The Walking Dead opens in a police car driving away from the big city. You play the man in the back seat, an African American gentleman who may or may not have killed a sitting U.S. Senator. The nameless policeman has an engaging conversation about how he can tell who is and isn't guilty based solely on what they have to say. All the while, our "hero" is noticing police cars, ambulances, helicopters and other emergency workers speeding in the opposite direction. Something bad is going on.
Despite knowing exactly what was going on, I found myself riveted to the computer screen. This was the moment I breathed a sigh of relief. The Walking Dead is a return to form after Telltale's miserable Jurassic Park experiment. Any skepticism I had going in was put rest with this expertly crafted introduction. Thankfully the rest also holds up nicely.
As I mentioned, this is Telltale's first adventure game post-Jurassic Park. After an otherwise strong line-up of point and click adventure franchises (including Sam & Max, Monkey Island, Back to the Future and more), all of the company's good will was thrown out the window with the hugely disappointing Jurassic Park. Instead of playing a compelling adventure game, we were stuck in a Hell filled with quick-time events and loathsome. It's going to take a mighty good game to make us forget about Jurassic Park.
The good news is that The Walking Dead: A New Day is that kind of game. Although it may look like it suffers from many of the same problems as Jurassic Park, the truth is that Telltale managed to fix everything and completely right the ship. This is a massively exciting adventure game that takes its cues from both new and old school point and click classics. It's also a great ambassador for the comic book of the same name, in a way that the hugely successful TV show can only dream of.
You play all of episode one as the same character, a mild-mannered felon named Lee. After escaping a nasty car wreck, our hero is forced to defend himself against an army of undead walkers. He quickly finds his way into a suburban development, where he meets up with Clementine. This eight year old girl has been surviving alone in her tree house for days, so Lee takes her under his wing to keep her safe.
Before long the two survivors meet up with a couple of guys trying to steal a car. They talk about a family farm, which seems like the perfect spot to lay low. Here we're introduced to even more people, which send us on an adventure full of puzzle solving, zombie killing and surviving. All told, the game has five or six major locations, something that keeps the pacing up and the action moving.
Occasionally we're forced to go into point and click adventure mode, where we search around the environments picking up inventory items and using them in a very specific order. The puzzle solving here is fairly light, but it does break up long stretches of nothing but dialog and zombie killing. There are two major set pieces in the final act that offer most of the game's puzzles, which largely consists of helping a group of helpless survivors as they try to figure out what their next move should be. This is Telltale in their element.
After conquering Sam & Max, Monkey Island and Back to the Future, Telltale is ready to prove that they know a thing or two about zombies. If A New Day is any indication, then The Walking Dead game is going to be the must-play zombie game of the year. Stylish visuals accompany a well written adventure full of memorable characters and genuine scares!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!