The Walking Dead: Episode 1 - A New Day
Review by DandyQuackShot
"Everything's Going to be Okay..."
Telltale Games has struck gold with the comic-book based The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead: A New Day takes from what makes the AMC and comic book series so thrilling to watch and puts fans and players into the middle of the zombie infested rural and suburban communities of Georgia. Unlike the sappy Jurassic Park game released through retail, The Walking Dead: A New Day is available on Xbox Live Arcade for a mere 400 MS points (five bucks).
The Walking Dead series is driven by the characters and A New Day introduces us to some new faces as well as some of the old favorites from the comic book. I found myself glued to the tv whenever a new episode came out for this series on AMC, but in A New Day you will notice this game is based around the comic book more so than the AMC series. You play the game as Lee, a convicted murderer on his way to federal prison when small talk with the sheriff's deputy leads to a highway of disaster for Lee. You will meet new characters and the high points of the game focus on having to make very difficult choices with the other characters involved. You will get to know a lot of the new characters and have to deal with their personalities as well as get some background on the familiar faces in the game. The conversation gets deep in this game as the characters have to deal with severe emotional trauma and question whether or not they are to blame for the bad things that happen. Are the zombies the real threat or are the small band of people trying to help each other out leading to their own demise? The themes of this series and the game itself are well explored. And there are four more episodes to go!
The game play is very simple. If you played Jurassic Park: The Game or are familiar with the old Microids games you will be able to figure this game out quickly. You go from scene to scene and explore each area to collect items and resolve problems. You have more dialogue choices to make than anything else in this game as movement and interaction with the environment is limited. Of course the zombie attacks are frequent and are a good way to interrupt a deep conversation with another character but in these instances you have to line up the cross hairs and hit the action button (A button) to make a hit to the head or rapidly tap a button to prevent a zombie having lunch out of you. I found the game play and controls easy and the situations were easy to figure out. There are two difficulty settings if you want to play with or without hints in the game. Loyalty and friends are made as you move through the dialogue with other characters which I suppose will affect the way the following episodes play out.
The game is set up in a comic book style which makes the graphics look amazing. Mouth movements on the characters are a little out of sync but the facial expressions and everything else looks amazing. The voice overs are excellent and make the dialogue and characters the driving point of the game. If the zombies drove the series the characters would probably be very stereotypical, but since the zombies don't really drive the game the characters become more in-depth which is what you don't see much in zombie games or movies. I missed the AMC theme from the game but can't have it all of course.
I expect the replay value will be more fun as the other episodes are released as you make more and more choices in the game. I am definitely eager to see how this whole game series plays out. The game lasts a few hours. It is short but it exceeds all expectations of a game with the Xbox Live Arcade price. The achievement points are very easy to collect. Let's just say you don't have to worry about replaying the game for them.
Final Recommendation 9/10
Fans of The Walking Dead will have something to tide them over until season three comes out for the AMC series. This game plays out exactly like an episode of tv series and it is an easily engrossing story line. My criticism of Jurassic Park was that it should have been released in this way and surprisingly Telltale games ended up doing just that with The Walking Dead. This game is going to be a huge hit among fans and there is little about this game to be disappointed about. I would recommend The Walking Dead: A New Day over the sort of similar I Am Alive unless you want more game play and less story out of a post-apocalyptic concept. Episode 1 is around 469MB so it doesn't take up much storage space and with the price tag it is way worth it.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/30/12
Game Release: The Walking Dead: Episode 1 - A New Day (US, 04/27/12)
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