Review – The Walking Dead Episode 1: A New Day

Point and click gaming is one of those game styles that has seemed to run it’s course long before The Walking Dead came knocking. Anyone who has been gaming for a while will remember point and click masterpieces like Myst and Riven, which kept players enthralled in a rich visual world requiring a click here and there to move your player or solve a puzzle.

More recently Telltale has been making a modest attempt at reviving the game style with titles like Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. Personally I really liked their rendition of Back to the Future and Jurassic Park was ok. Point and click for me requires either good story telling, an awesome visual experience or some killer puzzles. Can Telltale succeed at hitting all three of these points while giving the fans a killer Walking Dead experience? Let’s jump into episode one, A New Day and take a look.
Fans of the comic book series should be happy with the fact we are following the comics and not the show for our characters and storyline. You will see some of the same characters from the show but we will not be retreading Rick Grimes as he is still in a coma for the game rendition of The Walking Dead. The game is being released as a monthly episodic series costing $5 a pop. Each episode will take about two hours to complete depending on the player’s level of exploration.
We begin the game as Lee Everett, a man convicted of a crime who is currently taking a little ride in the local police cruiser before being incarcerated. We know very little about our character as the outbreak begins. This is where Telltale shines by allowing the player to control their responses on screen. Depending on your response you might just learn a little about Lee and others along the way, or not, it is your choice all the way through.
The controls here are pretty ambitious in the fact that depending on your button click/response the story will change going forward. Players are expected to have a direct influence here as all of your choices will carry through the entire 5 episode series. As you converse with characters in game the ramifications of your choices will be remembered. A notification will pop up on screen alerting you to the fact so you will remember what you said or shows suspicion of you.
Outside of making response choices on screen the player has a few other game play responsibilities. There is the standard movement in a 3D environment which is required to explore your surroundings and solve various puzzles like, unlocking a gate so you can pick up a brick to break a window for distraction. There are also scenes of confrontation requiring timed button presses to avoid being attacked or defend yourself. This is all pretty standard point and click stuff so let’s move on.
The characters in A New Day are surprisingly likable, almost as quickly as we are introduced to them. Lee is not the immediate leader, Rick was in the TV show. His mystery shrouded past will lead to many interesting conversations with the different folks you meet. You have plenty of stereotypical characters like the tough guy, the family man and the tough young chick. Each of these characters really seem to evolve and you will care about them.
The game will require you to make tough choices and there is no way around it. By the conclusion of my first two hour run I did feel a pang of guilt for some of the choices I made. Being in the middle of an epidemic that is bringing the dead back to life means things will get very adult oriented, very quickly. If you have enjoyed the comics you know the language and gore may be a little much for kids. Parents be warned, if you let little Johnny download this title and hear F bombs from the next room, that’s your own fault.
This game is gorgeous to look at. The comic book look has translated almost perfectly to the big screen. The colors pop and the desolate environments are set up perfectly. All of the on screen text is displayed prominently making things easy to read. This is important because at times you will be limited to the amount of time when choosing a response.
The title is not without some flaws. The biggest one being glitches I noticed when a response is chosen. This does not happen every single time you make a response choice but often enough to warrant mentioning. A few of these stutters also pulled me from a scene momentarily but luckily the story is deep enough to suck me right back in.
Using the controller was a little awkward at times. This went from awkward to annoying when I had to use the right stick to move my cursor and also click a button on the right side. If the cursor was not over the correct area on screen I could not press a button to proceed. This led to a number of attacks and eminent failures which means restarting the scene. For me this was not a deal breaker because I was restarted so close to the scene where I died it took little time to finish.
So does the game do justice to one of the best comics out there?
Pros
+Awesome comic book look and feel
+Great story telling and player interaction
+Excellent price point and value
+Good replay ability 
Cons
-Controls can be a bit clunky
-Odd glitching when a response is chosen
The Walking Dead’s “A New Day” is a perfect example of why point and click can be so successful. The game is a story telling master that will only get better as we progress through all 5 chapters. If you think point and click is dead this game will change your mind. If you are hankering for some full on shoot em up zombie action, better look elsewhere. The story and dialog propel this intense ride leaving the player wondering if that last choice was really the best option.
The Walking Dead Game episodes 1 and 2  are currently available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Steam for $4.99 each.
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Christopher Young, Game Reviews, Games
I am a writer/reviewer for the lovely Horror-fix.com and Movieboozer.com. I love Horror, video games and coffee. Currently I spend my days hunting sparkly vampires.

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