my relationship with Clementine. The NPC called me out, questioned my motives, and made me feel incredibly stupid.
The talking points not only help you shape relationships, but they also help end them. There are a couple of big moments in Episode 4 that made me decide from the start whether or not he was going to survive by episodes’ end. If you didn’t make that decision, the NPC I’m describing will continue on with your group and onto the next episode. These moments make me want to go back and play the five levels all over again and see if anything changes – if any characters survive more than my time with them on my first playthrough.
As you can tell, the story here is the biggest star of The Walking Dead. Since the game is basically a point-and-click-choose-your-own-adventure type game, the action comes out in spirited spirts that come in forms of dragging your retical over something or repeatedly pressing a button. Sometimes a button pressing moment comes up, and for the sake of story, is impossible to actually complete (like the moments in the heartbreaking finale). There are some moments that the game stumbles, especially when the action ramps up, but everything else is incredibly smooth and easy to play through. The puzzles are stupidly easy – meaning that you’ll feel stupid when you finally figure out what to do at certain points in the game. And as much as walkthroughs help, make sure you find one that has YOUR kind of story – it would kind of blow to ride on someone elses story before completing your own.
All in all, Telltale have revitalized the point-and-click adventure games to be both meaningful and fun once again. The story is fantastic, the voice acting is top notch, and the animations and graphics are some of the best for an Arcade game all year. This game got me so emotionally into some characters, that their untimely deaths or selfless actions made me get a tad bit emotional. And don’t get me started about the ending…
The best part about this series is that this is only Season One. I can only imagine where we’ll be going and who we will be meeting come Season Two.
Final Grade: A