We all know that this developer can craft a good puzzle or two, but it turns out that they know a thing or two about tension-filled action scenes. While many of the exciting moments Jurassic Park fell flat, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen for a moment of The Walking Dead. Gone are the never-ending stream of quick time events, they have been replaced by a cursor that allows you to aim shots and interact with the environment. The few times you are in real peril are both significant and memorable battles. There's a real sense of dread you normally don't get out of this style of adventure game.
At the same time, this is not an action game. The mechanics sometimes resort to mindless button mashing, something that is all too familiar to Jurassic Park survivors. Most of the game involves you talking to strangers and figuring out how you can help. There are only a few times in the game where you can full control over Lee's actions, and even then you're doing little more than pointing and clicking. In a lot of ways you're just along for the ride, pushing the story forward with your actions.
Much like Heavy Rain, your actions can permanently change the rest of the storyline. Sometimes this happens in subtle ways, like you offering up information about yourself that makes other think less of you. Other times you will have to choose who to save in a short amount of time. These are major plot points that can change based on what you do, which suggests that you'll need to play through the game multiple times in order to see all of the variations.
All this is brought together by the wonderful writing. I found Lee's character believable and sympathetic, despite the hint of his murderous past. The rest of the supporting cast is also strong, offering a number of quippy one-liners to lighten the admittedly dark mood. Unfortunately, not everybody is as smart as the script. There's a woman who literally can't figure out how to use batteries, the type of thing that left me scratching my head.
Instead of being based on the popular AMC television show, Telltale's Walking Dead takes its cues from the graphic novel. The characters and the world have a hand drawn look, similar to what it would look like in the comic. Fans of the show will recognize a few familiar faces and locations, but there's no continuity between the two adaptations. This allows Telltale to tell a completely different story with a new cast, which in a lot of ways is better than what was on TV.
There will be people who don't like the game's limited interaction. This isn't the type of game where you can pick up anything and perform a thousand awesome looking combos. This is a slow-paced adventure where you mostly look around, choose what you're going to say and add items to your inventory. It's an interactive comic book. Anybody looking for fast action is better off tracking down a copy of Left 4 Dead.
The Walking Dead: A New Day is a riveting first episode that will impress fans of the source material. With strong writing, a few genuinely emotional moments and a number of real scares, Telltale's newest is also one of its best. I can't wait to see what happens to Lee and this ragtag group of survivors. If this first episode is any indication, The Walking Dead is the must-play zombie game of the year.
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!